Banks free to charge 'reasonable ATM fees': RBI's Chakrabarty

Banks free to charge 'reasonable ATM fees': RBI's Chakrabarty
Mumbai: Amid growing clamour from banks to charge customers for transactions at ATMs to make them economically viable, RBI Deputy Governor K C Chakrabarty on Thursday said the regulator will have no objections if the lenders charge "reasonable fee" for such services.

"If banks charge a reasonable fee on ATM transactions then the RBI will have no objections," Chakrabarty, in charge of banking services at RBI, told reporters on the sidelines of an event here this evening.

The senior-most Deputy Governor said till now, no request has come from the banks to raise the fees for transacting at ATMs.

Ideally, the issue of charging customers for ATM usage should be left to competitive market forces and banks should be allowed the liberty to decide their own offerings, the commercial banker-turned-central banker said.

Following a brutal attack on a woman inside an ATM of Corporation Bank in Bangalore in November last, banks have been asked to ensure round-the-clock armed security at their cash dispensing kiosks.

This did not find favour with banks, who argued it would be unfeasible to have 24-hour security at ATMs. Reports said lenders are considering charging customers on a per transaction and shutting certain ATMs at odd hours.

At present, a customer can use his/her bank's ATM as many times in a month, while free transactions at cash outlets of other banks are capped at five a month.

A bank pays Rs 15 plus taxes for every transaction to the other bank even for the free transactions.

"If banks are going into losses they will have no choice but to raise charges," Chakrabarty said.
Banks are learnt to be discussing the issue within the apex industry body Indian Banks Association and will be coming out with a decision soon.

Meanwhile, commenting on the recent Financial Stability Report's suggestion to reduce the cap on single entity or group exposure caps, Chakrabarty said, "not only RBI but all international regulators are looking into risks of corporate exposure."


Read more about: banks, rbi, kc chakrabarty, atm
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