Some of the banks including the leading lenders SBI, ICICI Bank are charging customers for SMS alerts which follow the financial transaction done by them as per a leading business daily report. But this is against the advisory of the sector regulator RBI.
The regulator has mandated the SMS alert service for each of the transaction so as to check fraudulent transactions. At the same time advised banks to levy charges on actual usage basis.
The billing on actual usage basis would help ensure reasonableness while at the same time equity in respect of customer dealing. In a statement released last year RBI said, "Banks must ask their customers to mandatorily register for SMS alerts and wherever available register for e-mail alerts, for electronic banking transactions".
The charges levied as SMS alert might not dent a customer's pocket hugely but may amount to significant earnings for a bank especially in accounts where very few transactions are executed in a month.
"This is certainly not in line with RBI's advice. It's a violation," AC Mahajan, Chairman at independent banking watchdog Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI) said.
A BCSBI study shows that 19 out of 48 banks levy a fixed quarterly charge of Rs 15 while customers actually pay Rs 17.7 including taxes at present.