On Monday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) asked commercial banks to offer a few important services for free to those holding a basic savings deposit accounts. The new rules will come into effect on 1 July 2019.
In a notification, RBI said, "The Basic Savings Bank Deposit (BSBD) account was designed as a savings account which will offer certain minimum facilities, free of charge, to the holders of such accounts. In the interest of better customer service, it has been decided to make certain changes in the facilities associated with the account."
The new rules include the following services for BSBD accounts:
- A minimum of four free withdrawals in a month, including ATM withdrawals.
- Unlimited free deposit of cash at bank branches and also using ATMs or cash deposit machines.
- No fee on receipts through electronic channel or by means of deposit or collection of cheques drawn by government agencies and departments.
- No minimum balance requirement, even at the time of opening a BSBD account.
- The ATM-cum-debit card should be provided at account opening, free of charge.
- No charges for non-operation or activation of an inoperative account.
- Issuing cheque books beyond the above minimum facilities, which may or may not be priced (in a non-discriminatory manner) subject to disclosure.
- Availing additional services should be made optional to customers and without the requirement of having to maintain a minimum balance. "Offering such additional services will not make it a non-BSBD account, so long as the prescribed minimum services are provided free of charge," it said.
- Holders of BSBD accounts will not be eligible for opening any other savings bank deposit accounts. If a customer has any other existing savings bank deposit account in that bank, he/she will be required to close it within 30 days from the date of opening a BSBD account.
- Before opening a BSBD account, a bank should take a declaration from the customer that he or she is not having a BSBD account in any other bank.
The central bank wants BSBD accounts to be seen as those aimed at enhancing financial inclusion among the economically weaker sections of the society. By providing certain minimum facilities for free, the RBI wants to make normal banking services available to all.