The State Bank of India (SBI) issued a statement on Thursday in response to recent reports based on the results of an IIT Bombay report. According to news, a study conducted by IIT-Bombay claims that the State Bank of India and many other banks in the country have been charging unfair charges for certain services given to those with zero-balance accounts or Basic Savings Bank Deposit Accounts (BSBDA). According to the report, SBI raised over Rs 300 crore in service charges between 2015 and 20. The Reserve Bank of India mandated that banks are free to impose reasonable charges in BSBD accounts beyond 4 free transactions in August 2012, according to SBI's clarification release.
The availment of such additional services shall be at the option of the customers. As a result, SBI started charging for debit transactions in BSBD accounts beyond the first four free transactions on June 15, 2016, with advance notice to customers. Following that, the CBDT urged banks in August 2020 to refund all charges levied on or after January 1, 2020 if any on transactions conducted using the digital method and not to levy charges on potential transactions conducted by such modes. SBI has refunded the charges recovered in respect of all digital transactions to BSBD customers, in accordance with CBDT guidelines, w.e.f. 01.01.2020 to 14.09.2020.
SBI has discontinued recovering charges in such accounts on all digital transactions as of September 15, 2020, but has kept charges on cash withdrawals in excess of the four free withdrawals each month. The aim is also to enable BSBD account holders, including PMJDY account holders, to use the prescribed forms of digital payment instead of cash transactions, the bank added. As a holder of a zero-balance account, you are ineligible to open another savings bank deposit account with that bank. It means that an individual can have either a savings or a BSBD account, but not both, as per the bank's guidelines.