Sunday, 25 March, 2018

Whatsapp messages on termination of free bank services misleading: Bankers

Customers advised to visit bank websites, branches to get information on charges

Story: Karan Sehgal | 13th January 2018, 04:28 Hrs
A number of bankers have clarified that they have received no communication at all from their head-offices saying that they should do away with free services from January 20. This means that messages floating on Whatsapp and elsewhere on social media saying that banks will cease to provide free services are baseless.
However, it doesn't mean that no bank will change its charges from January 20 onwards. The fact of the matter is banks can change their charges anytime. Hence, bankers advise customers to go to the websites of banks or approach the nearest branch to seek clarification on charges from time to time.
Rakesh Gupta, chief manager, UCO Bank, said, "We have got no circular saying that free services will become chargeable from January 20. There is absolutely no guideline we have received on that front."
The banks (public sector banks, in particular) provide a lot of free services to customers like they can deposit cash upto Rs 50,000 in their savings bank account without paying anything to the bank. Due to baseless messages circulating on Whatsapp, people are apprehensive that such services too will attract a fee from January 20. However, there is no truth in that.
E.R. Fernandes, senior manager, Oriental Bank of Commerce, said, "We have not received any circular from our head office telling us to change charges for certain services from January 20."
Another source from a bank, said, "It never happens that all banks change charges from one particular day, as the rumours have been suggesting. One bank may change charges and another bank may not do it. Besides, all banks charge different fees/charges on banking transactions. Therefore, we advise customers to not be led by rumours and go to their bank's website or visit the nearest branch to get the right information."
The banks have been changing fee on certain services, of late. For example, recently, Canara Bank started making its customers pay a fee if they are depositing more than Rs 50,000 cash in their savings bank account. Canara Bank has levied a fee of Re 1 per Rs 1,000 deposited in savings bank account if cash deposit is more than Rs 50,000.
But, there has never been a blanket increase in fees by all banks. And, therefore, it is unlikely that all banks will start charging fees from January 20, as rumours have been suggesting.