Private banks to hike fines, charges from April 1

MoneyMany private banks, including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank, have announced a hike in charges and penalties for customers from new financial year.

Banks are also introducing charges to encourage customers to use digital channels and move away from physical instruments such as cheques.

In November last year, RBI had directed banks to impose from April 1 a penalty which would be proportionate to the shortfall in minimum balance. Banks are also required to inform the account-holder through email or SMS of imminent charges when the balance requirement is breached.

HDFC bank has introduced a slab-wise structure for non-maintenance of minimum balance. Under the new norms, the penalty for non-maintenance of balance will range from Rs 150 to Rs 600, depending on the shortfall. The bank has introduced new charges for return of any deliverable (cheque book/PIN) for negative reasons such as consignee shifted/no such address. Requests for re-generation of PIN at branches will attract Rs 50 and if any standing instruction for payment is rejected, there is a Rs 200 penalty.

ICICI Bank will increase the penalty for non-maintenance of minimum average balance by Rs 100 for urban and metro areas, but has done away with the penalty for rural areas. The bank has also decided to introduce cash deposit charges for notes deposited in cash-accepting machines beyond one deposit every month.

Kotak Mahindra Bank has said that from April the penalty for non-maintenance of average quarterly balance would be hiked by Rs 50 for most accounts.

Axis Bank has also hiked charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance. For instance, in the domestic prime segment, customers will have to pay a minimum penalty of Rs 350, or Rs 5 per every Rs 100 of the shortfall — whichever is lower.

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