SBI UPI, RuPay debit card transaction charges row: Bank clarifies stand on basic savings bank deposit accounts


New Delhi: The State Bank of India (SBI) has clarified its stand on media reports that had stated that India’s largest public sector lender is yet to return Rs 164 crore of undue fee charged from the account holders of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) towards digital payments during April 2017 and December 2019.

SBI said that it does not charge any transaction fee from its Basic Savings Bank Deposit (BSBD) customers for digital transactions.

“On directions from the government, SBI has returned just about Rs 90 crore, thereby withholding the bigger chunk of at least Rs 164 crore with itself,” a report prepared by IIT-Mumbai had said last week.

“We reiterate that  BSBD customer do not pay any charges for  digital transactions including transactions using Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and RuPay debit cards,” said an SBI statement.

SBI added that the bank introduced charges beyond first four withdrawals in BSBD accounts in the BC channel w.e.f. 15.06.2016 in line with the RBI guidelines with prior intimation to the customers. 

“A BSBD customer normally would not need to make more than four withdrawals in a month, and even if required, the same could be done from the branch without any cost,” said SBI.

It was reported that during April 2017 to September 2020, SBI had collected over Rs 254 crore towards at least 14 crore UPI/ RuPay transactions by charging Rs 17.70 per transactions on BSBDA (Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account) customers under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).

“CBDT on 30.08.2020 advised Banks to refund charges collected, if any, on or after 01.01.2020 on digital transactions and not to impose charges on such future transactions. Accordingly, the Bank refunded charges of Rs. 90.20 crores to the customers recovered during 01.01.2020 to 14.09.2020. Bank is only charging beyond four free cash withdrawals in the BC channel, while there are no charges if digital channels are used. The objective is to promote digital transactions towards a ‘less cash’ economy,” SBI added.

Levying of charges on BSBDA is guided by September 2013 RBI guidelines. As per the direction these account holders are ‘allowed more than four withdrawals’ in a month, at the bank’s discretion provided the bank does not charge for the same. 

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