The country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) on Tuesday reiterated that it does not levy charges for digital transactions for BSBD (Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account) accounts. This includes transactions using Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and RuPay debit cards.
"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," the lender said in a release.
In its statement, SBI said the Central Board of Direct Taxes on August 30, 2020, had advised banks to refund the charges collected since January 1, 2020, on transactions carried out using the prescribed digital payment modes, including UPI and RuPay debit card, and not to impose charges on future transactions carried out through such modes.
Accordingly, the bank said it had refunded charges of Rs 90.20 crore to the customers recovered from January 1, 2020, to September 14, 2020.
Also, it said the bank is required to pay an interchange fee for AePS, Card + PIN on Micro ATMs based transactions and fund transfer transactions to NPCI. The average cost of such transactions comes to Rs 12.72 which is absorbed by the bank.
"The bank introduced charges beyond the first four withdrawals in BSBD accounts in the BC channel from June 15, 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," it added.
Earlier in a report prepared by IIT-Mumbai, the bank had not to return Rs 164 crore of the undue fee charged from the account holders of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) towards digital payments during April 2017 and December 2019.
"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," said the report.
It said that from 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 transaction on BSBDA (Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account) customers under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).
(Edited by : Jomy Jos Pullokaran)