Before we Begin:
All the good & bad news mentioned in this article are in effect immediately starting 1st Junly 2011 (Today). So make sure you make a note of the same.
The Bad News Part:
The number of free transactions allowed at ATMs of banks other than where a customer holds the account would now also comprise non-financial transactions like balance inquiry.
Currently, customers are allowed a limited number of free transactions, generally five, for cash withdrawal and other financial transactions from other bank ATMs, while there is no cap on number of free non-financial transactions like balance inquiry or mini statement.
All this is set to change. RBI has now allowed the number of free transactions permitted per month at other bank ATMs to be inclusive of all types of transactions, financial or non-financial.
To add to the bad news, these free transactions would be available to only the savings bank account holders. So current account holders cannot withdraw cash free of charge in other bank ATMs.
Why is this Bad?
Well, this is bad because we have to go in search of our own bank ATMs if we need to withdraw money or check our balance if we have exhausted our quota of 5 free transactions per month. But, if you are someone who is willing to pay a small fee (like Rs. 20 for withdrawal and Rs. 10 for balance inquiry) then this news of no relevance or impact to you.
Note however that the numbers I have mentioned are just an example and you have to check with your own bank to find out the exact charges for using other bank ATMs.
Now for the Good News Part
As per an RBI directive, banks will have to credit the wrongly debited amount to the customer's account due to failed ATM transactions within seven days of the complaint, as against the current norm of 12 days.
Why is this Good?
If you are someone who uses the ATM frequently, you might have encountered the situation wherein, your account got debited of the amount you tried to withdraw but the machine never gave you any cash. In such a situation, you have to call up customer care and have them revert the transaction. The banks took their own sweet time to credit the money into our account. Though the RBI guideline was 12 days, the banks usually took even longer to return the funds into our account.
The RBI also states that, the banks would have to pay Rs. 100 per day beyond 7 working days, but only if the complaint is lodged within 30 days of the date of the transaction.
What should we do now?
Realistically speaking, lets hope that our ATM transactions are successful and we don't have to go through the trauma of calling up customer care and chasing them. Nonetheless, if the situation does arise, we must ensure that we raise the complaint to the bank within 30 days of the date of transaction in the ATM Machine.
Some More Good News:
In another measure to check any fraudulent use of bank accounts, the banks have also been told by RBI to provide SMS and email alerts to the customers for every transaction done on the bank account from tomorrow, as against the current practice of alerts for only select transactions beyond a certain amount or weekly/monthly alerts.
Why is this Good?
If banks provide us with updates every time there is a transaction on our account, we will be able to keep track of the funds in our account and identify/spot fraudulent transactions immediately. So, it is our responsibility to be vigilant and read all such alerts from our banks properly.
Happy Banking Folks!!