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SBI Clarifies Charges on UPI, RuPay Debit Card, Basic Savings Accounts: Details Here

The State Bank of India (SBI) has come up with a response following a row over refunds for digital transaction. India’s largest public sector bank on the day clarified that it does not charge any transaction fee for Basic Savings Bank Deposit (BSBD) accounts. In a statement, SBI said that no transaction fee is charged from thee account, including transactions done via Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and RuPay debit cards. The State Bank of India has a base of over 16 crore Basic Savings Bank Deposit accounts out of which Financial Inclusion (FI) customer base is around 14 crore, the bank said.

According to a recently published media report quoting an IIT study, it was said that the 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. The study also mentioned that the bank has returned only Rs 90 crore to these account holder on the instructions of the government, for transactions via UPI and Rupay cards.

It said 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 BSBD account customers under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.

In a response to this claim, the SBI on Tuesday, November 23, in a statement said, “We reiterate that BSBD customer do not pay any charges for digital transactions including transactions using Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and RuPay debit cards.”

Read the statement from the State Bank of India below:

In the last three years, more than 4 crore customers have been enrolled

into these Social Security Schemes by Bank Mitras. Bank has made all digital transactions free to its customers w.e.f. 01.01.2020. Further, Bank has also waived fees on SMS services and on maintenance of minimum balance for all its Savings Bank account holders.

With reference to the news article on 22.11.2021 alleging that SBI has not refunded charges recovered

from the customers on digital transactions between April 2017 to December 2019. In this connection, we submit as under:

The BC Channel is an outsourced model where all the services to the customers are provided in an assisted mode by the Bank Mitras. Customers can do Aadhaar Based transactions (AePS), Card & PIN based transactions on Micro ATMs and fund transfer transactions at these CSP outlets. BC/CSPs are being paid commission per transaction apart from monthly fixed commission. In addition, Bank is required to pay 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 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.

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.

We reiterate that BSBD customer do not pay any charges for digital transactions including transactions using Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and RuPay debit cards.

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