Banks to Charge SMS fee

MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank directed banks to charge customers for transaction SMS alerts on the basis of usage, instead of imposing a fixed fee.

“Considering the technology available with banks and the telecom service providers, it should be possible for banks to charge customers based on actual usage of SMS alerts,”RBI said in a notification to all banks.

“With a view to ensuring reasonableness and equity in the charges levied by banks for sending SMS alerts to customers, banks are advised to leverage the technology available with them and the telecom service providers to ensure that such charges are levied on all customers on actual usage basis,” it added.

In March 2011, the Reserve Bank had set guidelines for banks to send online alerts to customers for all types of transactions, irrespective of the amount.

However, the central bank had not issued rules on charging customers for these alerts.

According to existing RBI regulations, banks are required to put in place a system of online alerts for all types of transactions involving usage of cards at various channels, irrespective of the amount.

Subsequently, banks had put in place a system of SMS alerts so as to help customers in fraud mitigation and have been levying uniform service charges to various categories of customers.

Earlier in the year, State Bank of India had imposed an annual charge of Rs 60 for SMS alerts, a step followed by lenders such as Canara Bank.

Other PSU banks, including Punjab National Bank, State Bank of Patiala, IDBI and Vijaya Bank, have also been levying a fee for SMS alerts.


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