Opening a bank account has never been easier, thanks to technology, and competition among banks to attract more customers. Banks may be falling over each other, offering freebies when you open an account with them, but there is nothing known as a free lunch. Increasingly, customers are feeling that the cost of services and products offered by banks has become higher in the last few years.
In the HT-Mars bank satisfaction survey, HDFC Bank emerges as the winner when it comes to account-related services on offer. ICICI Bank stands second, while Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank and Axis Bank make up the rest of the top five.
"I opened my account some three years back and I didn't face any problem. The representative came to my office and it was done the very next day," said Alka Singh, who works with a private IT company in Chandigarh, highlighting how banks are willing to go the extra mile to get your business.
The list of services provided today was unrecognisable fifteen years ago. Be it recharging your prepaid mobile, requesting a chequebook, paying bills or even paying your taxes online, banks today make life more convenient for the average Joe.
However, customers complain that banks are over-charging for services and products in order to maximise the revenue."The cost has definitely gone up though and we don't get to know of many charges till the time we see our bank statements properly," said Singh.
"It is logical that if a private organisation is offering services, it will charge a fee for that. But bankers should keep in mind that they do not resort to overcharging the customers. Banking regulators and Reserve Bank of India should ensure that customers are not overcharged," said Anuj Anand, resident of Mumbai.
Customers also feel that banks need to be more transparent while deducting charges.
"Many banks have Rs. 5,000 as minimum balance, which now has gone up to R 10,000 in some, against the guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India. Bankers do not tell you these things in detail and you come to know only when deductions are made and you ask for an explanation," said Vivek Arya, a businessman based in Ranchi.
(With inputs from Chandigarh and Ranchi)