RBI's move to cap free ATM transactions questioned

  • Soibam Rocky Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 25, 2014 04:29 IST

The Delhi high court on Wednesday questioned the Reserve Bank of India’s decision to put a cap on free monthly withdrawals at banks’ own ATMs to five transactions and three for other banks’ ATMs.

The RBI had, on August 14 this year, revised rates of ATM usage in Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The directive, which came into effect on November 1, 2014, allowed banks to charge customers up to Rs 20 per transaction if they cross the maximum limit per month for both financial and non-financial transactions.

Seeking response from RBI, the Indian Banks’ Association, and State Bank of India the HC remarked, “Why are you unnecessarily taxing your own account holders”, and fixed February 18 as the next date of hearing.

The order came on a PIL filed by advocate Swati Aggarwal seeking to quash the RBI’s directive saying that it was “unconstitutional, highly discriminatory and prejudicial to lesser privileged/poor in comparison to people with more means.” If banks begin to impose charges of `20 after five transactions, customers will end up losing a cumulative of approx of Rs 3,000 crore per annum, the plea claimed.

The RBI directive has already been implemented by several banks. The PIL sought direction to allow customers to make unlimited number of transactions free of charge on own bank ATMs.

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