Responding to a news report about it not refunding digital transaction charges to customers, the State Bank of India (SBI) on Monday said it is in full compliance with the government and regulatory directives.
"There has been a news article on 22.11.2021 that SBI is not refunding charges recovered from the customers on digital transactions. We confirm that bank is in full compliance with the government and regulatory directives in this regard," the country's largest lender said in a release.
Citing a report by IIT-Mumbai, a news report had said that the bank 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.
"On directions from the government, SBI has returned just about Rs 90 crore, thereby withholding the bigger chunk of at least Rs 164 crore with itself," the report said.
Also Read: SBI yet to refund Rs 164 crore undue fee charged from Jan Dhan account holders
From 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 transaction on BSBDA (Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account) customers under the PMJDY, the report prepared by IIT-Mumbai said.
On August 30, 2020, the Central Board of Direct Taxes had advised banks to refund the charges collected since January 1, 2020, on transactions carried out using the prescribed digital payment modes, including UPI and RuPay debit card, and not to impose charges on future transactions carried out through such modes, it said.
In its statement, SBI said it has made all digital transactions free to its financial inclusion customers with effect from January 1, 2020. "Further, up to four cash withdrawals in a month are free. Fully free digital transactions and four free cash withdrawals are enabling these customers to meet all their banking requirements."
The bank said it has been at the forefront of the financial inclusion (FI) initiative of the Government of India with a FI customer base of about 13.76 crore. The services to these customers are provided by a strong network of 70,193 Bank Mitras.
"In the Bank Mitra or Business Correspondent channel, banking and micro insurance services are provided to the customers in an assisted mode in rural and semi urban areas," it added.
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