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5 hidden banking charges

Banks offer all kind of lucrative schemes. But we suggest you to look before you leap at the enticing service. They might incur a high fee.

Print Edition: Aug 21, 2008

Standing instruction fee
Banks offer to relieve you of the trouble of remembering regular payments, but it is not a free service. While the standing instruction facility helps you avoid late payment penalties, be prepared to shell out between Rs 50 and Rs 150 per instruction. And if you want to modify any directive, there is an additional charge of Rs 25-60, depending on the bank. Needless to add, private banks charge more than the public ones.

Cash payment penalty
Do you often leave your credit card bill payments for the last day, racing to pay in cash before the bank closes for the day? This flexibility will cost you around Rs 100 each time. This is a relatively new entrant to the schedule of bank fees. The other alternatives are to pay by cheque at least four days before the last date or take the online route.

Banking channel usage fee
The Standard Chartered Bank is one of the few banks to mention upfront that only the first four transactions on any channel (Internet banking, phone banking, ATM and branches) per month are free. Thereafter, every transaction costs an additional Rs 75. It is very likely that your bank imposes a similar fee. For instance, even at base branches, most banks allow only a limited number of free cash transactions per quarter.

Not maintaining the minimum quarterly balance too has a snowballing penalty regimen. Besides the Rs 500-1,500 you pay as penalty per quarter, speaking to a customer-care executive is also chargeable. Every time you bypass the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, you have to pay Rs 50.

Then there is the myth that Net banking is a free facility.

Initiating a real-time gross settlement transaction—an instant fund transfer mechanism for over Rs 1 lakh—costs at least Rs 50 per transaction. Also, every time you go to the branch to request a reissuance of your Internet user ID or password—or miss hearing the option on the IVR system—be prepared to pay Rs 50.

At par cheque fee
Most banks now offer payable-atpar cheques, which are treated as local clearing cheques across the bank’s branch network. While most private banks offer at least one such chequebook free per quarter, others charge Rs 3-25 per cheque. Go through your bank’s schedule of charges and decline such a chequebook if you do not require the facility. If your bank does not offer such a chequebook, be prepared to pay extra for cash transactions at branches in different cities. This charge varies from Rs 2-5 per Rs 1,000 deposited or withdrawn.

Penalty on carelessness
For some banks, stupidity is a chargeable offence. At a leading private bank, for instance, if you deposit cash in the cheque drop box, you have to pay a fine of Rs 100; Rs 300, if the deposit amount is over Rs 500. Repeat instances of cash deposits through cheque drop box attract an enhanced charge of Rs 500.

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