A viral message, stating that the State Bank of India will charge ₹57.50 per transaction exceeding 40 transactions through a savings bank account a year, is false, as there is no evidence in the bank's schedule of charges to indicate this.
This transaction limit of 40 encompass all mediums - cards, cheques or standing instructions - according to the message.
Further, the message states that this policy of the bank is in cahoots with the Reserve Bank of India to raise money for the government and urges people to transact in cash and no to go through the bank.
An additional claim that the message makes is that there would be a 'tax' of ₹150 and a service charge of ₹23 on ATM withdrawals beyond four. A periodicity - like monthly or year - is not mentioned.
BOOM found that this too is unsupported. While there are charges on ATM withdrawals beyond a predefined limit depending on the monthly average balance (AMB) one needs to maintain with the bank, the location of ATM and if the ATM is in the metro; the charges are only as high as ₹20 per transaction excluding GST (Goods and Services Tax).
BOOM received this message on its WhatsApp helpline.
It is also viral on social media.
SBI - a government-owned bank - is India's largest lender with a nearly 25% market share in Indian banking.
BOOM was able to access SBI's schedules for charges and fees for various accounts and services and found that the claims made in this message to be bloated.
Claim 1: There will be a charge of ₹57.50 per transaction for savings accounts after 40 per year.
This is not true.
The charges for transacting depends on the type of savings account an accountholder has with the bank and the AMB maintained in these accounts.
For cash withdrawals:
- For an AMB up to ₹25,000, 2 free cash withdrawals are permitted per month
- This is increased to 10 per month for an AMB above ₹25,000 but below ₹50,000
- This is increased to 15 per month for an AMB above ₹50,000 but below ₹1 lakh
- Unlimited cash withdrawals are allowed for an AMB above ₹1 lakh
Above these limits, a charge of ₹50 plus GST applies.
These limits also do not apply to basic and no-frills savings accounts.
The schedule of charges also state that mobile transactions have no such limit or count.
Further, a separate set of rules applies for SBI's basic savings bank deposits (BSBD).
- No cheque books, except to senior citizens, get a 25-leaf chequebook for free
- A free RuPay debit card
- Four withdrawals are free in a month, beyond which a charge of ₹15 plus GST applies
Again, these limits do not apply to digital transactions.
2. A 'tax' of ₹150 and service charges of ₹23 on ATM withdrawals beyond four
The claim also states that a 'tax' of ₹150 and service charges of ₹23 will be levied on ATM withdrawals beyond four. No timeframe - like monthly or yearly - has been given.
Again, ATM limits and the subsequent charges on withdrawals exceeding this limit depends on the type of account, if the transaction was done in a metro city, the AMB maintained with the bank and whether the transaction was done through an ATM of SBI or of another bank. There are six metro cities in this context: Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
At metro locations, those with an AMB of up to ₹1 lakh have 3 free withdrawals, which goes up to 5 at other locations at other bank ATMs. At SBI ATM, it is 5 regardless of location. For those with an AMB of above ₹1 lakh have free withdrawals regardless of ATM operator or location.
Beyond these free limits, the charges at ₹20 plus GST on withdrawals in metros and ₹10 plus GST for withdrawals at non-metros.
Salary package accounts also have unlimited access to ATMs regardless of location or ATM operator.
However, withdrawals done at ATMs internationally come close to the amount specified by the claim, where SBI charges ₹100 minimum plus 3.5% of the transaction amount plus GST.
There is no tax levied by the government directly (GST is an indirect tax), as the claim states.
This claim has also been shared last year, when the Press Information Bureau released a denial of the same.
BOOM reached out a spokesperson of the SBI but is yet to receive a reply to this message. This story will be updated upon hearing from them.