Hyderabad: Taking advantage of the Government's push for cashless transactions, banks have increased their transaction charges substantially. Withdrawals from ATMs, using cards at petrol bunks, online transfers to other bank customers, and outstation cheque transactions will all cost more now. Though the central government has announced 0.75 per cent of money back on transaction charges imposed at petrol bunks for debit card usage, banks are collecting one per cent and refunding 0.75 per cent in one or two days to the account of the bank customer. Transactions through credit cards at petrol outlets are being charged at 2.5 per cent.
Consumer activist Thakur Rajkumar Singh said that the cashless transaction system has become very complicated due to the hidden and transaction charges. “When I went shopping for garments, a board at the cash counter stated non-acceptance of Andh-ra Bank and SBI cards. Some retailers are still demanding 2 per cent extra charge on card transactions, which is illegal,” he said.
He added that “For more than five ATM withdrawals with the home bank and three withdrawals with other banks, banks charge `20 per transaction. We have written a letter to the ce-ntral government to lift the transaction charges in the cashless system.” Advocates B. Yogesw-ara Rao and T. Venkata Ramana, who deal with consumer related cases, said that banks are looting bank customers. They said that when manual banking was the norm 15 years ago, banks used to collect a transaction fee up to `100 for outstation cheques. Now all banks have technology that ensures money is transferred at a click.
But banks are still collecting the same charges. The lawyers say some banks are even charging Rs 150 per cheque transaction. The action of the banks is not encouraging custo-mers to go cashless. If the central government wants to encourage the cashless system, it sho-uld cancel transaction charges on cashless payments and should imp-ose the same on cash payments, they said.
M Madhu Latha, a techie from Madhapur, said that the looting by banks will take the transaction system back two decades. "Now, no transaction charges on withdrawals from banks and bank customers are rushing to banks and filling up of green/yellow/pink forms for withdrawing money against utilising ATM as banks imposed conditions on free transactions," she said. Now, because there is no transaction charge on cheque withdrawals from banks, customers are rushing to withdraw money that way instead of through ATMs on which conditions have been imposed regarding the number of transactions that are free," she said.
You’re being charged to encash reward points:
All banks have started collecting transaction/handling charges towards redemption of reward points on special cards like i-mint, payback etc. Before January 1, 2017, there was no charge when redeeming points at e-commerce and m-commerce sites and on-line shopping applications. The reward points scheme is to motivate card users to make online transactions instead of cash payments.
But, all banks integrated with reward cards have begun charging handling/transaction fee for converting points to cash. GVR Kishore, a techie from the city, said that the transaction charge on redemption of points is discouraging those who regularly use cards to pay for shopping. "I have a mobile app for recharging my mobile and mostly I convert my points to cash with the app. Recently, when I opened the app, it automatically converted my points into cash worth Rs 20 while my bank charged me Rs 25 towards handling charges! Since January 1, banks are charging Rs 25 every time when converting my points into cash," he said.