SBI cuts charges on e-payments

Mumbai: The country’s largest lender SBI has brought down charges on electronic transactions by as much as 75% with effect from July 15, 2017. The lower charges are for electronic transfers initiated through mobile- and net-banking. The bank has also made account-to-account transfers free under the Immediate Payments System (IMPS).

The charges are aimed at encouraging customers to use digital channels. Electronic transactions initiated at the branch level will continue to attract the old rates. For instance, a customer who initiates a real time gross settlement (RTGS) of over Rs 2 lakh in a branch will have to pay Rs 25 (excluding goods and services tax) at the branch. As against this an online transfer will cost Rs 5.

Following the reduction SBI’s charges on National Electronic Fund Transfer(NEFT) and RTGS are a fourth of what rivals in the private and public sector charge. The move comes a month after SBI rolled out new requirements for average monthly balances in its savings accounts, failing which penalties would be imposed.

IMPS is the platform used for peer-to-peer payments on mobile phones and internet banking. It is also the system on which the newly-launched Unified Payment Interface runs. Besides IMPS, NEFT is also used for account-to-account transfers. RTGS is a platform that is used for high-value electronic payments.

According to Rajnish Kumar, MD, SBI, the revision in charges is a part of the bank’s strategy to promote digitisation and improve efficiency in operations. He added that this has resulted in reducing turnaround time along with extended benefits to customers. “We are committed towards increasing the share of digital initiatives in products, services and transactions, supported by technologically-advanced back-end operations,” he said.

This is also in line with the government strategy to promote digital payments, which despite the big boost during demonetisation has been trailing in recent months.

SBI’s revised charges will benefit 3.27 crore customers of the bank who are registered for internet banking, and nearly 2 crore customers using mobile banking.