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Fee relief for users of ATM

Mumbai, Feb. 18: Banks will not be allowed to charge customers who use debit cards to check account balance at ATMs owned by another bank.

Under RBI rules that come into effect immediately, banks have been told not to charge customers who use their own ATMs for any purpose.

From April 1, 2009, there will be no charge on ATM use across banking networks.

The final guidelines issued today are based on an approach paper that suggested customers who withdraw money from the ATM of another bank should not be charged more than Rs 20 per transaction.

The paper had directed banks that charged more than Rs 20 to reduce the fee by March 31, 2008.

Accepting this recommendation, the central bank said the Rs 20 charge would be all-inclusive and no other charges could be levied under any other head irrespective of the amount of withdrawal.

At present, banks charge between nil and Rs 57 a transaction when customers use the ATM of another bank for cash withdrawals and balance enquiry. These charges depend on the network relationship between banks.

If a bank has a bilateral relationship with another that allows a customer to use the latter’s ATM, the charges levied vary from nil to Rs 50 per transaction for cash withdrawal and from nil to Rs 20 for each balance enquiry.

In the case of some banks like HDFC Bank, customers pay Rs 55 per transaction for using the ATM of another bank. However, they are charged only Rs 20 if they use the ATMs of the SBI or Andhra Bank with which HDFC Bank has a relationship.

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