New Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India in its latest order has raised the interchange fee on each financial transaction at an ATM to Rs 17 from Rs 15 and from Rs 5 to Rs 6 for non-financial transactions in all centres. This shall be effective from August 1, 2021.
Beyond the free transactions, the ceiling/cap on customer charges is Rs 20 per transaction. "To compensate the banks for the higher interchange fee and given the general escalation in costs, they are allowed to increase the customer charges to Rs 21 per transaction. This increase shall be effective from January 1, 2022," the RBI said.
How will a hike in interchange fee affect customers?
The card issuing bank pays an interchange fee to the operator of the ATM when a customer makes a transaction at an ATM that does not belong to the card-issuing bank. Currently, the card-issuing bank pays an interchange fee of Rs 15 for each cash transaction and Rs 5 for each non-cash transaction.
The ATM operators had been pushing for a hike in interchange for some time now but banks were not on the same page on the issue. So, after this hike, using other banks’ ATMs beyond the free limit will be costlier now for the customers.
The changes announced on Thursday are based on the recommendations of a committee set up in June 2019 under the Chairmanship of the Chief Executive, Indian Banks’ Association to review the entire gamut of ATM charges and fees, with a particular focus on the interchange structure for ATM transactions.
The RBI said in a statement on its website that the recommendations of the committee have been comprehensively examined. "It is also observed that the last change in interchange fee structure for ATM transactions was in August 2012, while the charges payable by customers were last revised in August 2014. A substantial time has thus elapsed since these fees were last changed," the RBI said in the statement.
Stating the reason behind the increase in customer charges, the apex bank said: "Accordingly, given the increasing cost of ATM deployment and expenses towards ATM maintenance incurred by banks / white label ATM operators, as also considering the need to balance expectations of stakeholder entities and customer convenience."
The Reserve Bank of India in its latest order has also said that customers are eligible for five free transactions (inclusive of financial and non-financial transactions) every month from their own bank ATMs.
"They are also eligible for free transactions (inclusive of financial and non-financial transactions) from other bank ATMs viz. three transactions in metro centres and five transactions in non-metro centres," the RBI order mentioned.
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