Are you an SBI customer? And looking to withdraw more cash during the upcoming festive season? Here’s some bad news for you. Your bank, ie. the State Bank of India, has decided to reduce the daily cash withdrawal limit of some of its debit cards from Rs 40,000 to Rs 20,000 from the end of this month. As per the bank, this has been done keeping in view the growing number of complaints regarding the fraudulent transactions at ATMs as well as to give a boost to digital transactions.
In an internal circular, dated September 29, the SBI said, “In view of the increase in number of complaints received by the bank around fraudulent transactions at ATMs, and to encourage digital/cashless transactions, it has been decided to decrease the cash withdrawal limits of debit cards issued/being issued on Classic and Maestro platforms from Rs 40,000 to Rs 20,000, with effect from 31 October, 2018.”
The bank further said that as per the guidelines of the Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI), at least 30 days’ notice has to be served to the customers for any changes in terms and conditions of charges. Accordingly, “all the branches are hereby advised to display this message on the notice board for information to the customers,” it said in the circular sent to all of its branches and offices.
It may, however, be noted that the daily ATM cash withdrawal limit has been slashed only on the SBI’s Classic and Maestro Debit Cards. Therefore, if someone wants to go for the higher daily cash withdrawal limit, then one is required to apply for a card having higher withdrawal limit.
When contacted, some SBI officials said that the main purpose of this move is to minimise the cases of frauds, apart from giving a push to digital transactions. However, financial experts believe that the SBI’s move to reduce the ATM withdrawal limit from 31st October is not in the interest of customers.
“This step in my opinion is against the interest of customers. Just by reducing the cash withdrawal limits, you can not reduce the fraud connected with the ATM use. On the contrary, because of the reduced availability of cash on each visit to the ATM, the customer will have to use the ATM facility more frequently to withdraw the requisite amount and thus the increased frequency of the ATM usage will provide more opportunities to the skimmers to trap customers,” says Balwant Jain, a tax and investment expert.
As far as the motive to increase the digital and online transaction is concerned, experts believe, no one should thrust these things upon the customers. If the customer feels comfortable with digital or online transactions, why would he want to take the risk of carrying cash with him? Moreover, just because someone uses the digital platform or online transactions, one is not safeguarded from one’s card or internet banking details being stolen and misused.
“Therefore, more than forcing it on the customer, the need of the hour is to aggressively educate the customers about the benefits of digital and online transactions and train them adequately about the security measures to be taken while doing such transactions. Cash is king and gives the consumer more power to negotiate. I feel the government and SBI are apprehending cash shortage during the festive season and, although not clearly stated, the purpose of introduction of lower ATM cash withdrawal limits seems to pre-empt such cash shortage situations,” says Jain.