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Monday, September 3, 2012

ICICI Bank to hike overseas ATM cash withdrawal fee by 17%

ATM cash withdrawals at international locations by ICICI Bank customers are set to get dearer by nearly 17 per cent by the middle of this month.

“With effect from September 15, 2012, ATM cash withdrawal fee at international location will be increased from Rs 107 to Rs 125,” the country’s largest private sector bank said in a notification to its customers.

Service tax and other ‘terms and conditions’ would continue to be applicable to this fee, the bank said.

When contacted, an ICICI Bank executive said the latest revision in charges is being effected to offset a hike in overseas partner banks/financial institutions fees for this type of service.

At present, other leading private banks, including HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank, charge their customers a fee ranging from Rs 110 to Rs 125 per transaction for ATM cash withdrawals at international locations.

Among others, ING Vysya Bank charges its debit cardholders the rupee equivalent of $2.5 per withdrawal.

The charges for this service are higher for some public sector banks, as compared to their private sector peers. Bank of Baroda customers have to pay Rs 200 per withdrawal at VISA member banks abroad.

Globally, banks charge higher fees for international ATM withdrawals — either a flat rate (typically $1-6) or a set percentage of total withdrawal (usually 1-3 per cent).

The biggest advantage of withdrawing money abroad with an ATM card is that all cash withdrawals, regardless of amount, are executed based on the wholesale exchange rate, which are usually reserved only for very large inter-bank exchanges.

However, applicable service taxes and foreign currency conversion charges are also charged from the customers for money withdrawn through this route.

Automated Teller Machines have gained prominence as a delivery channel for banking transactions. There are an outstanding 29.05 crore debit cards and 1.8 crore credit cards in India, as per the RBI data.

No charges are payable for using other banks’ ATMs in India for cash withdrawal as the RBI made it free under the “Free ATM access policy” from April 1, 2009.

However, banks are allowed to restrict the number of such free transactions to a maximum of five per month. Beyond this minimum number of transaction, banks can charge a maximum amount of Rs 20 per transaction.


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