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Sunday, June 30, 2013

After private sector lenders, SBI, PNB too start charging for SMS alerts

With private sector banks beginning to charge customers for SMS alerts sent to their mobile phones, public sector State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank too have decided to get on to the bandwagon.

SBI, India’s largest lender, will recover Rs 15 (inclusive of service tax) per quarter as SMS alert charges from its customers with effect from the quarter ending June 2013.

Punjab National Bank, India’s third largest public sector bank, will also charge all new as well as existing customers Rs 15 per quarter for SMS alerts for transactions with effect from July 1.

PNB, however, said senior citizen accounts, staff accounts, retired staff accounts, student accounts and basic savings bank accounts for financial inclusion will be excluded from the SMS charges.

In the last one month or so, private sector banks such as ICICI Bank and Axis Bank have notified their clients that they will be charged for SMS alerts.

With telecom companies increasing the bulk SMS charges by about 10 times, banks have no choice but to pass on the increased costs to the customers, said a senior public sector bank official.

Earlier, the bulk SMS charge used to be around 2-3 paise per SMS. But the same has now been jacked up to 20-25 paise per SMS.

Option to exit

The official said that if a customer does not want to incur the expense on account of SMS, then he or she can ask the bank to discontinue the service.

However, given the rising incidents of frauds, it is unlikely customers will stop the SMS alert service as it enables them to track activity in their account.

If a fraudulent transaction goes through, then the SMS alert can prevent further damage as the customer can notify the bank immediately and prevent more transactions.

Through SMS alerts, customers can keep track of the credit and debit transactions in their account. Further, customers can get information on cheque books issued to them and return of cheques, if any.

With SBI and PNB taking the lead , other public sector banks too are expected to follow suit.

Source: thehindubusinessline


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