With focus on digitization, be it transfering money or lodging complaints against a bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has brought about a number of changes in 2019 that made life easier for customers. Let’s take a look at the major changes in banking regulations.
The National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) service, which could earlier be carried out only between 8am to 7pm, has been made available round the clock on all days including holidays. While NEFT is generally used for transferring amounts of up to Rs 2 lakh, there is no specified maximum limit and it varies from bank to bank. The RBI also asked banks not to charge any fee from savings account customers from January 2020.
The Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) service, which is used for high-value transactions above Rs 2 lakh, is also a payments platform managed by the RBI. Earlier, the central bank used to earn fees from banks for this service. But, in 2019, it decided to do away with these charges so that banks could offer the service to customers at a lower cost. Following this, some major banks waived the fees entirely for RTGS up to a certain amount of fund transfer.
Typically, ATMs rank high in terms of customer grievances. The RBI addressed some of them in 2019. The RBI asked banks not to count failed transactions or non-cash transactions like balance inquiries as a part of five free transactions per month. In terms of failed online transactions that do not go through for no fault of the customer, the RBI laid out a timeframe for the reversal of money in a customer’s bank account. If the bank is unable to do so within the set timeframe, the bank will have to pay a penalty to customers for their inconvenience.
Complaint Management System
In case you are not happy with your bank’s services, you can lodge a complaint with the RBI through its online application called the Complaint Management System (CMS), launched in 2019. Your complaint will be directed to the concerned Ombudsman for timely redressal.
In 2019, the RBI made it compulsory for banks to follow a new rate-setting regime called the External Benchmarking of loans. Under the new mechanism, banks were mandated to use a benchmark such as the RBI’s repo rate to set interest rates on retail and MSME loans. This way, customers can see and compare what banks are charging over and above the benchmark.
While all these measures were a step in the right direction, there is hope that there will be more such regulatory changes in 2020. The biggest move awaited is the likely increase in the deposit insurance cover for savings bank accounts which is currently capped at Rs 1 lakh only.