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Banking guidelines for opening and operating accounts in case of individuals with disabilities

For individuals with disabilities, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks Association (IBA) have put in place guidelines for opening and operating accounts.

1. In case of customers who may have lost, say, their arms, toe impressions will be accepted for opening the accounts. Now, if the unfortunate incident has occurred after opening of the account and the customer wishes to make a withdrawal, she can visit the bank. The identity will be established on the basis of know your customer (KYC) procedure completed at the time of opening the account. The photograph provided then will serve as the identity proof and officials will find a solution to help the customer carry out transactions. A medical certificate and witnesses who can confirm the identity would also be required

2. In cases where the customer cannot be physically present at the branch, bank officials could extend the courtesy of visiting him or her to complete these formalities. The banking system has outlined procedures that have to be followed for customers who may be facing physical, mental and visual impairment.

3. For those who cannot sign due to the loss of both hands, banks need to ensure that there is physical contact with the withdrawable instrument by the account holder. The signature may be by means of a mark, which can be placed by the person in any manner. It could be even a toe impression. This mark has to be identified by two witnesses, where one of them has to be a bank official. The customer may be asked to indicate to the bank as to who would withdraw the amount from the bank on the basis of cheque or withdrawal form. This person has to be identified by two independent witnesses. The person who would be actually drawing the money from the bank should be asked to furnish his or her signature to the bank.

4. Similarly, bank officials are required to assist visually impaired accountholders in carrying out day-today transactions. “All banking facilities including cheque book, ATM and locker facilities have to be provided to such individuals. The banks are also required to assist such persons in withdrawal of cash. In order to help such persons, it has been suggested to banks by the IBA that they should provide talking ATMs with Braille keypads for visually-impaired persons.

5. For those with conditions like autism, cerebral palsy and severe multiple disabilities, banks may ask for guardianship certificates issued by local level committees set up under the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act 1999. They can also rely on guardianship certificates issued by a district court under the Mental Health Act.

The legal guardians appointed under these provisions can open and operate the accounts.

Source: The Economic Times

ATM use over 5 times per month will attract fee of Rs 20 from 1st November 2014

Using ATMs to withdraw money or for other purposes like balance enquiry beyond five times in a month will attract a levy of Rs 20 per transaction from 1st November 2014.

As per the Reserve Bank’s new guidelines that comes into force from Saturday, bank customers in six metros — Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore — are allowed to withdraw money and/or carry out non-financial transactions like mini-statements at ATMs of banks, where they hold saving/current accounts, free of charge only five times a month.

Every transaction beyond this threshold will be charged Rs 20 per use.

Besides, the number of free transactions at ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) of non-home banks has been cut to three times a month from five times.

“Taking into account the high density of ATMs, bank branches and alternate modes of payment available to customers, the number of mandatory free ATM transactions for savings bank account customers at other banks’ ATMs is reduced from the present 5 to 3 transactions per month (inclusive of both financial and non-financial transactions),” RBI had said in a notification issued in August this year.

The RBI, however, clarified that nothing precludes a bank from offering more than three free transactions at other bank ATMs to its account holders if it so desires.

The cap in the number of free ATM transactions will not apply on small/no-frills or basic savings bank deposit account holders who will continue to enjoy five free transactions.

At places other than the six metro centres, the facility of five free transactions for savings bank account customers will remain unchanged upon using other bank ATMs.

India has a total of 1.6 lakh bank ATMs across the country as of March 2014.

The new guidelines were issued in pursuance of a representation made to the RBI by Indian Banks’ Association on the back of growing cost of ATM deployment and maintenance incurred by banks as well as rising interchange outgo due to free transactions.

Source: The Economic Times