One of the questions I get asked a lot is which is the best savings account in India. I don’t offer a straight out answer because it really depends on what you want and what you will do with your account.
SBI has always been one of my favorite banks for multiple reasons.
They have a “no frills” service. I mean, if you visit one of the SBI bank branches, you will no find someone waiting there with lime juice and toffee to welcome you. (Some banks do).
But hey, I’m there for the service and as long as you can do it for me effortlessly, I’m happy. And SBI does it most of the time with no fanfare.
Now, you might wonder why SBI? Don’t other banks also do the same? Don’t they let you do your transactions?
Yes, they might. The problem I have is when they charge me hidden fees.
Many banks in India, charge hidden fees or “service charges” pretty much for everything. Dropping a cheque – charge. Checking ATM – charge!
SBI didn’t have these charges. Until now.
It has been bringing in all kinds of additional charges to it’s service lately. I will also clarify that these charges effective to everyone. Instead, there are brackets within which these charges operate.
For example, withdrawal fees from ATMs beyond a particular number, if your balance is below X amont, quarterly.
While, I can understand that, this is a negative trend to see service charges and hidden fees for seemingly simple transactions.
For example, account cancellation.
So yes, as of April 2017, SBI will charge you a penalty of Rs 1145 if you close a savings account that is less than one year old.
And if you are closing a savings account that after 6 months, then the charge is Rs. 500 plus 14.5% service charge.
I personally, don’t like these charges as they send a negative message to account holders. But at the same time, can understand why banks including SBI are doing this. They’re perhaps trying to promote digital transactions and getting us to use less of their services. Makes sense, but that shouldn’t end up punishing customers for seemingly small things.