Most top public sector banks and private-sector lenders levy a fine on their customers for not maintaining a monthly average balance in their savings accounts.
The penalty depends on factors like the location of the branch and the amount maintained in the account. However, the largest public sector bank in the country, the State Bank of India (SBI), has waived off the fines levied for non-maintenance of the average monthly balance.
Comparison of minimum balance requirements by SBI, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank
SBI: No Minimum Balance Required On Zero Balance Savings Accounts
The State Bank of India March 2020, waived off the maintenance of the Average Monthly Balance for its savings bank accounts.
SBI used to levy a fine of Rs 5 to Rs 15 depending on the branch location where the account was opened. The customers were required to maintain an average monthly balance of Rs 3000, Rs 2000, and Rs 1000 in their accounts, depending on the location of their branch.
The SBI has divided its branches into the metro, semi-urban and rural.
SBI also offers more free ATM transactions to customers who keep more money in their savings accounts. For example, customers maintaining a balance of over Rs 1 lakh get unlimited free ATM transactions in a month.
HDFC Bank requires its regular savings account holders to maintain a monthly average balance of Rs 10,000 in metro and urban areas and Rs 5,000 in semi-urban locations. In rural areas, the bank requires its savings account customers to maintain an average quarterly balance of Rs 2,500.
The bank levies service charges on its customers in the current month based on the average monthly balance maintained in the savings account in the previous month.
Charges applicable on non-maintenance of MAB
Applicable on non-maintenance
ICICI Bank revised the charges for maintenance of the monthly average balance in different savings accounts from February 1, 2022.
For its regular savings accounts, the bank requires a minimum monthly average balance of Rs 10,000 for metro or urban areas, Rs 5,000 for semi-urban locations, and Rs 2,000 for rural locations.
The bank has revised the penalty for non-maintenance of the monthly average balance from 5 per cent of the shortfall to 6 per cent or Rs 500, whichever is lower. The penalty will be applicable for savings accounts in branches across all locations.