The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has implemented significant changes regarding the minimum balance in bank accounts. Starting April 1, if you’re not using your bank account, you won’t have to pay the minimum balance charge. This decision marks a crucial shift in banking regulations, potentially impacting numerous account holders across the country.

Exemption for Dormant Accounts

Accounts that have been inactive for over two years are included in this new rule. According to RBI’s guidelines, banks cannot impose penalties on these dormant accounts for not maintaining a minimum balance. This move is expected to bring relief to many customers who maintain accounts for specific purposes or have multiple accounts.

RBI’s Directive for Scholarship and DBT Accounts

RBI further stated that accounts opened for receiving scholarships or Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) cannot be classified as inactive, even if they haven’t been used for over two years. This exemption aims to ensure that beneficiaries of government schemes do not face unnecessary hurdles.

Efforts to Reduce Unclaimed Deposits

The central bank’s circular aims to decrease the amount of unclaimed deposits in the banking system and return such funds to their rightful claimants. This initiative reflects RBI’s commitment to customer protection and efficient banking operations.

Banks’ Responsibility to Inform Customers

Under the new rules, banks are required to inform customers about the status of their accounts becoming inactive through SMS, letters, or emails. If the account holder does not respond, banks must reach out to the person who introduced the account holder or the nominee.

No Charges for Reactivating Accounts

Importantly, RBI has specified that banks are not allowed to charge any fee for reactivating dormant accounts. This policy ensures that customers are not penalized for re-engaging with the banking system.

RBI’s Previous Guidelines on Negative Balances

Previously, RBI had instructed banks to ensure that the imposition of penalty charges for not maintaining the minimum balance does not result in a negative balance in accounts. Despite this, many banks continued to levy penalties.

Increase in Unclaimed Deposits

According to RBI’s latest report, unclaimed deposits have increased by 28% as of March 2023, reaching INR 42,272 crores. Accounts inactive for 10 years or more will have their balances transferred to RBI’s Depositor Education and Awareness Fund.

🏦 Important Information Table – RBI’s New Banking Guidelines 🏦

Rule Change Details
Minimum Balance Charge Exemption No charges for accounts not in use
Inactive Account Definition Accounts with no transactions for 2+ years
Exemption for Scholarship & DBT Accounts No classification as inactive
Notification to Customers Via SMS, letter, or email
Reactivation of Accounts No charges imposed
Unclaimed Deposits Increase to INR 42,272 crores
Transfer to RBI Fund For accounts inactive for 10+ years

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