Banks may slash the number of free ATM withdrawals or hike the charges levied in the coming months in a move to discourage people from using cash, banking officials said on Wednesday.
Currently, a customer has to pay Rs 20 per ATM withdrawal after five free transactions a month from a bank she has an account in. For non-financial such as checking balance status or applying for a cheque book, the levy is Rs 8.50.
Customers using ATMs of banks they don't have an account in are charged Rs 20 after three free withdrawals.
These charges were kept in abeyance after the government withdrew two high-value currency notes in November. The levies were allowed to be re-introduced from January 1 but while some banks charged customers, other didn't.
Bank officials said they had received several proposals to increase the levies or reduce free transactions but no final decision had been taken.
“This is nothing new, these charges were temporarily withdrawn after the announcement of the demonetisation exercise, but now with cash supply getting back to normal, banks have decided to resume these charges,” an Axis Bank spokesperson said.
The decision – alongside a move to levy a cash transaction fee – has come less than two weeks before March 13, the deadline set for the removal of all restrictions on cash withdrawals. Sources said more measures could be in the pipeline to promote digital economy.

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