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Banks asked to lower charges on digital transactions above Rs. 1,000 (Relevant for GS Prelims and Mains Paper II)

Govt. directed the banking sector to reduce the transaction fee for digital payments:
In order to further promote digital and card payments, the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance has issued a direction in public interest to all public sector banks, in accordance with which these banks shall not charge fees for transactions settled on Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) and Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in excess of rates charged for National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) for transactions above Rs 1,000, with service tax being charged at actuals up to March 31, 2017.

Details:
1.    NEFT transfers of up to Rs 10,000 attract a fee of Rs 2.5 per transaction.
2.    Transactions between Rs. 10,000 and less than Rs. 1 lakh attract a fee of Rs. 5
3.    Transactions between Rs. 1 lakh and Rs. 2 lakh attract a fee of Rs. 15, 
4.    The fee for transactions above Rs. 2 lakh is Rs. 25. Service tax is charged on top of this.

This follows the RBI’s notification in which it instructed banks to remove all charges on customers for transactions up to Rs.1,000 settled on IMPS, USSD or UPI systems between January 1, 2017 and March 31, 2017. For Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) transactions above Rs. 1,000, a further discount of fifty paise on these rates shall apply. 

What is IMPS?
Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) is an instant interbank electronic fund transfer service through mobile phones. It is also being extended through other channels such as ATM, Internet Banking, etc.

What is NEFT?
National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) is one of the most prominent electronic funds transfer system of India. Started in November 2005, NEFT is a facility provided to bank customers to enable them to transfer funds easily and securely on a one-to-one basis. It is done via electronic messages. 



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