Lockdown 2.0: Bank without going to your branch

Lockdown 2.0: Bank without going to your branch thumbnail
Khyati DharamsiBanks, like many other sectors, have been compelled to work with minimal staff. And in the midst of a lockdown that has got more severe in these past few days, it’s tough to visit the bank as you did before the Coronavirus pandemic. But emergencies may push you to do so. Mumbai-based Raunak Gajjar,…

Khyati DharamsiBanks, like many other sectors, have been compelled to work with minimal staff. And in the midst of a lockdown that has got more severe in these past few days, it’s tough to visit the bank as you did before the Coronavirus pandemic. But emergencies may push you to do so. Mumbai-based Raunak Gajjar, 32, lost Rs 19,000 last week when making a grocery purchase that turned out to be a fraudulent transaction. But because he had shared his One-Time Password (OTP) with the fraudster, he wasn’t allowed to block his card through tele-banking. He was told to submit a form at the nearest bank branch. “The bank branch finally blocked my card and I could get back 50 percent of my money,” says Raunak.The flip side was that he was left without a debit card during the lockdown phase as card issuances have stopped during the shutdown and so have delivery services. For cash withdrawals without his debit card, Raunak now has to rely on contact-less transactions. All he needs to do is to make a cash withdrawal request through internet banking. A unique password is generated, which is valid for only two hours. He has to rush to his nearest ATM within the time limit, enter the code at the ATM and get his money.As most branches function only between 10 am and 2 pm, it’s difficult to carry on your normal banking work in this lockdown. But there are alternatives.ATMs are not just for cash withdrawalAs long as your bank account has your basic details such as mobile number and email address, you would be able to carry out most of you transactions from home. The usual channels – ATMs, phone or internet banking, mobile applications, WhatsApp banking or even with the assistance of chatbots through the bank’s official website – are available as usual.At the moment, much of the bank staff has limited its activities to cheque clearances, remittances and government transactions.Make the best use of your ATMs. “After cash – which is adequately being stocked – statement generation is the next most popular activity at bank ATMs. But ATMs aren’t just currency storing machines anymore. There are 32 other transactions one can perform, including account to account transfers,” says Thyagarajan Seshadri,  President-Banking Relations at Electronic Payment and Services.“For change or registration of mobile number and email address, the customer has to personally visit the branch, fill the prescribed application form and submit the same with his/her KYC documents,” K R Kanojia, General Manager-Operations and Services at Bank of Baroda.Doorstep bankingIn an effort, to ease the worries of senior citizens and the differently abled, the RBI has sought strict compliance from banks within a month of its doorstep-banking circular issued on March 31, 2020.Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and SBI have started with pension and other cash deliveries at the doorstep and cheque pick up from the homes of senior citizens. India Post too offered senior citizens the option of cash withdrawals from postal savings accounts at their doorsteps.Some banks even deployed mobile ATM vans in large cities such as Mumbai, Noida, Chennai, Coimbatore and Allahabad.Fixed deposits in lockdown modeFixed deposit redemptions will take time in this lockdown. Most FDs would be renewed for a similar duration, unless a redemption request has been raised.Kanojia of Bank of Baroda says, “If anyone wants the payment of the deposit before maturity then it can be considered on a case-to-case basis. The person has to submit a duly discharged fixed deposit receipt with pre-payment request to the branch.”Check if your bank accepts scanned copies of your FD in case you opt to get your money back. Your bank’s app may also be good enough to initiate a redemption.EMI MoratoriumMany firms these days are quick to respond on social media, especially on twitter. Pune-based auto-industry personnel Sameer Tuhane, 36, wanted to opt for the loan moratorium, but discovered that his March equated monthly instalment (EMI) was already debited. A refund was due to him since he wanted to opt for the moratorium. He got in touch with his bank on twitter. Within 24 hours, he received a response and his EMI was refunded. This has been a common complaint against banks in social media.“The RBI’s guidelines came in on March 27, and since most EMI deductions are slated for the first of every month, banks had limited time to alter the system and avoid the EMI deduction. By default, we altered the date for all EMI deduction to April 4, 2020. Refund requests were placed for those, who opted for the EMI Moratorium through the appropriate procedure,” said a branch manager.Be careful what you say when you interact with your bank on twitter. Do not give out sensitive or personal details like loan-account number, your full name, bank account number and so on. If you wish to attach a screenshot of an error message mask your account details and full name. Fraudsters are always on the prowl looking for unsuspecting victims.Says Sameer Ratolikar, Chief Information Security Officer, HDFC Bank, “In these trying times, it is important for one and all to be informed about the evolving bank frauds. An alert and well-informed customer is less likely to inadvertently disclose personal banking details.”Moneycontrol’s TakeTechnology has made it easier to not just carry out banking transactions, but also to reach out to your bank. Try to use internet banking and phone banking as much as you can. If that doesn’t help, try sending an email. Get in touch with your bank on social media, if all else fails. Use the WhatsApp services of your bank for knowing your account balance, inquiries on your credit card, payment alerts, details of your fixed deposits and so on. But remember to delete your messages once your queries are answered.If you are a senior citizen, you can even authorise a younger and trusted relative to go to the bank branch on your behalf. An authorisation letter is required.Time to show-off your poker skills and win Rs.25 lakhs with no investment. Register Now!
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