Seventy two-year-old Mumbai resident Parag Jajoo often faces difficulty while visiting the bank branch in which he has an account. Withdrawing money and updating his passbook with all transaction entries are recurring hassles for him. He and his wife, 70, stay together. Their only son is settled overseas for the last eight years. Parag doesn’t trust his domestic help with banking and money matters, so he personally visits the bank branch at least seven times in a month.

Says Parag, “I am not tech savvy like millennials and mid-age people to use internet or mobile banking facilities for regular bank transactions. So, I am completely dependent on employees at the branch for availing banking facilities.”

Many senior citizens sail on a similar boat.

Unfortunately, there have been several instances of bank employees not providing adequate assistance to senior citizens.

In November 2017 the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) came out with a notification which advised banks to provide separate basic banking facilities especially for senior citizens. Since then, several banking privileges have been rolled out for the elderly. It’s important to note these dedicated services are for those who are 70 and above as per RBI. However, there are some of the banks extend this banking privileges to senior citizens 60 and above. Ujjivan Small Finance Bank is one such bank providing this services to customers attaining the age of 60.

Some of the banking facilities now tailor-made for senior citizens include door-step banking, submission of know your customer (KYC) documents and life certificates at the residence of such customers, etc. Most elderly persons, however, may not be aware of these banking facilities. On world senior citizens day, it is a good time to understand the important facilities you can avail from banks.

Doorstep banking

Banks now provide doorstep banking facilities, which include picking up cash or cheques and depositing them, delivering cash, issuing demand drafts, submitting know your customer (KYC) documents and life certificate for pension etc.

For cash pick-up and delivery services there is a transaction limit set by banks. Corporation Bank, for example, has set the minimum amount as Rs 5,000 and the maximum limit as Rs 25,000. Axis Bank has a single limit (minimum and maximum) of Rs 50,000. The maximum amount is restricted to control any fraudulent transactions.

Axis Bank has extended this facility to senior citizens for its current accounts as well. To avail doorstep banking service you have to update the permanent account number (PAN). This doorstep banking service is not available for savings accounts operated jointly with a family member less than 70 years of age or with a minor. To avail doorstep banking service, you need to register your request with your bank.

At present, in some banks, even fully KYC-compliant accounts are not automatically converted into ‘senior citizen account’ on the basis of date of birth maintained in their records. Now, banks are being advised that a fully KYC compliant account should automatically be converted into a ‘senior citizen account’ based on the date of birth available in their records. This will help the elderly skip the long queues for availing banking facilities at the branch.

Dedicated counters

Often we see senior citizens waiting in long queues for banking transactions, mostly in public sector bank branches. To save the elders from any kind of inconvenience at a branch, banks were advised by the RBI to have a dedicated counter or a priority counter for senior citizens. These dedicated counters should resolve your queries and allow you to accomplish banking tasks smoothly.

To update your bank passbook, you can even use kiosk machines installed in the branches. This will save your time and effort in standing in long queues. Also, acquire aid to operate the ATM installed at a branch for financial transactions such as balance inquiry, depositing and withdrawing cash, investing in fixed deposits, recharging your mobile, paying insurance premium, applying for personal loans and paying utility bills.

Ease of submitting life certificate

Pension is the only income source for most retired employees. Government employees receive monthly pension for life. However, a beneficiary has to provide the life certificate every year in the month of November to continue receiving a pension in his/her pension account. It may be difficult at times for senior citizen pensioners to visit the bank to submit the life certificate every year. So, the government has come up with a solution to it and has introduced digital life certificate also known as Jeevan Pramaan. It is a biometric-enabled digital life certificate for pensioners, which they can generate and share it with pension disbursing agencies (PDAs).

It is observed that often life certificates of senior citizens are not updated promptly by the bank branch (which is near their residence) in the core banking solution system of the bank. So, it results in unnecessary hardship to the pensioners. There is delay in crediting of pension. To resolve this issue, the RBI has notified that pensioners can now submit a physical life certificate form at the pension paying bank branch to get a ‘digital life certificate’ under the Jeevan Pramaan Scheme.

No free lunches

The doorstep banking facilities for senior citizens come at cost that varies from bank to bank. Corporation Bank charges Rs 200 plus GST for each visit to the customer’s door step, while Axis Bank levies Rs 100 plus GST from ‘non-premium’ savings accounts, whereas for premium savings accounts four doorstep services are free in a month. The service charges are debited to the customer’s account by the branch, after successful completion of the service. ICICI bank is one of the exceptions since there are no charges for the doorstep banking facility levied on senior citizens.

In case your bank fails to provide services to senior citizens as notified by the RBI, then file a complaint with the bank’s branch manager and also the grievance redressal officer. The name, address and contact details of the grievance redressal officer are made available to customers through the bank’s branch. You can send a written complaint to them by post or courier.

If there is no response within 30 days from the grievance redressal officer or the bank rejects the complaint or if you are not satisfied with the bank’s response, escalate the complaint to the banking ombudsman.

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