Banking services at your doorstep

Seniors and differently-abled can breathe easy now

If you are 60 years and above and have been getting banking services, there’s reason for you to cheer. Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has mandated banks to offer special facilities to senior citizens and differently-abled persons. This should improve access to banking services to people in these two categories.

What’s on offer

For one, standing in those long queues to either withdraw or deposit money at bank branches will soon be passé. The RBI has now made it mandatory for banks to have a dedicated counter for senior citizens and the differently-abled (includes those who are visually impaired too). In case a bank does not have the manpower and infrastructure to set up a dedicated counter to service these special customers, they need to identify one counter that will give priority to these customers. Thus, this move should provide access to banking services faster, saving the hassle of waiting for too long.

Two, for customers who are 70 and above or are differently abled (including visually impaired) or are suffering from medically certified chronic diseases, the RBI has mandated banks to offer services at their doorstep. This covers basic services such as pick-up of cash and other instruments such as cheque, delivery of cash against withdrawal made from the account and delivery of demand drafts. In addition to this, doorstep banking services will also help customers submit their KYC documents and life certificate.

Three, getting cheque books from the bank has also been made easy now. These special customers do not have to go to the bank directly to submit request for a fresh cheque book. They can send the form duly filled through any representative. Banks have been mandated to provide a minimum of 25 cheque leaves every year at no additional fee.

Four, for senior citizens who depend on Government pension to meet their monthly needs, timely submission of life certificates is critical to receive pension without interruption. While the RBI had earlier notified that pensioners could submit life certificates at any branch of the pension paying bank, there have been issues with the same such as delay in uploading of these details by the branches into the core banking system. To address this, the RBI has instructed that the certificates received will have to be uploaded immediately by the receiving branch. One can now also submit life certificates digitally through the Jeevan Praman website ( .

Five, for customers fully compliant with the Know Your Customers (KYC) norms, banks have been asked to ensure automatic conversion to senior citizen accounts when the criteria for the same are met. This will save them the trouble of having to go to the branch.

Finally, the RBI in 2015 notified that senior citizens who are either old, sick or incapacitated and are unable to sign cheques/other documents due to physical incapacity can use their thumb impression or other sign, verified by two individual witnesses to operate their account. They will have to authorise a person to operate their account. This facility, which was only available to the sick, incapacitated persons, is now applicable to visually impaired customers too.

The RBI has mandated that all these services be provided by not just scheduled commercial banks (including regional rural banks) but also small finance banks and payment banks.

Even as the Government, on the one side, is pushing for digitisation and e-delivery of banking services, reducing the dependence on physical banking infrastructure, the above initiatives take cognizance of the needs of seniors and sick individuals. Hence, it is a welcome move.

The writer is co-founder, RaNa Investment Advisors

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