No Lesson Learnt: RBI’s new Rs100 note is new headache for users, banks, ATMs

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is shortly issuing new notes of Rs100 denomination in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series with lavender as base colour. The dimensions of the note at 66mm × 142mm are smaller than the one in circulation at present with a size of 73mm X 157mm. This, dimension change, however, would be a new headache for everyone from users to banks and automatic teller machine (ATM) service providers.

Rajiv Anand, Executive Director of Axis Bank told the Economic Times, “It looks like we may have to recalibrate the ATMs because the new Rs100 is neither the size of the old Rs100 note nor the Rs200 note for which we have recalibrated our ATMs.” The cost of the exercise could be Rs100 crore.
According to Radha Rama Dorai, Managing Director – ATM & Allied Services at FIS, this new Rs100 currency note would require re-calibration of the ATMs and more investment in terms of cost and efforts. “The dimensions of the new Rs100 currency note are different from that of the existing Rs100 currency note. To dispense the new notes from the ATM would require recalibration of the currency cassette in the ATMs. The ATM industry is just about finishing the calibrating the ATMS for Rs200 denomination. This recalibration would again require investment in terms of cost and efforts,” she says.
Earlier in January 2018, RBI had asked banks to re-calibrate their ATMs for the new Rs200 currency notes. However, many banks are yet to complete the job.
FIS manages a network of 12,000 plus ATMs, spread across the country particularly in the difficult terrains.
In a release, the Reserve Bank had said that all banknotes of Rs100 issued in earlier series would continue to be in operations as valid tender and printing and supply of the new Rs100 notes would increase gradually.
Since the old and new notes are likely to co-exist till such time RBI completely withdraws the old notes, it will be difficult to re-calibrate all the ATMs to soon support the new dimensions of the note. There is likelihood of an imbalance between the supply of the new notes and the withdrawal of the old notes, especially in the hinterland. If the supply of the new currency is unable to fill the gap created by the withdrawal of the old currency, dispensation of Rs100 currency notes through the ATMs will get affected till such time as the imbalance exists.
“It would be prudent to let banks and service providers decide when to calibrate the ATMs for the new currency note, depending on the ‘supply-withdrawal’ situation in each State over the next few quarters,” Ms Dorai says.
The new Rs100 note will have the motif of ‘Rani ki vav’ – a stepwell located on the banks of Saraswati river in Gujarat’s Patan and a UNESCO heritage site.
The new series of Rs100 currency notes will be the fifth new banknote design to be issued by the Reserve Bank, after the government demonetised Rs500 and Rs1,000 banknotes in November 2016.
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RBI cautions bank customers against fake website seeking confidential account info

The Reserve Bank of India has cautioned citizens against a fake website which is fraudulently taking personal and confidential banking details of bank customers posing as the central bank.

The Reserve Bank of India has cautioned citizens against a fake website which is fraudulently taking personal and confidential banking details of bank customers posing as the central bank.

“It has come to the notice of the Reserve Bank of India that a fake website of the Reserve Bank of India has been created with the URL http://www.indiareserveban.org by some unknown person(s). The layout of the fake website is similar to the original RBI website,” RBI said in a statement on its website.

The official website of the RBI — India’s central bank — is https://www.rbi.org.in  and it holds no other website.

The home page of the fake website also contains a provision for “Bank verification with online account holders” which appears to have been created with a fraudulent intent of obtaining personal and confidential banking details of customers of banks, it added.

The Reserve Bank of India clarifies that as India’s central bank, it does not hold any accounts for individuals and never asks for personal information such as bank account details, passwords, etc…

“The Reserve Bank cautions members of public that responding online on such websites could result in compromising crucial personal information that may be misused to cause financial and other loss to them,” the banking regulator clarified.

Over past years, RBI has been consistently alerting customers about the fake websites, emails asking to transfer funds or for bank account details in the name of a lottery, fictitious job offers in the name of RBI jobs, etc fraudulently luring and cheating customers and that one should not fall prey to it.

Further, members of public are also cautioned about existence of websites such as www.rbi.orgwww.rbi.in etc. These URLs may appear similar to the website of RBI. However, these websites have no affiliation with the Reserve Bank of India. Members of public are advised to be cautious while accessing or when providing any information on such sites.

Beware : Vishing Scam!

Woman duped of Rs 29,000, vishing fraudsters had basic card info

Three people, with basic information about a 38-year-old woman’s credit card, cheated her of Rs 29,000 recently employing a new form of vishing. The woman, an architectural consultant, registered an FIR with Vile Parle police.

Around 11.30am on August 5, the consultant received a call from one Neha, claiming she worked with ICICI’s credit cards division and was aware the consultant’s credit card was to expire later this month.She also knew the new card had been couriered. “I believed Neha to be a genuine employee. She told me reward points worth Rs 9,000 had accumulated on my existing card and would expire unless transferred to my account as an excess credit balance. When I consented, the call was transferred to one Roshan Sharma, who posed as an employee of Payback, a customer loyalty rewards programme,” the consultant said.

 Payback has tie-ups with a few banks, its reward points can be used for shopping. Under the pretext of verification, the accused got the consultant to part with all her card details.The line was transferred between Neha, Roshan and a third associate. “Neha told me money would be credited in two or three instalments,” the consultant said. When Rs 14,365 was debited, she asked Neha what was wrong.

“Neha said there was a problem with completing the point transfer. She said Rs 14,365 would be reversed to my account only if I gave details of another Payback-linked card. I gave details from my Bank of India debit card. Another Rs 14,415 was debited. I shouted at them, but they assured me the sum would be reversed into my account,” she said. Roshan gave her the genuine address of Payback’s Mumbai office.

 “When they asked for details of a third card, I decided I had enough. I warned them I was going to the police. But they said cops couldn’t touch them,” she said, adding she was on phone with them for 90 minutes. “The money went to an IDEA digital wallet and must have been spent by the accused. Had it gone to a bank account, we could have easily traced them,” a cop said.

When will Banks stop fleecing us?

Join the #TweetMorcha on Twitter on 4th July at 3 PM – if you care.

Tweet to PM Modi  as under

@narendramodi  Please direct RBI to instruct Banks to stop fleecing Bank Customers in the guise of BankCharges –  #TweetMorcha

Banks NOT responsible for theft of valuables from Bank Lockers!

Banks won’t compensate you for burglary or theft of your valuables in lockers, reveals RTI query

This bitter truth was disclosed in an RTI response by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and 19 PSU banks.

Stung by the revelation, the lawyer who had sought information under the transparency law has now moved the Competition Commission of India (CCI) alleging “cartelisation” and “anti-competitive practices” by the banks in respect of the locker service.

He has informed the CCI that the RTI response from the RBI has said it has not issued any specific direction in this regard or prescribed any parameters to assess the loss suffered by a customer.

Even under the RTI response all public sectors banks have washed their hands of any responsibility.

According to the information availed by the lawyer, the unanimous reason given by the 19 banks, including Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Punjab National Bank, UCO and Canara, among others, is that “the relationship they have with customers with regard to lockers is that of lessee (landlord) and lessor (tenant)”.

The banks have contended that in such a relationship, the lessor is responsible for his or her valuables kept in the locker which is owned by the bank.

Reuters

The common feature of all locker hiring agreements states, “As per safe deposit memorandum of hiring locker, the bank will not be responsible for any loss or damage of the contents kept in the safe deposit vault as a result of any act of war or civil disorder or theft or burglary and the contents will be kept by the hirer at his or her sole risk and responsibility.Some banks, in their locker hiring agreements, have made it clear that any item stored in the locker is at the customer’s own risk and he or she may, in their own interest, insure the valuables.

“While the bank will exercise all such normal precautions, it does not accept any liability or responsibility for any loss or damage whatsoever sustained to items deposited with it. Accordingly, hirers are advised in their own interest to insure any item of value deposited in a safe deposit locker in the bank,” they have said.

Aggrieved by the responses, the lawyer — Kush Kalra — raised questions before the CCI — why not just keep the valuables at home after insuring them, instead of paying rent to the bank for a locker when it is not going to take any responsibility for the contents.

He further alleged that all these banks, also including State Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Syndicate Bank, Allahabad Bank and others, have formed a “cartel” to indulge in such “anti-competitive” practices.

He further alleged that the bank by forming an association or cartel are “trying to limit the improvement of services which is directly affecting the competition in the market and interests of the consumer”.

The lawyer has sought a probe under the Competition Act into the allegation of cartelisation by the banks in respect of the locker service.

http://www.firstpost.com/business/banks-wont-compensate-you-for-burglary-or-theft-of-your-valuables-in-lockers-reveals-rti-query-3745563.html

Bank to pay if it fails to abide by RBI circular, harasses customer

Banks sometimes disregard the RBI circulars and even the pro vision of law, and overcharge consumers or harass them. An aggrieved consumer can fight for his rights and get justice under the Consumer Protection Act.


Case Study: Neelam Pansari had given premises to State Bank of India on lease for a period of five years. Against this, he had also obtained a loan of Rs15 lakh from the bank, which carried interest at 15% pa.The loan was to be repaid by depositing 87% of the rental earned each month. When the lease expired, it was renewed for another five years, but the bank hiked the interest rate on the loan to 16% pa, compounded quarterly .

Pansari wrote to the bank against this increase. The bank replied that the issue had been referred to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and a decision would be taken soon. Meanwhile, Pansari kept paying interest at the increased rate. He later came across a circular issued by the RBI which stated that there would be no change in the interest rate of loans sanctioned prior to November 16, 1990. He informed State Bank about this circular, pointing out that that the change in interest rate was not applicable to him as his loan had been sanctioned on November 5, 1990. Since the State Bank did not respond, Pansari sought a clarification from the Reserve Bank, which confirmed that the revision in interest rate was not permissible.

Pansari pointed out that he had been overcharged Rs 3,01,599.50 due to the increase in the interest rate. Pansari approached the Banking Ombudsman who partly upheld his contention. As Pansari was not happy with the Ombudsman’s decision, he approached the Bihar State Consumer Commission. The bank contested the complaint. It upheld the bank’s contention that while renewing the lease it was entitled to revise the interest rate and also calculate the interest on compound basis with quarterly rests.

Pansari appealed to the National Commission, which observed that RBI had communicated in November 1995 that banks would not be entitled to charge interest at quarterly rests in respect of loans availed for payment of rents of premises taken on lease. The reason for this is that the interest on the loan should not exceed the lease rent. If compound interest is permitted, the expense by way of interest would be more than the income from rent, leaving a landlord in perpetual debt. To prevent such a situation, the RBI has not permitted charging of compound interest for loans against leased premises.

Accordingly, by its order of May 12 delivered by M Shreesha for the bench presided over by Justice D K Jain, the National Commission held State Bank liable for deficiency in service, and ordered it to refund the excess amount of Rs 3,01,599.50 along with simple interest at 9% pa. Additionally Rs10,000 was awarded as litigation costs. Four week’s time was given for compliance of the order, else it would carry 12% interest for the period of delay .

Conclusion: Banks must be service oriented and not harass consumers.

Jehangir B Gai

ePaper, The Times of India (B’bay) May 15 2017, Page 5 :

(The author is a consumer activist and has won the Govt.of India’s National Youth Award for Consumer Protection. His email is jehangir.gai.columnist@outlook.in)

BHIM UPI: NPCI says it won’t be responsible for loss or fraud, user fully takes the risk

National Payments Corp of India (NPCI), which is set up as a Section 25 company under the Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013), and is seen promoting its Unified Payments Interface (UPI)- based Bharat Interface for Money application (BHIM) app, says it should not held responsible for any loss, claim or damage suffered by the user. What is more shocking are the terms and conditions (T&C) for the UPI BHIM app from NPCI, which are one sided and affords no protection whatsoever to the end user or consumer.
In its terms and conditions for use of the BHIM UPI app, the company, promoted by 10 banks, says, “NPCI does not hold out any warranty and makes no representation about the quality of the UPI services or BHIM application. The user agrees and acknowledges that NPCI shall not be liable and shall in no way be held responsible for any damages whatsoever whether such damages are direct, indirect, incidental or consequential and irrespective of whether any claim is based on loss of revenue, interruption of business, transaction carried out by the user, information provided or disclosed by issuer bank regarding user’s account(s) or any loss of any character or nature whatsoever and whether sustained by the User or by any other person. While NPCI shall endeavour to promptly execute and process the transactions as instructed to be made by the user, NPCI shall not be responsible for any interruptions, non-response or delay in responding due to any reason whatsoever, including due to failure of operational systems or any requirement of law.”
The T&C of NPCI are not easily available and one needs to search for it. But whatever is stated in the T&C documents, appears completely one-sided. Take for example point 6.2 in the T&C documents, which emphasises that only the user is responsible for any failed transaction or any loss and neither NPCI nor the bank can be held responsible. It says, “NPCI shall not be liable for any loss, claim or damage suffered by the User and/or any other third party arising out of or resulting from failure of any transaction initiated via BHIM App on account of time out transaction i.e. where no response is received from NPCI or the beneficiary bank to the transaction request. NPCI or the beneficiary Bank shall also not be liable for any loss, damage and/or claim arising out of or resulting from wrong beneficiary details, mobile number and/or account details being provided by the User.”
This means, even if NPCI or the bank fails to send the necessary response, it is the user who is liable for the loss. Therefore, NPCI, the developer and promoter of this UPI BHIM app, and banks on its platform, are under no obligation to send responses to these transactions within time. “NPCI shall not be responsible for any electronic or mechanical defect, data failure or corruption, viruses and bugs or related problems that may be attributable to User telecommunication equipment and/ or the Services provided by any Service Provider,” NPCI says.
Remember the Bank of Maharashtra case, where fraudsters siphoned off Rs25 crore from the lender, using a bug in its UPI app? For such kind of misuse, too, NPCI says the payer is responsible. It states, “The Payer is solely responsible for the accuracy and authenticity of the payment instructions issued via BHIM App. Once a payment instruction is issued, the same cannot be subsequently revoked by the Payer. NPCI accepts no liability for any consequences arising from erroneous information provided by Payer in payment instructions.”
Now, let us see what happened in the Bank of Maharashtra case (Read: UPI bug costs Bank of Maharashtra about Rs25 crore). P Hota, Managing Director and Chief Executive of NPCI, told the Economic Times that the Pune-based bank had procured an UPI solution from a vendor (reported to be city-based InfrasoftTech), which had a bug that resulted in the fund moving out of the accounts without the sender’s account having the necessary funds.
As per the procedure, when the UPI app receives such a request, it sends a query to the other party (customer) and, after obtaining acceptance, it checks fund availability in the UPI-linked bank account. However, the UPI app used by Bank of Maharashtra sent two messages to NPCI, one as ‘success’ and other as ‘error:insufficient funds’. In these fraudulent transactions, NPCI only read the first message and cleared the payment.
This is an interesting situation because the money was taken from accounts which did not have necessary funds. So, who will bear the loss? As per NPCI’s T&C, it cannot be the company or the bank, but the user. However, in this case, the user was not even aware about this fund transfer. In addition, NPCI is not under any obligation to keep a record of instructions, making the job of the investigation agencies difficult.
In its T&C documents, NPCI states that it has no liability or obligation to keep a record of the instructions to provide information to the user or for verifying the instructions. “All instructions, requests, directives, orders, directions, carried out by the User via BHIM App, are based upon the User’s decisions and are the sole responsibility of the User,” it says.
After making claims that over one crore users have downloaded the BHIM app from Google Play Store, the government is now trying to boost its actual use. The government has come out with a customer referral scheme, which promises to pay Rs10 per reference to the referrer and Rs25 for the new user for downloading and transacting from BHIM app. But this will happen only on completion of three unique transactions of Rs50 in total to any three unique customers or merchants.