The State Bank of India will start charging its account holders a penalty if they fail to maintain a minimum balance in their savings account from Saturday. Besides, it is now mandatory for accounts to maintain a balance of Rs 5,000 in metropolitan areas, Rs 3,000 in urban areas, Rs 2,000 in semi-urban areas and Rs 1,000 in rural areas. This is likely to affect around 31 crore depositors, according to NDTV.

The bank will use this penalty amount to cover expenses such as running operations and systems for its 250 million savings accounts. SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya had said that the fee was introduced to balance the costs incurred from managing Jan Dhan accounts. “We have 11 crore financial inclusion or Jan Dhan accounts,” she had said. “To manage such a large number, we need some charges. We considered many factors and after analysing carefully, we took this step.” The country’s biggest lender had done away with the minimum balance rule in 2012.

Apart from this, the bank had announced a slew of other charges and penalties. For metro areas, if the difference between the minimum balance and the actual amount is 50%, then SBI will charge Rs 50 plus service tax as a penalty. If the difference is anywhere between 50% and 70%, the penalty will be Rs 75, plus service tax. If the shortfall is more than 75%, the charges will be Rs 100, excluding the service tax.

For urban areas, charges will be anywhere between Rs 40 and Rs 80, excluding service tax. In semi-urban areas, the penalty will be between Rs 25 and Rs 75, plus service tax. In rural areas, the charges are between Rs 20 and Rs 50, inclusive of service tax.

The bank will continue to charge the account holders Rs 50 for carrying out more than three cash transactions in a month. Moreover, SBI will also charge an amount for NEFT/RTGS transactions, issuing cheque books and stopping payments. Annual maintenance for debit cards will be anywhere between Rs 125 and 300.