The Reserve Bank of India on Thursday allowed banks to raise charges on using ATM machines to Rs 21 per transaction.

In a notification, the central bank said the maximum charges will be revised from Rs 20 per transaction. The new charges will be effective from January 1, 2022.

According to the RBI, the revised charges will compensate banks for higher interchange fee which a merchant bank pays to the card-issuing bank each time a customer swipes their credit or debit card.

In its notification, the central bank said interchange fee per financial transaction will be raised to Rs 17 from Rs 15. In case of non-financial transactions, the interchange fee will be revised to Rs 6 from Rs 5 currently. This will be applicable from August 1, 2021.

Customers are still allowed five free transactions, including financial and non-financial ones on a monthly basis from their own bank ATMs. They are also eligible for three free transactions from other bank ATMs in metro centres and five in non-metro centres.

Congress leader Sachin Sawant criticised the Narendra Modi government for the hike in fee structure. “Time is not far off when Modi government will impose taxes for having a glimpse at bank, looking at money, touching money,” he tweeted.

The central bank said the last change in interchange fee structure for ATM transactions was in August 2012. The new changes were cleared on the basis of the recommendations of a committee which was formed in June 2019 to study the ATM charges and interchange fees.