Don’t Harass Pensioners: Government Tells Banks
Against the backdrop of increasing complaints from pensioners, mainly government employees, of being harassed by banks, the government has directed banks not to insist personal presence to submit life certificates for continuation of pension. The move comes after pensioners’ associations raised the issue of difficulties experienced by pensioners for submission of life certificate at authorised banks. Some bank branches were insisting on personal appearance of pensioners for submission of life certificate along with pension payment orders (PPOs).
 
The government has also informed banks about the scheme for pensioners to prove their existence through Aadhaar-based authentication of life certificate which has been started as part of the ‘Digital India’ mission. All pensioners are required to give proof of their existence annually before the pension disbursing bank. The life certificate may be signed by an officer of the public sector bank if a pensioner is drawing pension through a public sector bank.
 

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Bank in Your Pocket: ICICI Launches Mobile-based Product
ICICI Bank launched a mobile phone-based product that offers a slew of new-age services. The new integrated mobile banking service is called ‘Pockets’. ICICI Bank’s managing director and chief executive, Chanda Kochhar, claimed that this is the country’s first digital bank on a mobile phone.
‘Pockets’ integrates a digital wallet, a physical pre-paid card and a basic savings bank account.
 
Almost 50% of all retail transactions at ICICI Bank are being carried out on the mobile and Internet platforms, Ms Kochhar said. People are using mobiles in a big way to access Internet. One can fund the e-wallet from any bank account in the country and start transacting immediately. E-wallet users can pay bills, recharge mobiles, book movie tickets, order food, send physical and e-gifts, split and share expenses with friends.
 

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Cards: Banks May Lower Interest on Credit Card Dues
Banks may lower the interest charges on credit card outstandings. Customers often have to fork out hefty amounts for failing to pay on time. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said, in a report, that interest rates charged on credit card overdue were inordinately high and not aligned with products of similar risk profiles.
 
“There should be reasonableness of such charges. Banks to revisit the charges levied to ensure reasonableness, fairness and transparency in pricing. IBA to issue detailed operational guidelines to banks in this regard,” said RBI, in the Annual Report on Banking Ombudsman 2013-14.

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