Open ‘Small Accounts’ sans Required Documents, RBI tells Banks

Don’t have an address or identity proof? You can still open a bank account. In a bid to increase access to banking services, the RBI has advised banks to open ‘small accounts’ even without asking for the mandatory documents. RBI Deputy Governor R Gandhi said recently that a small account can be opened by merely filling up a form, signing it before a bank officer, and submitting a self-attested photograph certified by the bank officer. At present, over 50 per cent of Indians have no access to formal banking channels.

Limited features

However, the leeway given to opening of such small accounts comes with some restrictions. “The small accounts will have limitations on credit/debit balances; will be available only at core banking solution-enabled branches; no foreign remittances will be permitted; will be available only for 12 months — further extension on application for officially valid document; the aggregate of all credits in a financial year cannot exceed ?1 lakh; the aggregate of all withdrawals and transfers in a month cannot exceed ?10,000; and the balance at any point in time should not exceed ?50,000,” Gandhi said.

Addressing the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Hyderabad, Gandhi mentioned the challenges faced by the banking regulator in promoting financial inclusion under the current Know-Your-Customer (KYC) framework. Many of the financially excluded may not have proper official documents, especially address as in the case of migrants, he said. 

Business Line, New Delhi, 28-05-2014

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