The RBI on Tuesday asked banks to charge customers for transaction SMS alerts on the basis of usage, instead of imposing a fixed fee, to ensure equity and be reasonable.

“Banks are advised to leverage the technology available with them and the telecom service providers to ensure that such (SMS) charges are levied on all customers on actual usage basis,” the Reserve Bank of India said in its Second Quarter Review of Monetary Policy 2013-14.

It said fees based on actual usage are necessary to ensure reasonableness and equity in charges levied by banks.

In March 2011, the RBI had set guidelines for banks to send online alerts to customers for all types of transactions, irrespective of the amount. However, the central bank had not issued rules on charging customers for these alerts.

Earlier in the year, State Bank of India imposed an annual charge of Rs 60 for SMS alerts, a step followed by lenders such as Canara Bank.

Other PSU banks, including Punjab National Bank, State Bank of Patiala, IDBI and Vijaya Bank, have also been levying a fee for SMS alerts.

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