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Banks may need to seek customer consent for receiving deposits, Centre consulting RBI: report

The Central government has written to the RBI seeking its views on a way to enable bank customers to have control over deposits made into their accounts; banks may need to seek customer consent before allowing an incoming transfer to accounts. This was reported by Business Standard.

The Finance ministry has reportedly said that banks will need to notify customers when someone tries to deposit money in their accounts, customers will then have to either accept or reject the transfer request. This may be a paid service, and hence may not be open to all customers. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had indicated of such a service in July:

Government will initiate steps to empower account holders to remedy the current situation in which they do not have control over deposit of cash by others in their accounts.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget Speech in July

Currently, a recipient’s approval/consent is not required for online transfer via NEFT, IMPS, RTGS. As long as the sender has the receiver’s account number, IFSC code, he can make transfers. Even under UPI, all that’s necessary is the receiver’s Virtual Payment Address (VPA), and there can be multiple VPAs linked to a single bank account.

The development comes in response to the suspicious deposits made to 37 million Jan-Dhan accounts in the weeks following demonetisation in November 2016. Cash totaling Rs 422 billion was deposited in 37.4 million such accounts between November 8, 2016 and December 30, 2016. In September 2018, the government said it found 60% of those deposits “suspicious” and launched a probe into it. At the time, the CBDT had begun matching the deposits made to the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), or Jan-Dhan accounts, with the profiles of the depositors.

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