Savings accounts are one of the simplest and the most widely availed services offered by banks. The government of India made it simpler for people to open savings accounts through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY) scheme which is the biggest financial inclusion scheme of the world till date. But savings accounts opened through it had certain limitations regarding the facilities provided and features of the bank account. However, when you want to open a bank account on your own, you need to ask a few questions before you choose a bank and a savings product in order to avail maximum facilities and features.
- What savings account options are available to you?
It is very important to know beforehand that what you are actually looking for. There are a range of savings account options offered by various banks that have exclusive features of their own. Regular or basic savings accounts come with basic features and if the customer wants to avail additional services, he has to pay for those services.
Privilege accounts come with a number of features like international debit cards, accidental coverage, unlimited transactions through ATMs, higher withdrawal limits, a dedicated relationship manager, etc. Choose the account that would meet all your requirements. For example- IndusInd Bank offers Easy Savings Bank account as well as Indus Exclusive Savings account to cater to the requirements of both types of customers.
- What is the minimum balance requirement for the account?
Before getting the account opened, the applicant should check whether the account to be opened is a zero-balance account or a minimum amount of money has to be maintained in the account. The bank charges a fine on an account if the money deposited in the account falls below the minimum requirement. Ensure that the account you open is a zero-balance account or has low minimum balance requirement if you are not confident of maintaining a certain amount of funds in it. IDFC Bank and IndusInd Bank open savings accounts at zero balance.
- What is the interest rate offered by the bank?
Banks in India offer interests at a minimum rate of 3.5% on savings accounts. However, many banks offer interests at a rate of up to 7% on savings account. If your sole motive is to earn high interests, you should opt for savings accounts opened by such banks. DBS, IndusInd Bank and RBL offer around 7% interest rates on most of its savings account options.
- Does the bank offer lockers with your savings account?
Many banks offer lockers with savings accounts at nominal charges. In case you want a place to keep your documents and other valuables safe, you can opt for that savings account which offers lockers at low or no annual fee. Many banks offer lockers for free with privilege savings accounts to their customers. Yes Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank offer locker facilities at low rates. ICICI Bank offers 40% discount on annual locker rentals for its Premium savings account holders.
- How easy would it be to avail credit from the bank?
Many banks offer loans at lower rate of interests to people who already have a relationship with the bank. In case you plan to take a loan from the bank in near future, look out for the bank that offers loans at lower rate of interests to its existing customers. ICICI Bank offers loans to its existing customers at relatively lower rates of interest.
- What are the types of debit and credit cards provided with the account?
Banks offer different debit and credit cards with different type of account. These cards work mostly on Visa or MasterCard platforms. Classic cards are offered with basic savings accounts and international signature debit and credit cards are offered with premium accounts. RuPay Debit cards are provided by most banks with basic savings accounts and accounts opened through PMJDY. Choose the account that gives you the opportunity to select a card as per your choice. IDFC Bank offers Visa Signature debit cards for lifetime with all savings account types.
Read more about How Is RuPay Card Different From MasterCard And Visa?
- What type of conveniences should you look for with your savings account?
You should also ensure that the bank where you open your savings account is convenient for you to visit. Here convenience implies the distance of the branch from your home, services offered to you in the bank, behaviour of employees in the bank, the effective time you have to spend in the bank, etc.
- What online services does the bank provide?
You should also ensure that the bank where you open your savings account is convenient for you to visit. Here convenience implies the distance of the branch or an ATM from your home or workplace, services offered to you in the bank, behaviour of employees in the bank, the effective time you have to spend in the bank, etc. HDFC Bank allows its customers to access their accounts online through internet banking, mobile banking, HDFC Bank app, PayZapp payment gateway, etc. for fund transfer and payments.
Read more about Top Zero Balance Savings Accounts in 2017 for Indian Citizens
- Does the bank charge fee for transactions done through the savings account?
The applicant should check whether the bank charges fee on transactions done online and offline. Many banks do not levy fee on withdrawals and transactions done at ATMs every month. You should choose a bank that offers unlimited transactions at all ATMs every month and does not charge on online transactions. All domestic as well as international fund transfer charges are free in case of DBS Bank’s Savings Power Plus Account.
- Are there any reward programs and exclusive deals offered with the account?
Many banks offer reward points when transactions are carried out digitally through debit or credit cards, internet banking or via the mobile app. These points can be redeemed in the form of cash discounts or used to avail exclusive offers. Many banks also offer exclusive deals to customers who spend a certain amount of money through digital channels. Deutsche Bank Express Rewards program allows customers to earn points and redeem them directly for cash in their savings account.
For easy comparison between various savings products, visit online marketplaces like Paisabazaar.com.