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Should you opt for bank lockers? Know how your jewelry, papers, money are kept in banks and what SBI, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, BoB charge
Many banks like SBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Kotak Mahindra Bank and many more offer bank lockers to every individual who have high-valued tangible assets.
Everyone wants to make sure that their important documents, money and jewelries are safe and secured. It’s among top priorities for almost every individual. In such situations, many banks also offer customers lockers guaranteeing a safety for your financial credentials. Bank lockers are boxes which are in an iron-gated room with well-equipped alarm systems, electronic surveillance systems and security guards. There are two people who own the locker at the time of opening, firstly you and your bank. Many banks like SBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Kotak Mahindra Bank offer this option to every individual who have high-valued tangible assets. However, where a bank locker does help a citizen to secure their belongings, it also has its own drawbacks for both banks and customers.
Let’s understand how a bank locker is operated.
A bank locker can be hired by any individual, residents, companies, associations, clubs, trusts and institutions. These lockers have an insurance during the time of fire, theft etc. Hence, if let’s suppose there is a robbery, fire at your home, there is no chance you can recover the lost valuables. But here the advantage is that, you can have an insurance over your belongings with bank.
There are charges for having a bank locker, and it varies from bank to bank. It’s like a rent you pay to banks for owning a locker, and it is cost effective and depends on the size. One can open a locker with any scheduled commercial bank (SCB) and appoint a nominee either spouse, family members or children in your absence to operate it.
The main idea of having a locker is that, a total privacy is given and banks themselves do not interfere to how much valuables you are keeping. And no one can open the locker, without your consent, and banks make sure such procedures are followed.
These safe lockers are designed by banks as per RBI directed guidelines.
If your valuable are lost due to bank fault like poor locker condition, weak security system, poor maintenance - then here the power lies in your hand, bank are needed to pay you for your loss.
Firstly, the bank is not liable for the loss of valuable in your locker due to theft, robbery, etc. Also, because they do not check what you keep, it creates a gloomy picture that you will be compensated to exactly what you have lost. Banks have no idea about actual loss here!
Even if you are compensated for your loss because of insurance, not 100% will not be recovered.
Further, a bank can open your locker, if you have defaulted on back-to-back rent payment. The bank is the owner of a locker, you are a renter here and hence, you have to pay them the charges on specified time. If you fail to do so, well banks are in the position to break-open your locker.
Generally, a bank can break-open the lockers within six months from the date rent became overdue and by sending due notices as per bank’s norms. Also for damage to the locker during break-in, a bank will charge you for that as well.
In case if you have not provided the information of a nominee. In such cases, banks will give access to their legal heir(s) / legal representative.
Sadly, there are also charges for losing your key.
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HDFC Bank - Locker rates vary based on location of branch and locker sizes. Annual Rent for Lockers have been revised. Request you to visit locker branch for more details. Locker rent is charged annually and rent is payable in advance. Lockers are to be surrendered only basis a written request from the Customer (in person) duly signed by all Locker holders. Any exceptions will be handled on a case-to-case basis. If the locker is surrendered in the middle of the financial year, rent collected for the remaining months will NOT be refunded to the customer.
SBI - In metro and urban areas, rent for small size locker is at Rs 1,100 plus service tax, while for medium and large the charges are at Rs 2,800 and Rs 6,000. In semi-urban & rural - a small size locker is charged at Rs 800, whereas the medium and large size are chargeable at Rs 1,800 and Rs 5000 plus service tax.
In case of loss of key from your end, then a service charge of Rs 750 will be charged by SBI. There is also one-time locker registration charge of Rs 500. Further, you can only visit your locker only 12 times a year.
Axis Bank - Here, a small size locker is priced at Rs 3,500, followed by medium locker at Rs 7,500, large locker at Rs 13,500 and extra large locker at Rs 16,200 in metro/urban branch.
In semi-urban branch, the charges are Rs 1,700 in small locker, Rs 2,500 in medium locker, Rs 5,500 in large locker and Rs 11,000 in extra large locker. In rural branch, the charges are Rs 1,500 in small locker, Rs 2,200 in medium locker, Rs 5,000 in large locker and Rs 10,000 in extra large locker.
Bank of Baroda - Here lockers are categorised in alphabetical class and is set lowest at Rs 900 and maximum up to Rs 6,700. When annual locker rent is up to Rs 3,000 - then payment involves Rs 200 per month or part thereof for first -3- months and Rs 50 per month thereafter. Above Rs 3,000 annual rental includes Rs 500 per month or part thereof for first -3- months and Rs 100 per month thereafter.
Interestingly, there are also charges for operation over 12 times a year. After 12 visit in a year, then you will be charged Rs 100 per occasion.
Hence, if you are confused in having a bank locker have an understanding how banks operate your valuables. If you do not feel comfortable in the above mentioned charges, then it always best to safeguard your belongings at home. However, if paid rent every month, and followed terms and conditions you will be secured, considering a bank has to maintain high-level securities in its business. But the risk must be borne by you!
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