The Reserve Bank on Tuesday asked banks not to levy penalties on customers who don't maintain a minimum balance in any inoperative account as part of a consumer protection initiative.
"It is advised that henceforth banks are not permitted to levy penal charges for non-maintenance of minimum balances in any inoperative account," RBI said in a notification.
Several banks, including the State Bank of India, do not levy any charge if the minimum balance is not maintained in an inoperative savings account.
The RBI directed banks in 2012 not to charge customers for non-operation or activation of basic savings bank deposit accounts.
For operative accounts, customers of ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank are charged Rs 750 per quarter if they don't maintain a minimum average quarterly balance of Rs 10,000 in urban centres and Rs 5,000 in semi-urban areas.
In the first bi-monthly monetary policy statement for 2014-15 released last month, the RBI had said banks should also not take undue advantage of customer difficulty or inattention.
"Instead of levying penal charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance in ordinary savings bank accounts, banks should limit services available on such accounts to those available to basic savings bank deposit accounts and restore the services when the balances improve to the minimum required level," it said.