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Every bank locker comes with two keys but you get only one. (Mint)
Every bank locker comes with two keys but you get only one. (Mint)

Are bank lockers safe? What are the charges you pay for keeping one

  • Bank lockers are considered to be the safest place to store valuable jewellery, important documents and other valuables
  • Supreme Court has asked RBI to lay down norms for banks' locker facility management in 6 months

Most of us like to keep our valuables in bank lockers rather than at home. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in 2017 that banks would not be liable to compensate you if the contents of your locker are stolen or damaged due to a natural calamity. Holding that banks cannot wash off their hands towards their customers for the operation of lockers, the Supreme Court has directed RBI to lay down regulations within six months mandating the steps to be taken by banks with respect to locker facility management. The judgment came on an appeal filed by Kolkata native Amitabha Dasgupta against an order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

What did the Supreme Court say?

The apex court said that a customer is completely at the mercy of the bank, which is the more resourceful party, for the protection of their assets. "In such a situation, the banks cannot wash off their hands and claim that they bear no liability towards their customers for the operation of the locker," it said.

“Such actions of the banks would not only violate the relevant provisions of the Consumer Protection Act but also damage investor confidence and harm our reputation as an emerging economy," the apex court said.

Also Read: How to make India’s bad bank workable

Are bank lockers safe?

Bank lockers are considered to be the safest place to store valuable jewellery, important documents, certificates or the things precious to you. Both the public and private sector banks offer locker facility to individuals for annual charges of Rs1,000 to Rs10,000 depending upon the size you opt for. These are supposed to be safer than a home with all the multiple layers of securities and surveillance they provide.

Bank locker charges

Renting a bank locker depends on its size and the bank branch you opt for. For example, the State Bank of India (SBI) charges 1,500 plus GST annually for a small-sized locker (125x175x492cm) in urban and metro areas, whereas in rural areas the same locker costs 1,000 plus GST. An extra-large locker at SBI can cost you as much as 12,000 plus GST every year.

You are also required to pay one-time registration charges, depending on the size of the locker. SBI imposes a one-time locker registration charge of 500 plus GST for small and medium lockers while for large and extra-large lockers, you have to pay 1,000 plus GST.

Bank locker key

When an individual opens a bank locker, they need to know that there are two keys for their locker. One key will be given to the individual who opens the bank locker and the other will be with the bank. It is very important to be careful with the key and not lose it. So what should you do if you lose your locker keys? You will be penalized and a fee is charged for the duplicate key or change of locker.

You cannot move your bank locker from one branch to another. You will have to surrender it and open a new one if you wish to move it.

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