Penalty Charges on failed transactions due to insufficient balance at other banks ATM

Imagine this situation. You are in urgent need of cash and looking around for your bank ATM, but you are not able to locate one, but you can see other banks ATM and then finally you give up and want to withdraw the cash from other banks ATM knowing that its FREE to withdraw the money from other banks ATM (atleast for 3-5 times in a month).

atm decline charges for failed transactions

(Image Source)

Then, You go to other bank ATM and withdraw Rs 5,000, but you see the message on screen “Insufficient Balance, transaction Failed” only to realize that in a hurry, you have punched in an extra ZERO and have tried to withdraw Rs 50,000. You then ignore this minor mistake thinking that it means nothing and then finally you withdraw Rs 5,000 and leave the ATM happily!.

Howevcer, By the end of month – when you are looking at your bank statement, you are in horror to see that there is some Rs 28 debited from your account as ATM decline charges and you are like – “What the hell is that” ? You talk to customer care and come to know that there is some “ATM decline Charges due to insufficient balance”, you are not happy as you were not aware about it and customer care just has one answer – “Its as per RBI guidelines” !

ATM Decline Charges due to Insufficient Funds

Almost all the banks charge you a penalty charge if your transaction at other banks ATM is declined due to insufficient fund. So if you have an ICICI bank account and you are withdrawing money from HDFC or SBI ATM and if the transaction fails due to insufficient balance or less bank notes inside the ATM, the transaction will fail and you will be charged! .

Here is a real life incident which happened with my Father, when back home, he tried to take out some money from SBI bank ATM (the account is with ICICI bank) and he was not that sure of the exact balance and he tried to take out the money 3 times in a row. We only realized about this charge when I was looking at the bank statement at the end of the month.


2 07/02/2011  ATM DECLINE CHG/08-JAN-11/2713 DR INR 28.00
3 07/02/2011  ATM DECLINE CHG/08-JAN-11/2713 DR INR 28.00
4 07/02/2011  ATM DECLINE CHG/08-JAN-11/2713 DR INR 28.00


How is this ATM decline charge calculated ?
Decline charges are the base charges + service tax ! . Each bank is free to define the penalty charge. So incase of ICICI Bank (and other several banks), the penalty charges are Rs 25 per failed transaction. So when you add service tax, the final figure is Rs 28 (approx). Here are some of the bank penalty charges I found out on their websites.

ATM decline charges for insufficient balance

ATM decline charges when there are insufficient notes in the ATM

If its customer mistake, one can still understand the penalty charges, but what do you say about charges, when your transaction is declined because the bank mistake ! , like if notes in the ATM are not sufficient? What if you are trying to withdraw Rs 5,000 but there are just Rs 100 notes in the ATM (Rs 500 are over) and the transaction failed (maximum 40 notes at a time is allowed) and you are charged for the failed transaction in other bank ATM ?

Here is one incident !

Dear Sir, I the undersigned wish to inform you that i am having saving account no. ******84712 with State Bank of India, Vadgaon Branch, Pune. When I was having balance of Rs.5106.19 (9th January 2014) in my account I went to SBI ATM at laxmi road, Pune but due to technical reason it was not in working position. So I went to opposite Bank of India, Laxmi Road ATM. When I tried to withdraw Rs.3300/- from that ATM it declined saying insufficient balance when I checked with security guard there he informed me that there are only 500 rs. notes available so you withdraw in multiples of 500 only.

So I withdrew Rs.3500/- (ATM 40091 BOI LAXMI ROAD II PUNE MHIN). When i checked today my account it is showing TO TRANSFER INSUF BAL ATM DECLINE CHARGE – ****** Transfer to ******14906 Rs.17/-. Will you please explain me the reason behind this charges. (Source)

Here is one more experience you should read where bank had charged a customer for no mistake !

My friend once had a bad experience with SBI credit card. During some emergency, using his SBI Credit card he wanted to withdraw Rs.10000 from an SBI ATM. He entered Rs.10000 but the ATM refused to dispense that amount and gave a message that it could dispense only 40 notes at a time. Unfortunately only Rs.100 were present in the ATM (This point was not mentioned any where). So, he had to use his card thrice to get the required amount (Rs. 4000 X 2 times and Rs.2000 X 1). After he got his credit card statement, we were surprised to see that he was charged, cash withdrawal charges – 3 times (Rs.250 X 3 = Rs.750). Had the ATM been filled with Rs.1000 notes, the transaction would have been only one and my friend could have saved Rs.500. Is this ethical to charge the customers for such things? (Source)

Have you been charged for Failed ATM transaction due to insufficient balance at some other bank ATM ? Do you feel its justified ?

91 CommentsAdd Comment

  1. Sam

    I have received this message on my statement but I didn’t even go to an ATM to receive this message. What does this mean? Was someone trying to take out money from my account from an ATM? HELP

Leave a Comment