New Delhi: Customers will get SMS alerts for all transactions done through their debit or credit cards from June 30, 2011. Aimed at checking fraudulent transactions and encouraging usage of cards by customers, the Reserve Bank of India has issued guidelines to all lenders for providing SMS alerts for all card (credit as well as debit card) transactions irrespective of amount latest by June 30.

According to commercial banks, the SMS alerts will be provided to the customers free of cost. However, the banks are not making any additional investment for starting the SMS service.

Customers can call and register themselves on the customer service number of their respective banks for availing the SMS service. The phone numbers of the customers will be registered on their behalf. Presently only few banks including ICICI, HDFC, Axis, SBI and PNB banks are providing this service to their customers.

The transaction information will keep the customers alert. RBI's initiative comes amid incidents of fraudulent withdrawals at ATMs. It is important to arrest the incidents of frauds in order to encourage card based transactions in the country. This system of instant alert will ensure that no unauthorized or fraudulent withdrawals from ATMs would be possible.
Presently, the banks hold varied views over this move. At present, banks are required to alert customers on transactions above Rs 5,000 using card numbers or while making online payments. However, SMS alert is sent on the transaction of more than Rs 250. ICICI bank provides alert service on the transaction of more than Rs 400.

However, after RBI’s guideline, the banks will have to alert their customers on all the transactions irrespective of the amount. However, banks are of opinion to provide the service on transactions of more than Rs 100.