As India remains in a lockdown till May 3, a question that is popping up on everyone’s mind happens to be—how banking services will be affected?
Needless to say, banking services are considered essential and are expected to continue during the lockdown. “Core banking activities will continue to function as usual. Bank branches are operational and continue to provide services. However, banks have trimmed working hours or have staggered working hours to maintain social distancing, with most banks working from 10 am to 2 pm.”
“Nonetheless, activities that require third-party support, such as those including document collection and verification, are currently moving slowly because of the lockdown,” says Adhil Shetty, CEO, BankBazaar.
Banks are also working with limited staff, so you may have to spend more time at a bank. Also, most banks have streamlined their phone banking services and you can expect longer wait times and services being limited to emergency services like blocking a lost or stolen card. For most other services, banks are encouraging their customers to use their website or app.
In these circumstances, one needs to avoid going out. Shetty advises that as much as possible, one should try to complete all their banking requirements online. Unless absolutely essential, try to postpone activities that requires a physical visit.
“The pandemic has brought about an urgent need to revaluate how we look at all our essential services including banking. The changes happening now are not a temporary stop-gap measure but reflect the shape of things to come. Going forward, banking is going to fundamentally change to an essentially paperless model in the post-COVID world,” he adds.
The idea is to use digital alternatives to cash as much as possible to reduce ATM visits. In case you do require cash, compute how much cash you would require for the next few weeks and withdraw a larger amount so that you do not need to visit the ATM again in the next few weeks.
Apart from transferring funds, banks allow you to do a number of other tasks including applying for cheque books, issuing standing instructions, making bill payments, open or modify FDs and RDs. You can also apply for a new card or block a card through your mobile banking.
If you can postpone some activities, like applying for a loan or opening an account, you may wait till the lockdown is over.
And most importantly, even you are visiting a bank; maintain social distancing rules strictly as advised by bank officials and use precaution such as a mask and gloves. Exercise precaution. Stay Safe and healthy.