State Bank of India
Screenshot of Personal Banking Home Page State Bank of India

Current accounts are not only the main base for a banking relationship in Europe and the Americas but also on the Indian Subcontinent. The importance of a current account stretches further than just the ability to transact. It also helps customers form an internal relationship with the bank. This is important for internal record-keeping and the ability for banks to segment their clients. State Bank of India Current Accounts provides customers with a number of options. This review takes an in-depth look at these accounts and how they measure up to the some of the best globally.

We recently did a review on the current accounts offered by Citibank.

About State Bank of India

State Bank of India
Screenshot of State Bank of India Home Page

The bank enjoys a rich history of over 200 years and underwent significant changes to be where it is today. Founded in Calcutta, the bank was originally known as the Bank of Calcutta. Expansions into other parts of India meant some changes, and the name was just one of them. Mergers provided the bank with the capital and assets it needed to grow.

In the fifties, Independent India entered the first Five-Year Plan and this allowed the bank to expand. Rural areas were the target, as these areas were in critical need of financial assistance. The bank enjoys a strong position in India and its closest competitor only holds a fourth of the assets that State Bank of India holds.

Another bank that surprises outside of Europe and the Americas, is National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Add-On Products to Current Accounts

Currents accounts provide customers with a platform to perform their transactions, whether incoming or outgoing. It also provides them with access to some additional features that make their lives a lot simpler.

Debit Cards

These cards are fantastic for those who want to more than just receive their funds and withdraw inside a bank from a cashier. The debit card allows customers to access their funds from any ATM. It also affords them the opportunity to use the card for payments at merchants and online. Many cards also provide some added benefits such as travel insurance.

Online and Mobile Banking

One of the marvels of modern banking is the opportunity to use technology for everyday transactions. Online banking provides customers with many options and some banks even allow customers to open their accounts online.

Mobile banking is ideal for customers on the go. It allows customers to stay on top of their banking simply by using an app on their phone.

Overdraft Facilities

This is the ideal facility for customers who find themselves in a cash flow constraints during the month. The facility is loaded on a current account and allows customers to go into an authorized negative balance, up to the allowed limit.  This facility is perfect for those who want to avoid penalty fees for debits returned or honored on behalf of the client, and penalty interest.

Check Book

Although this product was phased out by many banks across the world, there are still some that provide customers with access to these. A check book allows customers to make payment from their account provided that there are funds in it. The facility is slow and cumbersome and open to fraud, therefore, the reason it is slowly being phased out.

SMS Notifications

As a security feature, many banks across the world introduce an SMS facility where transactions over a certain amount go through to the cell phone. With this facility, customers can easily identify whether there is fraudulent activity on their accounts. They will also immediately know whether their cards or internet banking has been compromised.

Loyalty Programs and Rewards

Although this is not offered by every bank, there are many who take care of their current account customers. Rewards programs are the perfect way to improve customer loyalty and ensure that they are entrenched with the bank. These rewards programs also need to make financial sense, as many of these programs carry a monthly or annual charge. The benefit, therefore, has to outweigh the cost.

International Payments

Customers who need to make international payments on a regular basis often need to sign up for a current account first. The banks usually have their set fees on these transactions, however, high net worth clients or those who have a high transaction rate may have the opportunity to negotiate fees directly with the bank’s treasury department.

State Bank of India Current Accounts Product Offerings

Screenshot of Current Account Features State Bank of India

The bank is known for its work in the rural and agricultural parts of India. In these parts, the flash and pomp of a current account don't carry much weight and more effort goes into the savings accounts and loan products. With a customer base that prefers simplicity yet variety, current accounts can become a little cumbersome. However, there are those who would like a current account purely because of the nature of the account and the other benefits that come along with it.

Professionals and those who are climbing the career ladder are just two of the types of people who may request this type of account. State Bank of India obliged the request and now offer a current account that provides the right add-ons to suit a number of needs.

Current Account Features

This account is packed with some of the best features to ensure that the single option manages to satisfy a whole load of needs. Furthermore, the account also provides customers with access to personal accident insurance and premium internet banking.

  • Customers have access to standing instructions.
  • There is also a low minimum balance requirement.
  • Furthermore, customers can apply for an overdraft facility should they have a good credit history.
  • The ATM card is free for the first year, and the charge only kicks in from year 2.
  • Customers are also not limited to the number of payments or withdrawals on the account.
  • The account doesn’t pay interest on deposits.
  • All branches are open to customers, which means they can transfer their accounts with ease.
  • The account carries an account maintenance fee.
  • There is also a nomination facility available.
  • Know  Your Customer guidelines apply on this account.
  • Finally, a multicity cheque facility is available.

Although simple, these accounts don’t want for anything else to provide customers with all their banking needs.

A bank that did quite well with their current account range is Bank of Ireland.

What We Like About State Bank of India Current Accounts

The versatility of this bank never ceases to amaze us and with the current account on offer, customers are not at want for anything else. It is simple and easy to use, while at the same time it provides all the add-on facilities a customer may need.

Another aspect we enjoy about the account is that customers can make as many transactions as they need to during the life of the account. This means they can swipe or make payments numerous times per month without capping. Also, there are no annual card fees in the first year which allows the account to settle nicely before charges are levied.

Finally, the accounts are convenient to use, as customers have access to ATM cards, mobile and internet banking, and also numerous branches in the country. The bank is easily accessible even to those situated in the rural areas.

What We Don’t Like About State Bank of India Current Accounts

Although many of the products at the bank thrilled us, the current account section deserves another look. The one-size-fits-all approach may work for many, but there are those who prefer to have a little distinction when it comes to their banking. Accounts that carry a bit of prestige go a long way to ensure that customers from all walks of life feel that they’re not just another account number on the bank’s books.

Another aspect that we’re a little concerned about, is that there are no pricing schedules on the accounts. This could make it tough for customers to decide which financial institution to go with. Although State Bank of India has the biggest asset holding in the country, the right amount of competition might just eat a little piece of the bank’s pie.

Critical Reviews Rating State Bank of India Current Accounts – 5 of 10

A brilliant account that provides a number of great services to customers sometimes isn’t enough. Especially because we measure these accounts on a global platform. Customers often want a bit of variety. They don’t need thousands of options to choose from, but each customer wants to know that they’re special and that their needs are provided for. By just offering one current account, the bank hardly allows customers to feel this. There are quite a few boxes we can't tick. Thus, we had to shave a few points off.

We’re also pretty strict on transparency and when it’s hard to determine whether the pricing is in line, we worry on behalf of the customers. Sure the card is free for the first years and there are unlimited transactions, but what does it cost? This is one product we would like State Bank of India to go back to the drawing board for.

We recently did a review on the current account options offered by Standard Bank.