Opening a bank locker: Know about Bank locker charges, bank locker rules, bank locker insurance

Things you need to know when you open a bank locker.

What to be aware of when you open a bank locker?

A woman walks into a gift shop and asks the salesman: “What can I get a man who has everything?” The salesman mulls over the problem and then answers sagely: “A bank locker.”

Just another tired after-dinner joke? Probably so, but this apocryphal exchange underlines the importance of a bank locker. Don’t we all have some critical possessions - a family heirloom, expensive jewellery, property documents or other important papers - that need safeguarding? After all, what good would a will serve if we don’t keep it safe?

But since a bank locker has to be rented, there are rules - and accompanying realities - that we should all be aware of. 

Let’s see what the bank locker rules are:

Related: 8 Reasons Why A Bank Locker Is Worth Investing In

Waiting period

Be prepared for a waiting period - as much as six months to a year - if you wish to open a locker at a bank where you don’t have an account. This is because though you can choose any branch of any bank for a locker, existing customers are given preference, especially if they bank with that particular branch. Also, following RBI orders, banks maintain a waiting list for lockers. If you are on it, track your waitlist number. It is ideal if your own bank branch offers a locker facility.

Joint application

You can apply for a locker jointly with another person - your spouse, partner, parent(s), or sibling(s). All applicants need to be present at the time of signing the mandatory agreement once the application form is filled in and handed over. Applicants must also submit their KYC documents along with photographs.

Nominee benefit

Apart from allowing joint holders, banks also allow you to name a nominee. The joint holders and the nominee can operate the locker in the ‘either-or survivor’ mode. Having a nominee enables the bank to release the locker contents to that person in the event of the holder’s unfortunate death.

Related: NBFCs And Banks: How Are They Different?

Rental charges

Fees depend on the bank and the location, as well as locker size. State Bank of India’s rents range from Rs 1,000  for a small locker at a rural branch to Rs 9,000 for a large locker at metros. In addition, customers have to pay GST.

Usually, fees for PSU banks are lower than private ones. Rent is usually charged annually and is payable in advance, though some banks may charge for a few years in advance. RBI sanctions this, though it has prohibited banks from asking applicants to open a fixed deposit account or buy insurance.

Usage frequency

You must operate the locker at least once a year, or the bank has the right to cancel its allotment even if you have paid the rent regularly. That is why it helps to open an account at a bank near your home or place of work: not only do you get a preference in locker allotment, the proximity makes all your bank work (including locker-related visits) easier.

Lost key

You can be fined Rs 1000 if you lose the key, plus bear the charge for breaking open the locker, which could be as high as Rs 5000.


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