RBI permits minors of over 10 to operate their own bank accounts

Giving a boost to 'small savers' (pun intended), the Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday told commercial banks that minors above the age of 10 years can open and independently operate savings bank accounts and use related facilities like ATMs and chequebooks.

RBI permits minors of over 10 to operate their own bank accountsSo far, minors could only open fixed deposits and savings bank accounts under guardianship of their mother. The RBI said in its new guidelines that allowing minors to operate bank accounts independently would promote financial inclusion and bring uniformity in opening of such accounts in banks.

The RBI said that all minors can now open a savings / fixed / recurring bank deposit account through either their natural guardian or a legally appointed guardian. But those who have attained 10 years of age would be allowed to open and operate savings bank accounts independently.

"Banks may, however, keeping in view their risk management systems, fix limits in terms of age and amount up to which minors may be allowed to operate the deposit accounts independently," the RBI said.

Further, the banks can also decide on the minimum documents which are required for opening of accounts by minors.

"Banks are free to offer additional banking facilities like Internet banking, ATM / debit card, cheque book facility, etc, subject to the safeguards that minor accounts are not allowed to be overdrawn and that these always remain in credit," the RBI said.

On attaining majority, the minor would be required to confirm the balance in his / her account.

If the account was operated by the natural/legal guardian, fresh operating instructions and specimen signature of the minor should be obtained and kept on record for all operational purposes, the RBI said.