BEST SAVINGS ACCOUNTSeveral of you may have wondered: Which Indian Bank offers the best savings account? I have had savings account in nearly 7 Indian Banks - State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Baroda (BOB), Central Bank of India, Bank of India, and two other local cooperative banks. I found out about three other banks - ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Citi Bank - from my acquaintances and below I would like to share my knowledge and opinion with you: why i think SBI is one of the best banks to open your savings account. If you are considering opening multiple accounts- then the next best banks to consider are maybe HDFC, ICICI. HDFC is also a pretty good bank.

What to look for before opening a savings account ?
There are several features you might want to have when you open a savings account.
  1. Online Banking or Internet Banking + ATM card - so that you can do most of your transactions without having to visit the branch physically.
  2. Good customer service.
  3. Good interest rates and minimum charges - like low minimum monthly balance etc.
  4. Advanced services like Foreign exchange, linking your savings account with Demat account, etc.
The order in which the above factors are important can vary from person to person. For example if you have a large deposits to make in your savings account, then having a good interest rate becomes perhaps the most important factor. Usually, I have observed that Bank of Baroda gives good interest rates, although interest rates from other banks like SBI, etc. are close - withing +-0.5%. Interest rates keep changing and so you will have to consult the respective banks website to find the latest interest rates. However, I do not count Bank of Baroda as best bank because their online banking system is horrible. Also remember that local cooperative banks usually offer higher interest rates, but cooperative banks are more prone to the risk of failures.

SBI Savings AccountWhy is SBI Savings account the best savings account?
Here is a quick list of things which I think make SBI the best bank, or rather the savings account offered by SBI the best savings account.
  1. Very good online banking system of SBI. You can do all transactions - check balance, transfer money to your account in other banks, transfer money to anyone's account in SBI, make online fixed deposits, make recurring deposits online, order checks, demand drafts - virtually you can do everything online. Just remember to fill the online banking form when you open your account and ask them to give you "Transaction Rights". Also remember to keep you password very safe and private in order to avoid misuse. Below is a picture of SBI Internat Banking or SBI Online Banking that you see after logging in.SBI Internet Banking
  2. Lots of SBI ATMs: SBI has lots of ATMs - perhaps the most number of ATMs for a single bank in India? I dont know the number. In any case you can always withdraw money from any ATM for a fee of around 20 to 25 rupees in case of emergency.
  3. SBI International Debit Card Visa MasterCardSBI International Debit Card: SBI comes with a default Maestro debit card. But you can apply for an international VISA or MasterCard Debit card if your average balance is Rs. 50,000. I have not used this facility yet, but I plan to apply soon. Visa and MasterCard debit cards can be used worldwide, just like a credit card.
  4. Customer Service of SBI: This i wont comment a lot about. Although I have usually had good experience about customer service in SBI, it can vary from branch to branch depending on lot of factors like work load in that branch etc.
  5. Minimum Balance requirement for SBI: The minimum balance required in your SBI Savings account is Rs. 1000/- if you have a check book and Rs. 500/- if you dont have a check book. My balance had fallen below the minimum balance on a couple of occassions but i realised they dont immediately impose a fine or anything. I have not discovered any hidden charges yet.
  6. SBI Demat Account, SBI Forex Services: The Demat Account of SBI is 'integrated' with your savings account and hence you can manage both after just one log in. Demat Account with SBI is especially useful if you have an online trading account with SBICAP Securities. Read my other posts on SBICAP Securities in this blog. I had just one experience with Forex Service - I had to get a check in US dollars. All I can say is I was satisfied, but remember actual customer service depends on the particular branch you are dealing with.
  7. SBI Remittance : SBI Remit to India Service or SBI GLobal Link Service - If you are in the US- it is very easy to send money to India using SBI remittance. You can send money for free and with competitive foreign exchange rates. Click on SBI Forex rates to know the latest rates.
If you have had any good or bad experience with SBI, please feel free to share it in a comment.

Feb 1, 2009


Anonymous March 12, 2009 at 10:01 AM  

I am originally from India but now a US citizen. Do you know if I can open a normal savings account or do I have to open a NRI type of account?

Anonymous April 1, 2009 at 6:31 AM  

If you have alrady SB account with SBI India directly download NRI application form from SBI site and scanned(Signed) copies you need to send it to your Branch email id , They will give instructions , you can open SBI NRI account in overseas Branches also , But they are asking too many forms for Proof of evidence , At some Point you need to visit the bank directly , Go ahed.

sree July 21, 2009 at 9:07 AM  

i am planning to open a new savings account, i need to know about the services and facilities, documents required, minimum balance required,all necessary details about SBI's Savings Account

Investo Blog July 21, 2009 at 9:29 AM  


I was asked the following documents for opening a new savings account
1. Three photographs (one for the passbook).
2. Identity card (e.g. PAN CARD, Voters ID, etc.)
3. Address Proof (e.g. Light Bill, Ration Card, other Bank account passbook etc.)

sree July 21, 2009 at 1:54 PM  

what all services i will get after opening a savings account in SBI,

Naimesh June 26, 2010 at 11:41 AM  

My son having saving A/C. In SBI and he want to go to overseas for higher education/studes can he use his "ATM Debit card" at there ?? Pls. Give Me guide line for the same. what should he has to do for this???

Anonymous July 27, 2010 at 9:14 PM  

sir i am a minor, i want to know the minimum balance for me and i am 5 months behind to complete 18 years of age.i need to know whether if i open an account its nil balance for me

Anonymous September 13, 2010 at 10:56 AM  

I have SBI account, my minimum balance fallen below 1,000. So, they deducted Rs. 225 in the next month itself. So, be careful with SBI.

Anonymous October 18, 2010 at 9:44 PM  

I had Rs.1328 in my account in the month of august, the bank deducted 200 from that on 3rd of September. Isn't the minimum balance 1000??

Anonymous November 8, 2010 at 6:19 PM  

attn Mr Naimesh: your son needs to apply for an international card. visit your branch for the details.

rahul February 12, 2011 at 9:44 PM  

how much minimum balance should be there in saving account of state bank of india ,on having chq book & atm card

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