InstaAlert service Charges: HDFC Bank revises fee on one of its most used services with effect from Jan 1

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“From 1st Jan’22, we’ve revised charges for InstaAlert services via Email and SMS,” stated a flash on HDFC Bank’s website.

According to the HDFC Bank website, “If you were paying Rs. 3 per quarter for InstaAlert SMS service, now you will pay only 20 paise + GST per SMS. The email alert will continue to remain free.”

HDFC Bank customers can use the bank’s InstaAlerts service to keep track of all their financial and non-financial transactions that are sent to them through SMS or email. By opting for InstAlert, one stays updated on information such as bill due dates, salary credit, insufficient funds, and more.

“Debit/Credit Card Transaction alerts sent as per regulatory guidelines and NetBanking transaction alerts do not form part of InstaAlert Service. Customers who are not registered for InstaAlert service will continue to get these alerts free of charge,” stated the HDFC Bank website.

According to an HDFC Bank representative, the SMSs a customer receives related to debit and credit transactions are chargeable under the InstaAlert service. While SMSs received regarding the balance information and promotional messages sent by the bank are not charged.

If a customer wants to modify or unsubscribe to the InstaAlter service, they can do so online.

Here is how to do it.

Step 1: Log in to NetBanking with your Customer ID and NetBanking Password

Step 2: Click on “Insta Alerts” on the top right hand corner of the page.

Step 3: Select the account number for which you wish to de-register or register the alerts.

Step 4: Select the type of alerts, you want to make changes

Step 5: Once the alerts are selected click on confirm.

Things to note

  • For receiving alerts, please ensure that your mobile number with country code and e-mail ID mentioned is correct/updated
  • Alerts for ‘Debit transaction greater than specified limit’ do not include alerts for debit transactions done using ATM / Debit Cards.
  • For security reasons, alerts for debit transactions done through NetBanking will be sent to the mobile number updated under your contact details.
  • In case the mobile number is not provided, then the alert will be sent to the e-mail ID updated under contact details.

These are the type of InstaAlerts SMSs you can choose from:


Last year Axis Bank had revised its SMS alert charges. According to the Axis Bank website, “value-added SMS fee is currently charged at Rs 5 per month (levied quarterly at Rs 15 per quarter) on subscription basis for certain value-added services (VAS) alert(s). This will continue till June 30, 2021. Effective July 1, 2021, SMS alert fee will be applied based on actual usage/SMS sent to the customer at 25 paise per SMS with a maximum cap of Rs 25 per month. However, promotional SMS sent from the bank and OTP alerts are excluded from charges.”

What the RBI says about SMS alert charges

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has told banks to send SMS alerts for every transaction as a means to fight frauds, the regulator also directed banks to levy charges on actual usage basis. RBI said charges on actual usage basis would promote reasonableness in customer dealings.

“Considering the technology available with banks and the telecom service providers, it should be possible for banks to charge customers based on actual usage of SMS alerts. Accordingly, with a view to ensuring reasonableness and equity in the charges levied by banks for sending SMS alerts to customers, banks are advised to leverage the technology available with them and the telecom service providers to ensure that such charges are levied on all customers on actual usage basis,” the RBI stated in a notification issued in 2013.

RBI had directed banks to send mandatory SMS alerts for transactions through debit card, for ATM cash withdrawals, NEFT and RTGS transactions once funds are credited in the beneficiary account; and these are non-chargeable. Alerts for all other transactions are chargeable under RBI rules.

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