What does SBI Think? [Updated]

If you are here for economy, you’ll be gravely disappointed. This is nothing like what you expect this to be. I’ve been using Online Banking for sometime, almost like 6+ years to date but I recently had encounter with the online version of biggest bank of India, The State Bank of India.

I’m used to adding a inter-bank beneficiary and on confirmation via OTP you are ready to do a fund transfer. I had the opportunity to use SBI instead of my preferred bank. Took some time to get hang of the UI which I consider normal but what followed was bewildering. I received the OTP and approved the beneficiary. But, hold on… I could not do a transfer still.

Register Beneficiary

The fine print says:

A new beneficiary, if approved by you during the period from 6.00 AM to 8.00 PM (IST), will be activated on the same day within 4 hours. Beneficiary approved beyond this period will be activated on the next day after 8.00 AM (IST). If you wish to activate the beneficiary immediately with full transfer limit, please use the ‘Beneficiary Activation by Branch’ link appearing under ‘View’ tab of this page.

That means even for online fund transfer and getting the beneficiary confirmed it takes 4 hours and after 8PM IST it goes to next day. C’mon SBI do you make one person sit at a desk and assign him task to manually approve requests. Automation just choked.

I see a link ‘Beneficiary Activation by Branch’ and it seemed like the hero in shining armour. On clicking the link, hero was more and the shining armour was the mirage.

Branch FormSo branch can activate the beneficiary but for this I’ve to download a form, fill it up and submit to the branch. Does SBI think people will visit the branch for Online Banking too and why would someone not wait for 4 hours. Well the best of it all, which branch I’ll find open post 8 PM IST?

Seriously SBI, who thinks of the logic? In case you’ve some weird sense of security in mind that someone will access the private login, add a beneficiary and do a online transfer, well in that case OTP sounds like too fancy. Also, since there is cut off time for NEFT doesn’t mean you too need a cutoff time to stop adding beneficiaries. I could add a beneficiary and fire a transaction away and next morning the first transaction to be processed by NEFT will be mine and I’ll live happily with it but instead you want people to keep visiting your page ‘x’ times in 4 hours because page says, it’ll be done within 4 hours or have to wait till next day and then do a transaction which will be picked up by some random NEFT time.

So, onlinesbi.com is nothing but an extended form of branch banking with the you staring at your screen rather a human. Does SBI have actual humans sitting inside their ATM machines too?

Update (10/02/2015):

Beneficiary was finally added but I never knew SBI could take things to THE NEXT LEVEL. Currently I’m in UK and follow a skewed form of Indian timezone of +5:30 hours. I tried doing the fund transfer to the account I added recently.I did cross the 8 PM IST timeline so my transaction will be processed the next day for NEFT. This is acceptable but then SBI did something which no one will ever expect.

Unable to Schedule

You cannot schedule a transaction for a new interbank beneficiary for four days from the date of activation.

Really? Seriously? OMG? WTH? Even after adding a beneficiary, I can not schedule a transfer because some dimwit think SBI Online Bank users are

  • Jobless
  • Have enough time to kill
  • No hurry for fund transfer
  • Never face emergency
  • Never ever again use the online mode and stick to the same old format

Do share your comments and woes working with The State Bank of India. They will never take note of it.

Author: Sabyasachi "SAM" Mohapatra

Sabyasachi Mohapatra the author, editor and owner (this place is for bragging, right?) of ZeroneA. He has varied interests not limited to technology, movies, music, social & political, photography and travel. Software Engineer by education and when not writing (which includes majority of time), he works as software developer to support his ever growing needs & demands. Apart from that, he prefers to daydream and sleep. Do you count Computer Games, watching movies and listening to music? Then there are of course browsing and reading (random things on the internet - just like this one!) You can catch more about him on Facebook , Twitter & Google+.

20 thoughts on “What does SBI Think? [Updated]”

  1. I am facing same problem today, this is stupidity. 4 days??? I think they don’t want us to use RTGS/NEFT .

    1. SBI is like an elephant in the room and Govt does not want to address the slow growth of the bank. It does have lot of assets for reason Govt processes all deals through SBI.

      In the zeal of paperwork they are a lot backward instead of going forward.

  2. During the first four days after activation, I tried to send NEFT remittance to a beneficiary during off hours for NEFT, but within the limit of Rs. 1,00,000? The error message that I get is that I cannot schedule a transaction. Why am I getting this error message?

    NEFT is not a 24 x 7 service; it is available only during certain hours of weekdays. If you attempt to send NEFT remittance at a time when the service is not available, the system treats it as if the remittance is being scheduled and does not permit it.This limitation is not applicable if the beneficiary is activated using a branch or IRATA.

    1. I can understand the feeling. The lesson I got from SBI is if you are in dire need best avoid it. While other banks have leapfrogged to make NEFT within hours instead of end of day, SBI is still stuck in old times.
      It might be faster to travel and pay a person (Delhi to chennai – 28 to 43 hrs) than wait 96 hours for schedule payment of adding a beneficiary and paying.

  3. Exactly my words…is this really an online banking ? I am unable to understand what exactly SBI wants to achieve with such a stupid logic. Why does bank allow even to add new beneficiary in 4 hours..better align it to 4 days timeline. Infact, I have suggestion for SBI, they should mandate to fill withdrawal form by visiting nearest..sorry your native SBI branch after submitting an online transaction. It will ensure next level of security.

  4. if i am not wrong i think this rule follows for beneficiaries of private banks becoz previously i added beneficiary of a PSU bank which got approved within 4 hours and then i was able to transfer fund instantly…but now i am facing this problem with a beneficiary of hdfc bank…please do correct me if i am wrong wid my guess

    1. Yes, it applies to PSU Banks as the transfer to them is via NEFT or IMPS. Even though request may get approved within 4 hours, we can not schedule payments and approval times are (to my understanding) like office timings. Is the HDFC account added within some days (then scheduling could be issue). For earlier added accounts, transfer seems to be working fine.

  5. https://www.onlinesbi.com/sbijava/new_ben_add_faq_0.html
    Above FAQ page has this question

    Q. During the first four days after activation, I tried to send NEFT remittance to a beneficiary during off hours for NEFT, but within the limit of Rs. 1,00,000? The error message that I get is that I cannot schedule a transaction. Why am I getting this error message?

    A. NEFT is not a 24 x 7 service; it is available only during certain hours of weekdays. If you attempt to send NEFT remittance at a time when the service is not available, the system treats it as if the remittance is being scheduled and does not permit it.This limitation is not applicable if the beneficiary is activated using a branch or IRATA.

    Apparently this means you can do a NEFT transaction during the hours NEFT is available (hopefully during the business hours in IST) within the first 4 days after the beneficiary is approved.

    1. Hi Abhi, that is the whole point. First it takes time to get the beneficiary approved and even then you are limited to NEFT timing. NEFT is not at 24×7 service but banks schedule the transaction and send it in first batch the next batch date but SBI even disallows that, which is weird.

    2. @Abhiram I tried doing an NEFT transaction right after the beneficiary activation, and it showed the error that it’s not possible within 4 four days after activation. I found that I was doing it off NEFT hours. Next day, I tried it again within the NEFT hours, and it worked! phew.. So your claim is right in my case.

  6. OMG!!! I realized this stupid rule today when I tried to make my first NEFT via. SBI. 4 Days…gimme a break…totally ridiculous rule.

  7. Fantastic concept. SBI is truly leading the way in online banking!!!!

    A few reason why I have stopped using SBI…
    1. Limited to adding 1 beneficiary a day.
    2. 4 hours time needed to activate beneficiary.
    3. Rs 50000/- is the maximum/total transfer limit allowed over the first 5 days.
    4. To activate full transfer limit for the beneficiary a visit to the home branch is necessity.

    The above mentioned points defeat the purpose of having SBI as your bank especially for businesses.
    A businessman who has to travel to various locations for purchase of raw material has his credibility affected when he cannot make a payment above 50000.00 for the first 5 days without visiting his home branch.

    A real joke , are we moving forward or backwards here?

  8. please can any one let me know, if this 4 day rule does count Saturday adn Sunday too or just the working days..
    I have added a beneficiary on Friday and it got approved the same day, but now i am wondering will saturday and sundays will also count for this 4 day rule or will they exclude them?

  9. I totally agree . Simply useless and totally confusing procedure is being followed by SBI as far as Activation and funds transfer thereafter to a beneficiary. However still I consider SBI on line banking is the best compared to other banks

  10. SBI is the largest public sector bank in India, yet they are stuck in pretty outdated thinking. It took me 15 days, yes 15 days, to add one beneficiary, as it kept erroring out on me. Something like “we are experiencing network delays”, or “This operation is not permitted at this time” so on and so forth. Then, I had trouble getting OTPs, which thankfully was resolved by a call to their helpline and installing an app. (that helpline can be its own story, but another time). I think they had issues with OTPs and beneficiaries, but never had a note on their website, but finally managed to fix it. So on my 15th attempt, I managed to add my beneficiary, but only one a day boys. No more. Just one.
    Once I add them and approve them with OTP, SBI has a cooling off period of 4 hours. Well, good, but after the four hours spent waiting for it to be approved, it then drops the bombshell about no transactions for the first four days. They are obsessed with the number 4 for some reason.
    Now, I am lucky the people expecting money from me are my relatives and are not overly doubtful of me. Any outsider would have assumed I was bullshitting them and was just buying time. I strongly suggest having back up plans and leaving enough time before using SBI online for important transactions.

    PS: SBI also gives us trouble about RTGS/NEFT. It doesn;t tell you what the issue is but simply removes the beneficiary forcing us to start over. 🙁

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