In South Africa’s supposedly competitive environment, it seems big name companies, that are supposed to be in competition with each other, often work together to fleece the consumer. Banks are no different.
It was with disgust that I read in this article exactly how much South Africans have to pay banks to handle their money. You pay to deposit monet; you pay to withdraw money; statements, transfers, bill payments, even online banking. They all attract fees.
A long time ago I had a Nedbank account, but I had to close it, as even though it was not being used, it was gradually being sucked dry by monthly banking charges. You know, those ones you pay for the mere privileged of having a bank account. And that in spite of slightly more than a modest balance. Nevertheless, the interest didn’t even start to cover the banking charges.
The article also says that last year South African banks raked in R51 billion (that’s US$7,500,000,000) in banking fees alone. US7.5 BILLION!
How is that possible?
The banks claim their charges are in line with their expenses, yet one bank can charge R5 for a bounced debit, while another charges R10. Is every business in South Africa out to screw South African consumers?
The Inevitable Comparison
In (insert your country here, currently mine is Malaysia) my day to day banking costs me nothing. Nothing!
I bank with Maybank. I have access to Internet banking. It costs me nothing.
I can deposit money at any ATM or even the counter. It costs me nothing.
I can withdraw money 4 times per month. It costs me nothing, and only after that do I get charged a mere 50c per withdrawal.
I have a Visa debit card. It too costs me nothing to own or use. Only losing or breaking it, and having to replace it, costs R12. If I withdraw money from another bank’s ATM, it costs me a paltry RM2.
On the other side of the coin, Maybank also pays very little interest. But the lending rate in Malaysia is so low, even on thousands of RM the monthly interest is quite low. So do I care? No.
But I would give up a little interest on my day to day account in exchange for virtually free banking, any day. Sies, South Africa!