More bank for your buck
Four out of five SA banks have dropped their fees in the last year. Capitec remains the country’s most affordable bank. By Craig Wilson.
Consumers at all of SA’s big banks, with the exception of Nedbank, are paying lower fees than they were last year.
This is according to the third annual bank fees report by the Solidarity Research Institute, the research arm of the Solidarity trade union. The report, which was released on Thursday, shows Capitec has the lowest fees of the banks surveyed.
The report examined fees charged by SA’s five largest banks: Absa, Capitec, First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank. The comparison is based on a range of user profiles, each with a different combination of monthly transactions.
Solidarity focused on basic and intermediate accounts offered by the various banks, as these are the accounts Solidarity deems most applicable to its membership.
For the second year in a row, Capitec came in as the cheapest bank with its Global One account. The average monthly fee across eight different user profiles was R55,50/month. Not only is this almost 16% cheaper than it was last year, but it’s also less than half of the cost of Nedbank’s cheapest account, the Savvy Electronic account, which averaged R112,61/month.
The Nedbank Savvy account fee increased by 4,5% in the past 12 months, while all of the other banks’ cheapest accounts have fallen in price. Absa leads the pack in terms of reductions, with a 38,5% decrease in the average cost of its Silver Value Bundle.
The report points out that there is only a small difference between Capitec’s Global One account and FNB’s Smart Unlimited account, with the latter costing, on average, R5,45 more than Capitec’s offering at R60,95/month.
“One should, however, bear in mind that Capitec pays interest of 5% on balances below R10 000 and 4,25% on higher balances, while FNB pays no interest on any positive balance in the Smart Unlimited account. In this particular comparison, where the effect of interest was omitted, Capitec is actually adversely affected.”
FNB was placed second, while SA’s largest retail bank, Absa, was placed third. Standard Bank came in fourth and Nedbank rated last. Nedbank was ranked third last year, which the report says shows that Absa and Standard Bank have made “comprehensive efforts” to make their charges more competitive. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media
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