Take charge of your bank charges

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03 Apr 2013

Consumers often complain of high banking costs, unaware that having the wrong bank account and their own banking behaviour contributes to these unnecessary fees, says Eunice Sibiya, head of consumer education at FNB.

Take a few moments to call your bank, look online or even go into a branch to find out what you are paying for your account, and what transactions this fee gives you.

If you hardly use your bank account a ‘pay as you go’ account with minimum monthly fees but charges on each transaction may be suitable.

However, if you transact regularly, FNB offers unlimited accounts where you do not pay per transaction. This allows you to fix banking costs for a monthly fee, she explains.

Take a few moments to call your bank, look online or even go into a branch to find out what you are paying for your account, and what transactions this fee gives you.

“Once you are happy that you have the right bank account, you need to take control of your transactional behaviour,” says Sibiya.

There are many common mistakes consumers make driving up their banking costs. 

“If your pricing option allows six ATM withdrawals a month, and you are withdrawing every few days, this is going to not only cost you a lot more, but is also a waste of time.”

Frequent withdrawals are just one of the common mistakes made that push up bank charges.

Withdrawing money at an ATM that does not belong to your bank is costly because you pay SASWITCH fees, which is a fee charged for that bank to recover that money from your bank.

There are ways to reduce your bank charges.

Most banks offer electronic channels of banking that are cheaper, safer and more convenient than going into a branch frequently.

These include online or Cellphone Banking and Automatic Deposit Tellers (ADT).

Withdrawing cash at tills is another way to cut down on costs. Participating retailers will allow you to withdraw an amount not exceeding your daily withdrawal limit. In most cases, this is lower than the usual ATM withdrawal fee.

“Look at your bank statement often and take note of when you have been charged over and above your monthly bank fees because of extra transactions you have made.

If you can change your habits you can save money,” adds Sibiya.

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