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Bank charges keep going up - and up!

By DERRICK SPIES | Sep 07, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

AS THE recession bites into consumers' pockets it appears that some banks are helping themselves to some of their clients hard-earned cash by hiking their service fees.

Absa, for example, has increased its "safekeeping charges" for wills by 28percent from R60 to R84 and Nedbank charges R12,50 for each cheque deposit on a credit card balance, a service which used to be free of charge.

In June Standard Bank's home loan administration fees skyrocketed, increasing by over 500percent.

Consumers have been complaining, with banking ombudsman Clive Pillay confirming that they had received complaints over recent fee increases, particularly the introduction of a cheque deposit fee for making deposits into a home loan or credit card account.

Pillay said the National Credit Act allowed a maximum of R50 a month to be charged as service-related fees, which would include cheque deposits.

"Banks already charge about R35 a month in service fees, so they will in actual fact not be able to levy too many cheque deposit fees."

Pillay said banks needed to be sensitive to consumers who were battling financially as a result of the recession.

"I urge banks not to introduce new charges, but if unavoidable, then to keep it to the minimum and be sensitive to . stressed consumers."

All four main banks have increased their fees this year. Standard Bank's fees went up by an average of 8,9percent in January, Nedbank's average fees increased by 8,5percent in March, First National Bank's overall fees went up by 6,7percent in July and Absa increased their fees by an average of about 5percent in June.


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