Capitec caned over 'free banking' claim

Advertising Standards Authority says banking with Capitec is not free.
Advertising Standards Authority says banking with Capitec is not free.

“Free” banking with Capitec actually cost Stephen Wall R64.75‚ and he wasn’t amused.

Wall was so upset by an SMS from the organisation which claims to help people “bank better‚ live better” that he complained about it to the advertising watchdog.

And on Friday the Advertising Standards Authority agreed with him that “free” and “R64.75” are not the same thing‚ instructing its members not to accept any Capitec adverts claiming the contrary.

Wall saw red over an SMS from Capitec saying: “Mr Wall‚ your June fees: R64.75. Interest earned: R1‚846.30. Well done! By earning more interest than your bank fees‚ you banked for free”.

The customer told the ASA the fact that he earned more interest than the fees he paid did not not mean he banked for free — only that Capitec paid him R64.75 less in interest than it should have done.

“If Capitec wishes to make this claim then it must credit the R64.75‚” he said‚ adding that the bank was treating its customers like fools.

Capitec did not respond to the ASA’s invitation to defend itself‚ and in its ruling the authority said it was clear Wall’s banking fees were not reversed or written off – he had to pay them.

“The interest earned on an account is one aspect of banking‚ and one to which the customer is entitled. The bank charges are another aspect‚ and one that the customer is obliged to pay‚” it said.

“The fact that the bank charges are less than the interest does not mean that the customer banked for free. It means that they earned interest‚ and paid bank charges‚ two separate transactions. The fact that they have made a nett profit does not mean that the banking was ‘free’.”

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