Banking fees price war just got hotter

FNB slashes fees and introduces freebies in fight for your money

First National Bank has reduced the monthly fees on several of its accounts, simplified charging structures on cash withdrawals and to send money, and introduced free airtime, SMSes and data.

First National Bank has just upped the ante on its rivals in the banking fees price war for your money.

In response to recent fee announcements from three of the "big five" banks, African Bank and newcomer TymeBank, FNB has reduced the monthly fees on several of its accounts. It also simplified the charging structures that apply to cash withdrawals and to send money, and introduced free airtime, SMSes and data to some customers who use FNB Connect.  

The bank’s new fee structure for 2019 will come into effect in July.

Last week, African Bank launched its MyWorld account, which attracts no monthly fee. This follows the launch of TymeBank’s EveryDay account three months ago, which is also a monthly fee-free account.  

And last week, Standard Bank launched its MyMo account, which carries a monthly fee of R4.95 – undercutting Capitec’s Global One by 5 cents. In January, Nedbank launched its MobiMoney account, which is a monthly fee-free account that can be opened in minutes using any cellphone, your name and ID number.

In some instances, FNB has trimmed its monthly fee – by 80 cents on the Easy Pay-As-You-Use account – and in other instances slashed it: customers with Gold Fusion accounts will get a R46 cut in their monthly fee, which goes from R155 a month to R109, and Premier Select account holders will pay R10 less in their monthly fee, which comes down to R45 a month.

CASH WITHDRAWALS

The cost of ATM withdrawals  for Easy Pay-As-You-Use customers has gone from a whopping R1.90 per R100
to R6 per R1 000.

On FNB’s eWallet Extra account, which doesn’t attract a monthly fee, the fee to draw cash from the bank’s ATMs has been reduced to R6 per R1,000 (and for amounts of less than R1,000) from the more complicated fee structure of R10.95 for amounts of less than R1,000 and R13.95 for amounts of more than R1,000. However, eWallet Extra customers will no longer be able to draw cash from till points for free. From July it will cost them R1 per withdrawal. But the cost of electronic payments has been slashed from R3.75 to R1 and there is no longer a fee to buy prepaid airtime.

While customers with an eWallet Extra account can’t run debit orders off this account, FNB has introduced scheduled payments at a cost of R1 per transaction. Pieter Woodhatch, the chief executive of FNB Easy sub-segment, says the new feature will enable customers to meet regular commitments, such as funeral policy payments, with the assurance of knowing that they can never fall victim to debit order fraud.

From July, customers with the eWallet extra account will also pay a flat fee of R11 to send money to anyone in South Africa with a locally registered cellphone. There is no cost to the recipient to draw the money. The existing fee structure for sending money is R10.95 for amounts of less than R1,000 and R13.95 for amounts of more than R1,000. In other words, it may cost customers 5 cents more to send money, but the fee structure is simplified.

FNB has also reduced the cost of drawing cash from the bank’s ATMs for customers with the Easy Pay-As-You-Use account. The fee has gone from a whopping R1.90 per R100 to R6 per R1,000. These customers will also pay less when drawing cash from a till point: R1 instead of R1.60.

The new money send fee structure – a flat fee of R11 per transaction – also applies to Easy PAYU customers.



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Money Send

The money send functionality is a key feature of low-cost bank accounts, with African Bank being the only bank that doesn’t offer it. TymeBank allows its customers to send money to each other at no cost, but if the recipient is not a TymeBank customer, the bank charges R4 for the remittance. The recipient carries the cost of the transaction.

Capitec charges its customers a fee of R8.50 to send cash to someone with a South African identity document. The recipient can redeem the cash from Shoprite, Checkers and USave stores only, using their SA ID.

Absa charges customers with an entry-level Transact account R8.50 for a CashSend transaction and Nedbank’s MobiMoney customers are charged a flat fee of R10 to send money. Standard Bank charges the steepest fees, with MyMo account holders coughing up R10.50 to send amounts of less than R1,000 and R12.50 to send amounts of more than R1,000.

Freebies

From July all Gold, Premier, Private or Private Wealth account holders will get free minutes, SMSes, and data if they use FNB Connect, which is the bank’s wireless communications services provider (or mobile virtual network operator). Gold customers get 60 minutes of airtime, 60 SMSes and 120 MB of data, while Premier, Private and Wealth clients get the same number of free minutes and SMSes with 500 MB of data.

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