Are There Charges on Access Online Banking?
There are no enrollment fees, monthly or other recurring costs, however there are transaction fees.
Festus Akanbi writes that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ongoing sensitization efforts on how aggrieved bank customers can seek redress over excess charges and commissions, as well as banks’ outright refund of such disputed charges, will drastically reduce the negative trend and deter non-conformists from the laid-down rules in the Nigerian banking sector.
The Nigerian banking industry, like other areas of the economy, is experiencing severe difficulties.
This is due to the fact that, aside from the inflationary effects of Nigeria’s current economic challenges, which naturally discourage savings, the increase in the cost of operations due to the current energy crisis is putting undue pressure on banks to significantly cut their costs while increasing their revenue.
Analysts pointed out that, despite the current unfavorable situation in the banking industry, these companies must pay their expenses. Furthermore, banks that are currently losing some of their technical staff to foreign competitors are struggling to make their employment conditions more appealing, at a cost, while shareholders of the respective banks are putting the boards and managements on notice for a robust dividend payout at a time when lines of other revenue sources are thinning out.
Bank Customers Under Fire
Customers are paying the price as banks discover ways to adapt to present issues, according to banking industry observers. Deposit money banks now report significant annual profits while their customers complain about high and arbitrary fees.
Although bank customers’ complaints cover a wide range of issues, the CBN confirmed in its various Annual Economic Reports that the majority of them concerned ‘excess’ bank charges, including other deductions that no one is petitioning against due to the size of the amount, logistics, and cost involved in following them through.
Banking Hall Protests
Social media has recently been flooded with recordings of irate consumers, the majority of whom choose to cause havoc in banking halls. Customers are voicing their dissatisfaction with the failure of several impacted banks to handle issues including thefts from their accounts and unauthorized charges from Lagos to Uyo in Akwa Ibom State, Kaduna, and Warri in Delta State on a regular basis. A female bank customer recently went live on social media inside a commercial bank branch in Lagos, screaming her rage about substantial quantities of money missing from her account. Another impacted consumer, also on Twitter, stated, “Right now, there is a significant amount of organized fraud in the financial sector.” Many clients’ accounts are being debited, and banks are claiming that these are PoS transactions even from accounts where cards are rarely used.”
The threat is so alarming that a guy was recently shown in a viral video appearing virtually nude in a banking hall to protest a series of withdrawals from his account.
The CBN stated that as of June 2021, it has collected N89.2 billion in excess and unlawful charges imposed on consumers by Nigerian banks.
At a two-day public enlightenment fair earlier this year, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, represented by the Director, Corporate Communications Department, Osita Nwanisobi, said the sum was based on 23,526 complaints from customers about charges and other related issues.
“What we do is that anytime we get these complaints, they are rigorously reviewed, and if they are proved to be accurate, the CBN ensures that these clients are appropriately repaid, and we have so far recovered N89 billion,” he said of customer complaints.
Speaking at another forum, Nwanisobi, who recommended dissatisfied bank clients to file complaints with the CBN, stated that the apex bank has subsequently released a circular on its website listing all lawful bank charges. He further noted that any fee that is not included in the circular is not permitted.
Responding to a deluge of complaints from dissatisfied consumers, the top bank’s director emphasized the apex bank’s intention to rectify the matter in a recent online media forum.
“What you should question them (bank clients) is whether or not they reported those occurrences to the CBN.” “We work on the basis of the information we receive,” Nwanisobi explained.
“We have channels; we have taught them; we have emphasized that if you are debited, you have the right to complain.”
“You must report to CBN, and we will handle it.” Whenever we did sensitization, we showed them in real terms how much money we had recovered from banks and returned to individuals. He also recommended people to give deposit money banks two weeks to settle their problems.
“If, after making your complaint, your bank continues to fail to engage you and address the problem within two weeks as allowed for in the ATM Help Desk Circular, you have the right to escalate your complaint to the CBN’s Consumer Protection Department (CPD),” the central bank stated. Customers can contact the CPD by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or calling +234 7002255226, according to the apex financial regulator.
Banks Transport Large Amounts of Money
As bank clients continue to lose money due to high bank service costs, studies suggest that nine biggest Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria earned N554.23 billion in fees and commissions in 2021. This figure is 29.4% greater than the N428.32 billion they earned in 2020.
Access Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Limited, United Bank for Africa Plc, First City Monument Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Wema Bank, Sterling Bank, and Fidelity Bank Plc are among the banks involved.
According to sources, the value of N554.23 billion was calculated by adding the net fee and commission income from banks’ annual financial statements for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2021.
According to the research, fees and commissions make for a major portion of banks’ non-interest income and include income from account management fees, electronic banking fees, and other credit-related charges.
Net fee and commission income is the actual money earned from these charges after deducting the costs of providing the services.
Access Bank earned a total of N118.56 billion, compared to N93.57 billion in the same time in 2020. According to the bank’s financial report, it earned N7.23 billion from electronic bank charges and N33.35 billion from e-banking fees.
Zenith Bank earned N103.95 billion in fees and commissions during the review period, for a total income of N132.88 billion and costs of N28.96 billion. The bank’s earnings in 2021 will be 31.03 percent greater than the N79.33 billion earned the previous year.
According to FCMB’s financial statement, earnings from fees and commissions increased to N28.75 billion in 2021 from N19.55 billion in 2020. According to the report, the bank earned N12.82 billion in electronic banking fees and N4.8 billion in account maintenance costs.
In the meantime, Wema Bank collected N13.42 billion in fees and charges in 2021, while Sterling Bank generated N13.08 billion.
Some Accepted Bank Fees
The following are the allowed bank charges:
Electronic Funds Transfer is set at N50 for transactions over N50,000 and N25 for transactions below N50,000.
N5,000-N50,000, with a N10 surcharge for amounts less than N5,000.
For the third transaction within the same month, the price for ATM withdrawals from other banks’ ATMs was cut to N35 from N65.
Naira debit or credit cards connected to savings accounts have a quarterly maintenance cost of N50, while foreign currency debit/credit cards have a fee of $10 to $20.
The price for hardware tokens is subject to cost recovery, with a maximum charge of N2,500, according to the apex bank. It was decreased from N3,500 to N2,500.
The issuing cost for a naira debit card (s) is N1,000 (one-time charge), regardless of whether the card is standard or premium. A replacement or renewal incurs the same fee.
Furthermore, sending to an account holder charges a minimum of N50, subject to 1% of transaction value or N300, whichever is less. Non-account holders are charged a minimum of N50 plus 1.5 percent of the transaction value or N500, whichever is less.
Individual cash deposits are charged 2% for transactions above N500,000, while cash withdrawals are charged 3% for transactions exceeding N500,000.
The corporate cash deposit rate is 3% for transactions above N3 million, while the withdrawal rate is 5% for transactions under N3 million.
Other categories, such as Status Enquiry at Customer Request (e.g. Confirmation Letter, Embassy Letter, Reference Letter, Letter of Indebtedness/Non-Indebtedness, etc.), incur a fee of N500 per request.
The rate for the required SMS alert is based on cost recovery from the previous maximum charge of N4.
Bill payment via e-channels will incur a maximum charge of N500 based on 0.75 percent of the transaction amount up to N1,200.
The fee for a Special Request for a Bill of Account Statement is N200.
According to analysts, given the preparedness of the central bank to assist unhappy consumers in obtaining a refund of money unjustly deducted by banks, the onus is on people to seize the window of opportunity.