Nedbank defends account fees

Nedbank has responded to the 2012 Solidarity Bank Charges Report, in which it was listed as the most expensive bank in terms of fees attached to its “cheapest account”.

On Thursday (18 October 2012) union Solidarity released its banking charges report, which found that four of the five large commercial banks in South Africa had lowered the cost of the bulk of their accounts over the past year.

Nedbank was reportedly the only exception, having increased the fees attached to its “Savvy – Electronic” account by 4.5%.

The study compared the bank charges of various personal bank accounts of Absa, FNB, Standard Bank, Nedbank and Capitec – in which the charges were calculated as an average of eight transaction profiles, the effect of interest or forgone interest excluded.

Each bank’s cheapest account in 2011 and 2012 – Solidarity

Bank Cheapest account (2011)
Costs 2011
Costs 2012
Cheapest account (2012) Difference
Capitec Global One Account R66.00 R55.50 Global One Account -R10.50 (-15.9%)
FNB Smart – Unlimited R74.53 R60.95 Smart – Unlimited -R13.58 (-18.2%)
Absa Silver Package R148.14 R91.05 Silver Value Bundle -R57.09 (-38.5%)
Standard Bank Classic Cheque – fixed fee R134.89 R109.81 Achiever – Electronic -R25.08 (-18.6%)
Nedbank Savvy – Electronic R107.79 R112.61 Savvy – Electronic R4.82 (+4.5%)

Nedbank on the back foot

In a statement responding to the report, Nedbank said that it commended Solidarity for tackling the banking fee report – but contested its findings, saying that the account used in the comparison was not even correctly identified.

“The Nedbank Savvy Account is not Nedbank’s ‘cheapest bank account’ as referred to in the report,” said Anton de Wet, managing executive client engagement at Nedbank. De Wet did not say which Nedbank account was, in fact, the cheapest.

De Wet further contested the report, overall, noting that comparing various accounts, from various institutions, which cater to various clients’ needs, was a complex issue.

“We acknowledge the difficulty in conducting a fair year-on-year comparison of average monthly bank fees across a wide range of product offerings and commend the Solidarity Research Institute’s attempt to do this in the interests of promoting consumer education,” Nedbank said.

“However, each product offering has different qualification criteria and are tailored for the specific needs of a client segment. Banks also add and remove product offerings and conduct fee reviews during the 12-month period between reports which further contributes to the complexity.”

“We are confident that Nedbank Savvy offers great value for clients who do high-volumes of mostly electronic transactions.”

De Wet went on to announce that as of 1 January 2013, Nedbank would be reducing its fees for other banks’ ATM withdrawals by R10.

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Nedbank defends account fees