5 ways you can reduce your bank charges using digital channels

As economic circumstances continue to put pressure on disposable income, one easy way to stretch you budget is by taking advantage of digital and electronic banking channels, thereby reducing banking charges, says Ryan Prozesky, FNB Consumer Core Banking CEO.

According to Prozesky, small and gradual changes in banking behaviour have proven to help consumers cut back on costs in the long-term.

“We are continuing to see a positive increase in the number of customers who benefit from the convenience and cost effectiveness of using digital and electronic banking channels,” he said.

FNB has published its new banking fees for the 2018/19 period – the last of the major retail banks to make adjustments for this year.

Read: South Africa’s banking fees compared

The FNB Banking App currently has over 4.9 million downloads to date, with usage up 66% and financial transactions increasing by 10%, for the banks’ half year results to December 2017.

Prozesky shares tips on how customers can reduce banking charges through digital and electronic channels.

Know what your bank offers

Always take time to familiarise yourself with the services that your bank offers on various digital channels. This information is easily accessible through bank websites and various marketing material, such as newsletters.

For example, FNB’s website has a number of step-by-step demos on a wide range of transactions, from personal to business accounts that can be performed via Online Banking, FNB Banking App, Cellphone Banking and ATMs.

Use self-service channels whenever possible

Before going into a bank branch or approaching a consultant, first check if the activity cannot be performed on digital or electronic channels. Most transactions performed on these channels are often free of charge or attract lower costs.

Swiping your card

Instead of withdrawing cash to purchase necessities rather swipe your card as it is safer than carrying cash. Check whether your bank offers unlimited card swipes at no additional charge regardless of the amount. In addition, most banks’ loyalty programs give customers rewards back for swiping their card. This year FNB has introduced rewards on all debit card spend.

“FNB transactional accounts offer a free eBucks reward linkage, enabling you to get something extra back at no additional cost. If you really do need cash, why not add it to your grocery list and withdraw from selected retailer till points. This transaction is usually cheaper than withdrawing from an ATM.

“FNB offers [email protected] via Shoprite, Checkers, U-Save, Pick ‘n Pay, Boxer, PEP and selected Spar stores,” said Prozesky.

Check your statements regularly

Go through your statements on a monthly basis to check if there are additional charges on your account.

This can help you identify if you have a banking behaviour that is costing you more through additional bank charges. For example, some customers still prefer going into a branch to get bank statements which is costly compared to collecting them through ATMs with Automated Deposit Terminals (ADT), email or online banking.

Pay attention to communication on annual pricing changes

Banks often review their account fees annually offering you a breakdown of changes and adjustments. It’s important to thoroughly go through and understand these fee changes and how they impact the way you transact.

Never choose a bank account merely on its monthly administration costs, rather base the decision on your transacting needs to avoid incurring additional charges.

For example, on a pay as you use structured account you may be charged extra every time you make a transaction, while on a bundle offering you are able to perform multiple or unlimited transactions without incurring additional charges.

A pay as you use structure would be best suited for a customer with a low number of monthly transactions, while bundle offerings are best suited for those with a higher number of monthly transactions. Make sure that you chose a bundle with the most appropriate number of transactions included in the bundle, based on your monthly transactional needs.

Read: The cheapest bank accounts in South Africa vs FNB’s eWallet eXtra

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5 ways you can reduce your bank charges using digital channels