Apparently bowing to public outcry, the Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday announced the cancellation of the N100 monthly Automatic Teller Machine card maintenance fee introduced by some banks recently
The CBN in a circular titled, ‘Revised guide to bank charges,’ posted on its website, however, pegged the maintenance fee at N100 annually.
It also pegged the mandatory cost of Short Message Service alert at N4 subject to the Nigerian Communication Commission directives.
The circular, which takes effect from April 1, read, “In order to reflect current developments in the market and provide clarity on banking terms, the CBN recently conducted a review of the guide in consultation with all the banks and discount houses, Bankers’ Committee, financial experts and also considered inputs received from other stakeholders to produce the revised guide to bank charges.”
On electronic transfer, the bank said N70 would be charged on transactions below N500,000, while N100 shouldbe charged on transactions between N500,000 and N1m. Transactions above N1m will attract a charge of N500.
It said issuing fee of a debit card should not be more than N1,000, while international withdrawals per transaction on debit cards should be charged at N240 rather than N1,000 being currently charged by virtually all the banks.
The CBN pegged the interest on savings deposit accounts at a minimum of 30 per cent of the Monetary Policy Rate per annum.
The Bankers’ Committee, had during a meeting in November 2012, scrapped the N100 interbank charge on the use of ATM cards.
The Governor, CBN, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, had said customers would no longer pay N100 on ATM withdrawals whenever they use banks other than theirs from December 17, 2012.
Following the scrapping of the N100 withdrawal charges on ATM by the Bankers’ Committee, some banks had recently introduced the N100 monthly maintenance fee on ATM cards.
The development had drawn the ire of bank customers, who complained bitterly that the banks were exploiting them and indirectly taking back the suspended third-party ATM card withdrawal fee.
Also, some banks charge as high as N50 for SMS to alert their customers of transactions on their accounts, far above the N4 that all Global System of Mobile communication providers charge for each text message.
Other arbitrary charges include N500 monthly maintenance fee for every current account, depending on the bank; and N5 inter-state commission for every N1,000 transferred into or withdrawn from savings accounts in a state different from where the savings account is opened or domiciled.
Consequently, customers have cried out against the fresh charges introduced by the banks.
The customers, who had envisaged low cost of running accounts following the various cost-cutting measures carried out by the banks and reforms introduced by the CBN, complained about fresh and arbitrary charges they were being made to pay by their banks.
A customer, who simply identified himself as Tunde, had earlier this week complained to our correspondent that his bank was deducting all sorts of charges from his account without notice.
“Guaranty Trust Bank Plc deducted N1,000 from my account for ATM card renewal. I never had a card and they deducted money even without me applying for a card. Are they not supposed to provide an ATM card for me on request?” he queried.
A businessman, Mr. Chike Korie, also said, “The deductions I get on SMS alert in a month sometimes run into thousands of naira. I’m a businessman and I get alerts on my accounts on a daily basis. They charge me N50, which I consider too much because the banks use bulk SMS, which should be cheaper.”
A salary earner, who simply introduced himself as Oni, said some of the bank charges contradicted the cash-less policy of the CBN.