42% spend more than R200 a month on bank charges!
If you spend more than R200 a month on bank charges you are amongst the majority. This is the outcome of a recent survey conducted on South Africa's online guide to money, Justmoney.co.za.
The online money portal asked its users what their total monthly bank charges added up to and 42% of the more than 1500 respondents polled said that they spend in excess of R200 a month - an amount that has Justmoney's General Manager Andy Gilder questioning South Africans approach to banking.
"I find it astonishing that the majority of our users are paying fees this high on their bank charges, but I think it has as much to do with their own apathy as the high costs associated with banking in this country."
"Last month, we asked our users what they looked for in a bank and their response was unanimous - they wanted lower bank charges. A month later we ask them how much they spend each month and the results are exceptionally high - these high fees have got to come down to users not being actively involved in getting to know the costs associated with basic transacting. Granted, we pay more for basic banking services than many other parts of the globe, but for an average bank account holder to shell out more than R200 a month seems exceptionally high."
Gilder goes on to say that it has also got a great deal to do with the perceived difficulties associated with moving banks - saying that even though South Africans are aware that they are spending too much money on their monthly banking they are not prepared to do something about their concerns.
He points to movements within the industry that are helping to alleviate the issue, but maintains that it is up to the consumer to make the intelligent decision.
"While no bank will ever make it entirely straight forward for a customer to leave them, what we are now seeing is that banks are making it simpler to move over to their services. Some banks now offer joining incentives like free, unlimited debit order set ups and a far easier application process - some have even gone so far as to offer cash incentives for opening an account. "
Justmoney.co.za asked its users "How much do you spend on bank charges each month?" and the results were as follows:
42% said: More than R200
16% said: between R150 and R200
19% said: between R100 and R150
23% said: less than R100
Gilder says South Africans need to become more involved in their finances and make an effort to cut unnecessary costs whenever possible.
"If you aren't already doing it, one of the most cost effective things you can do to lower your bank charges would be to transact online, and if you don't have an Internet connection, use a mobile phone. Standing in the bank queue is not only time consuming, but expensive. Banks are looking to the Internet to decrease their own admin costs and as such are rewarding South Africans for banking on line rather than in branch. Inter account transfers online are free - in the branch the same process can cost you in excess of R20 - its simply throwing money away."