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Are South Africans finally changing banks?

By Staff Writer

In a report released by trade union Solidarity on Wednesday it was revealed that Standard Bank are South Africa's most expensive bank. This report echoes the findings of a similar report done by FinWeek a few weeks ago which found that FNB is South Africa's cheapest bank while Standard Bank was the most expensive.

The initial FinWeek report prompted Justmoney.co.za to poll their users on whether expensive bank charges would prompt them to change and the results of the findings were somewhat surprising, with 40% claiming that they have already changed banks.

Traditionally, South Africans were inclined to stick with the brand they know, citing a number of logistical and loyalty issues as the cause for failing to move but the results of this particular poll indicated that only 15% said that they were loyal to their brand.

Andy Gilder, general manger of Justmoney.co.za says: "The results of this poll would suggest that we are living in a society where consumers place a premium on the costs of banking, but we must remember that the poll was conducted in a forum where we would expect the vast majority of the users to be amongst the most proactive in terms of their banking habits. I'd suggest that the 40% was somewhat skewed and that for the majority of South Africans, the switch to cheaper fees is yet to happen."

A further 27% claimed that they have been shopping around and comparing charges, something which is reflected in search data for Justmoney over the course of the past couple of months.

Gilder added that although the results of the poll suggest a proactive and price conscious marketplace, many South Africans are blissfully unaware that they are paying more than they should be.
"The inflated costs are not purely the fault of the banks. Justmoney is unquestionably in favour of decreasing the costs associated with everyday banking, but : there are thousands of South Africans making poor decisions when it comes to things that will affect their monthly charges," he said.

"Drawing from another banks ATM, exceeding the number of free transactions on a bundled account or even using the wrong account in the first place - these are all things that people should look out for."

The full results of the poll were as follows:

40% I've already changed
15% I'm loyal to my brand
27% I've been shopping around and comparing charges
18% Charges do not matter, it's service that counts

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