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FNB raises Easy Account fees

By Staff Writer
Nicolette Dirk, finance writer, Justmoney.co.za
 
FNB has announced that it will increase its monthly fees on its EasyAccount from R4.20 to R4.95. While it has increased its monthly administration costs by 17.85%, FNB  has now made its Easy Account accessible to individuals earning up to R350 000 annually. Before it was only available to those who earned up to R100,000 a year. The bank reviews its fees and charges every July. 
 
The Easy Account will also now be available at all FNB Branches and no minimum balance is required.
 “The FNB EasyAccount continues to offer the lowest fees in South Africa. The product is more accessible than ever before now that is available throughout our FNB network,” claimed FNB’s head of pricing at value banking solutions, Jo-Ann du Plessis.
 
The bank said the EasyAccount is designed for customers looking for a day-to-day bank account that is easy to use. You can also link the savings account, Savings Pocket, to the Easy account. . FNB says the savings account is free as there  are no monthly fees and transfers into, and out of, the savings account are free. 
 
Other affordable options:
 
Capitec’s Transaction/Savings Account is a close second to FNB Savings Account with R5 monthly fee. Standard Bank’s Access Account comes with two options. The Pay as you Bank option you do not pay any monthly fees. With the Access Account Plus option you pay R59 per month but benefits include unlimited card swipes, unlimited cash back at till points, R2000 death benefit free cellphone banking and unlimited pre-paid electricity recharges at Standard Bank ATMs and on cellphone banking.. With Nedbank’s Ke Yona Plus account you also pay only R5 monthly admin fee.
 
However, FNB’s EasyAccount is not the cheapest when it comes to monthly charges. With Absa’s Transact account you pay a monthly administration fee of only R4,50, which is less than the FNB Easy Account’s monthly fee of R4.95. 
But there are additional fees to consider. At the Absa ATM you will pay R4,20 while a withdrawal with your FNB Easy account will cost you R4 (see table below). Withdraw from another bank though and Absa’s account will charge you 80 cents less than FNB.
 
FNB’ EasyAccount was used in 2013 in a research done by Solidarity Research Institute (SRI)to compare the bank accounts of Capitec, Standard Bank, Absa, First National Bank (FNB) and Nedbank. Paul Joubert, senior researcher at SRI, said that in comparison with Capitec, the Easy Account is a possible cheaper alternative.
 
 “For certain bank clients, the Easy Account provides a good alternative to Capitec. It was also mentioned that the EasyAccount from FNB competed very well against Capitec’s Global One Account with respect to banking fees,” said Joubert.
 
He added that in the past few years, it has appeared thatf FNB very carefully studied Capitec’s fees and then made sure that their fees on the EasyAccount are all lower than Capitec’s fees, even if it’s only by a 5 cents margin. 
 
“For example, the ATM withdrawal fee of R4,55 for the EasyAccount compared to Capitec’s fee of R4,60. Another example is the monthly admin fee of R4,95 versus the R5 that Capitec charges,” said Joubert.
 
According to Joubert, the areas where the EasyAccount is significantly cheaper (more than just 5c) than Capitec’s account are mainly stop orders and internal debit orders. Internal debit orders are charged at R1,50 versus Capitec’s R3,20 for all debit orders (External debit orders are also R3,20 on the EasyAccount). Capitec has no (or very few) internal debit orders, as it does not offer business banking. The EasyAccount charges nothing for stop orders, while Capitec charges R1,50.
 
“On the other hand, one of the big differences in Capitec’s favour between the EasyAccount and Capitec’s Global One Account is the significant rate of interest that Capitec offers on any positive balance in the account. Depending on the average balance held in the account, this could cancel out the effect of Capitec’s fees sometimes being a little higher than the EasyAccount’s fees,” said Joubert.
 
Comparing charges: 
 
We compared the prices of the monthly fees of FNB, Standard Bank, Capitec, Nedbank and Absa to see if the cost of a low admin fee is really worthwhile:
 

 

Bank

Monthly fee

Withdrawal fee at own bank

Withdrawal fee at other bank

Cash deposit fee at bank ATM

Deposit fee at branch counter

FNB Easy Account (From 1 July 2014)

R4,95 (from 1 July 2014)

R4,55

R9,10

R4,55

R20

Standard Bank (Access Account Plus)

R59

R5,50 (R0 –R 1000)

R3,50+1,10% of value(R1 001 –R5 000)

R3,50+1,10%     

of value + R6,70

R4

R28

Capitec (Transactional Account)

R5

R4,60

R7,30

Coins (R1.15 per R100)

Notes (55c per R100)

R1,15 at branch for coins and notes

Nedbank (Ke Yona Plus account)

R5

R5,50

R7,50

R5,50

R5,50

Absa (Transact account)

R4,50

R4,20

R7

R3,00 + R1,25/R100

R6,20 + R1,35/R100

 

 

How to save on bank charges

Along with its announcement on its new bank charges, FNB offered the following tips on how to reduce bank charges:

 

Go cashless as far as possible

 Use your card to pay for goods.

Use cellphone banking.

 

Avoid wasting money

 Make sure you have enough money in your account for your debit orders to avoid being charged a penalty fee.

 

Where possible always use cellphone banking to:

Buy prepaid airtime, electricity and data

Check your account balance

 Get a mini statement

Stop debit orders

Pay your clothing accounts

 Pay your bills/ accounts

 

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