The NOIPolls limited recently released a report which focused on banks charges where SMS charges by lenders accounted for 49 percent of total charges.
The reporte noted that Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and debit card maintenance accounted for 46 percent of lenders charges, the N65 charge after three withdrawals per month accounted for 38 percent while inter-bank transaction charges accounted for 18 percent of banks charges.
However, BusinessDay spoke with some customers of the banks. “I just checked my account balance dialling …. Short code number, for the first time, I took notice of the SMS alert. I found that I was charged N10, why, one customer of a tier one bank said.
“I run a savings account and my bank sent me an SMS deducting money for stamp duty”, a tier II bank customer told BusinessDay. “I run a savings account and this they have done trice”, another bank customer said.
The revised guide to banks charges released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in April 2017 stated that SMS which is compulsory is N4 subject to directives by Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and that banks should charge not more than N4/SMS.
However, where a customer opts not to receive SMS alert, the customer should issue an indemnity (for losses that may arise as a result) to the bank. (Fees on alerts are restricted to only customer-induced transactions). All associated notifications relating to a particular transaction should be consolidated into a single SMS alert.
Tony Ojobo, director, public affairs, NCC had explained that the N4 SMS alert fee goes to the telcos while the valued added service that banks are riding on take the remaining N6.
Looking at what should be done to address the issue of indiscriminate charges, 31 percent of the respondents in NOIPolls said the CBN should regulate bank charges, 28 percent were of the view that banks should reduce transaction charges, 23 percent said the CBN should scrap bank charges, 8 percent believed in notifing customers before affecting new changes and 6 percent said the CBN should caution banks.
The “Guide to Charges by Banks and Other Financial Institutions” (the Guide) provides a basis for the application of charges on various products and services offered by banks and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) in Nigeria to their customers. This document applies to banks and other financial institutions under the supervisory purview of the CBN.
The charges prescribed in the Guide were arrived at after extensive consultation with stakeholders. The intendment of the Guide is to enhance flexibility, transparency and competition in the Nigerian banking industry.
More findings from the poll revealed that about 7 in 10 respondents (76 percent) were of the opinion that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not done enough to defend bank customers from the onslaught of incessant bank charges from commercial banks, particularly in this recession when ordinary Nigerians are feeling the pain of the economic downturn.