By Chika Otuchikere
Following public outcry against multiple charges on banking transactions by Deposit Money Banks (DMB) the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced reductions in charges for electronic transactions and fees for Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) card maintenance.
The apex bank which released the new guidelines in a circular to banks and non-financial institutions dated December 20, said the directive takes effect from the New Year.
According to the guidelines, charges on ATM withdrawals in separate bank’s machine will after the third transaction will attract N35 instead of the previous N65.
This means that customers who use their ATM cards to withdraw cash in machines other than those of their banks will now pay N35 per withdrawal after the first three withdrawals in a month. The first three withdrawals from a separate bank’s ATM per month will remain free of charge.
Also, part of the guidelines stipulates that customers will now be paying N10 for each electronic transfer below N5,000 and N25 for those between N5,000 and N50,000. Electronic transfer above N50,000 will be at the cost of N50.
The apex bank also removed the Card Maintenance Fee (CAMF) on all cards linked to current accounts, with a maximum of N1 per mille for customer induced debit transactions to third parties and transfers to the customers’ account in another bank on current accounts.
The bank’s director, Corporate Communication Department , Mr Isaac Okorafor, reportedly explained that the current NIP charges apply to use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), purchase with cash-back will cost N100 per N20,000 withdrawal that eventually amounts to N60,000 in one day.
Okorafor disclosed that for cards linked to savings account, a maintenance fee has been reduced from N600 per annum to N200.
He said that charges for reactivation or closure of accounts like savings, current and domiciliary have been removed while status enquiry at the request of the customer (like confirmation letter, letter of non-indebtedness and reference letter) will now attract a fee of N500 for each request.
One of the CBN’s new guidelines also states that there will be a penalty of N20, 000 against any bank that places arbitrary charges on customers and that the penalty will continue daily until the said financial institution adheres to the regulation.
It would be recalled that the CBN had announced that the nationwide implementation of the cashless policy will begin by March 31, 2020. The apex bank said that the implementation of the policy would signal the imposition of charges on deposits in addition to already existing charges on withdrawals