“In July most banks in Namibia kick off a new financial year and inevitably this usually means an increase in banking fees,” says Martha Murorua, FNB executive of consumer banking. “At FNB Namibia we strive to keep the increase in banking fees to a bare minimum and we’ve succeeded with this for a number of years, by keeping prices down and educating our consumers about various banking channels, which will suit their needs.”
Murorua emphasises that one of the most important things for consumers to consider when reviewing their bank account fees is whether they have the right account for the way that they transact. “A bank account should be considered a partner and choosing the right partner for your lifestyle will go a long way in avoiding frustration, unnecessary costs and wasting time,” says Murorua.
When reviewing fees, the focus should not solely be on the actual monthly account fee, but rather what you can do for that fee and the inclusive value offered.
“If you have basic banking requirements, then a bank account with no monthly account fee and a pay-as-you-use structure, such as FNB’s Cardwise and Bankwise Zero Account, will probably be the most cost effective,” says Murorua. In addition, payments, purchases and withdrawals on ATM’s or any electronic channels are more cost effective than in the branch.
“However, if you use your account more frequently it is wise to choose an account that offers a transaction bundle to best suit your transactional needs. A bundle option on your account will allow you to perform multiple or unlimited transactions, without incurring extra costs. Payments and purchases on ATM’s or any electronic channels are unlimited, whereas you are allowed up to six free withdrawals per month on Turquoise and Gold Lifestyle accounts and eight free withdrawals per month on Platinum accounts.
Cash is expensive due to the transport costs, additional security and associated insurance costs. The best thing to do with your cash is to deposit it at an ATM that allows deposits, or even better is to get the funds deposited electronically into your account. All cash deposits by individual customer deposits are free. “A good alternative to using cash is to swipe your debit card. Not only is swiping a safer option than carrying cash, but it often does not attract any transaction fees,” states Murorua.
Banking electronically is more convenient, cheaper and can be done anywhere at any time. Apps, in particular, have become essential, as they allow customers to bank using their smartphone or other electronic devices. Using electronic platforms is cheaper for a bank to administer, which means the bank can pass on the saving to the customer. The vast majority of transactions can now be done on these electronic channels, such as looking up balances, drawing a mini statement, pre-paid transactions and making payments.
“Finally, aside from the actual banking fees, it is also worth looking at how your bank account can fit into your lifestyle, such as, do you need access to credit such as home financing or wish to start up a business one day, or do you need access to a mobile money service to send money to someone without a bank account? In the end, your bank account should fit comfortably into your lifestyle and offer you services that add value and are cost effective,” Murorua advised.