Smart banking will lead to reduced fees

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Staff Reporter

Windhoek-FNB Namibia has advised customers that pricing changes have been effected on July 1, 2017 but, as in the past, price increases have been kept to a minimum and numerous services remain free of charge.

Sarel van Zyl, CEO of FNB Namibia, said: “Annual price increases are part and parcel of all industries – from food to petrol to policies – and while we would love to keep prices unchanged, this unfortunately is not feasible. The cost of processing cash-based transactions remains expensive for the bank and as such FNB Namibia has increased the fees on these transactions as part of its 2017/2018 pricing review.”

Van Zyl continued that FNB Namibia, on a continual basis, reminded and educated customers to migrate to the self-service channels which are affordable to everyone and negated the necessity of using physical branches.

“FNB remains pro-active in encouraging customers to look for alternatives to cash-based banking, including using their cards to pay for goods and services and to use digital channels such as FNB Online Banking, Cellphone Banking (via the *140*321# USSD) and the FNB Banking App.

“We do, however, realize that customers still need to pay for certain things in cash and, to do so – as affordably as possible -we urge customers to make use of FNB ATMs when withdrawing cash rather than other banks’ ATMs and make use of the innovative services such as ewallet or Bulk send while paying for airtime, electricity, DStv, Box Office and Go TV from the comfort of your home.”

Minimum increase and free of charge remain reality

“We are happy to further inform that the increases to bank fees have been minimised in the lower and middle-income segments. For a fixed fee per month you get unlimited electronic transactions, no matter how many electronic transactions you do. The Gold Account, for example, offers a Lifestyle account to customers with a monthly income below N$30,000 pm at a monthly fixed fee of N$127.00 with five free ATM withdrawals and unlimited electronic transactions (EPO), or alternatively a Pay-As-You-Use (PAYU) option at a monthly fee of N$27.50.

“The Pay-As-You-Use pricing option will also still be available and is best suited for customers whose transactions vary from month to month and who do a combination of branch and self-service transactions. Customers have the flexibility to choose the pricing option that best suits their needs.”

Despite the regulation on cash deposit fees and the cost pressures which come with offering stable, world class banking solutions across Namibia, FNB Namibia has kept price increases to a minimum. “We are happy to announce that inContact, FNB’s innovative messaging service, and prepaid electricity purchases will remain free on all electronic channels… We will also continue to offer our customers free subscription to FNB’s electronic channels i.e. FNB Online Banking, FNB Cellphone Banking and the FNB App.”

In support of the Bank of Namibia’s financial inclusion objective, the monthly fee on the CardWise Zero Account will remain free. However, a new product will be introduced in the market, which will cater for all individuals earning up to N$24,000 per annum and is designed for customers looking for a day-to-day bank account that is both easy to use and easy on the pocket with a linked 32-day savings account, whilst the existing Lifestyle product and Transmission accounts offer a free Savings Pocket, that can be linked to any transactional account and offers competitive interest rates.

Bank your Change is a feature on the Savings Pocket which will automatically save leftover cents when the customer swipes their Debit Card to pay for goods and services.

Self-service – the way to go

FNB Namibia, in its continuous drive to bring convenience and ease of banking to their customers, has introduced various self-servicing products to improved customer experience.

The strategy behind the recently acquired Ebank is to bank the unbanked population cheaper and at their convenience.  FNB Namibia is well positioned to achieve this objective to be the most inclusive bank, directly addressing the needs of the unbanked population, and this innovation is going a long way to promote financial inclusion.

“This is in line with our strategy to move customers from bricks i.e. actual branches, to clicks, i.e. our digital channels, namely account opening through the cellphone by using the USSD dial string, FNB ATMs, online banking, FNB App, cellphone banking and point of sale devices. These self-service channels are safe, convenient, easy to use and more affordable to customers.”

Innovations over the past year – for the benefit of customers

FNB Namibia has also rolled out more than 39 Advance Deposit Taking (ADT) machines throughout the country where customers can deposit up to N$20,000 anytime of the day at major FNB branch ATM lobbies. Monies received during the deposit taking process are recycled by the machine and dispensed to customers performing withdrawals. The advantages to customers are less time spent in queues to deposit cash as well as an improved cash withdrawal experience with greater ATM cash availability and up time.

In addition, the ATM withdrawal limits and ewallet send limits were increased to N$5,000 respectively and cardless withdrawals introduced at FNB ATM to propel the drive towards electronic channels.

Geopayment is yet another first for Namibia where customers can split a bill in a restaurant and pull payment to one card, thereby making sharing of the restaurant bill or buying of gifts easier for customers.

“You will find this on the FNB app – geopayments. It works similar to ‘Bluetooth’. Two app users would select geopayments and pair their phones to one another. After the pairing, you can make a transfer from one account to another with no need for setting up conventional payment with all the banking details.”

As the introduction of electronic channels comes with added risks, FNB Namibia introduced Trend Micro: Cyber Security Solutions to protect customers from online threats such as data stealing malware, phishing attacks and other web and mobile threats and encourages each customer to install the software free of charge from the FNB online banking portal.

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