n Staff Reporter
WINDHOEK – As economic circumstances continue to put pressure on disposable income, one of the easiest ways that consumers can stretch their budgets is by taking advantage of digital and electronic banking channels to reduce banking charges. “Furthermore, June is World Savings Month, and thus the ideal opportunity to advise our customers on ways and means of saving,” said Elzita Beukes, communications manager at FNB Namibia.
“Small and gradual changes in banking behaviour have proven to help consumers cut back on costs in the long term. We continue to see a positive increase in the number of customers who benefit from the convenience and cost effectiveness of using digital and electronic banking channels,” Beukes added.
“Over the past 12 months, cash deposits and withdrawals at our branches have decreased by 19 percent and 14 percent on average respectively, for our Gold customers. Cash deposits at ATM/ADTs increased by 136 percent for Gold customers, and our Savings Pocket balances have increased by 121 percent.”
Beukes shared some tips on how customers can reduce banking charges through digital and electronic channels:
Know what your bank offers – Always take time to familiarise yourself with the services that your bank offers on various digital channels. This information is easily accessible through bank websites and various marketing material, such as newsletters. FNB’s website lists its pricing guide that indicates its fees for all transactions, from personal to business accounts, Online Banking, FNB Banking App, Cellphone Banking and ATMs.
Use self-service channels whenever possible – Before going into a bank branch or approaching a consultant, first check if the activity cannot be performed on digital or electronic channels. Most transactions performed on these channels are often free of charge or attract lower costs.
Swiping your card – Instead of withdrawing cash to purchase necessities rather swipe your card as it is safer than carrying cash. In addition, FNB’s loyalty programme, FNB Rewards, gives customers cash back rewards for swiping their debit or credit cards.
Check your statements regularly – Go through your statements monthly to check if there are additional charges on your account. This can help you identify if you have banking behaviour that is costing you more through additional bank charges. For example, some customers still prefer going into a branch to get bank statements which is costly compared to receiving them via email or online banking at no cost.
Pay attention to communication on annual pricing changes – Banks often review their account fees annually offering you a breakdown of changes and adjustments. It’s important to thoroughly go through and understand these fee changes and how they impact the way you transact.
Lastly, never choose a bank account merely on its monthly administration costs, rather base the decision on your transacting needs to avoid incurring additional charges. For example, on a pay as you use structured account (for customers with a low number of monthly transactions) you may be charged extra every time you make a transaction, while on a bundle offering (for customers with a higher number of monthly transactions) you are able to perform multiple or unlimited transactions without incurring additional charges.