Central Bank of Nigeria’s Directive on New Bank Charges
Recently, central bank of Nigeria reduced charges on electronic transfer, automated teller machine, ATM, withdrawal and card maintenance fees.
With this reduction, bank customers will now pay ten naira on electronic transfers for transactions below five thousand naira and twenty-five naira on electronic transfer between five thousand naira and fifty thousand naira, while electronic transfer of fifty thousand naira and above will now attract fifty naira charge.
The Apex Bank also slashed charges on cash withdrawal through other bank’s ATM to maximum of thirty-five naira after the third withdrawal within the same month.
Before the reduction, sixty-five naira was being charged after the third withdrawal within the same month.
Card maintenance fee on all cards linked to current accounts was removed.
To guard against the unapproved or arbitrary charges by banks and other financial institutions, the Central Bank of Nigeria also stated that financial institutions that breach the directive will pay a penalty of two million naira or as may be determined by the apex bank.
It is gratifying the effort of the Central Bank to promote the use of the several platforms for banking transactions.
The reduction is coming at a time when Nigerians are tired of the arbitrariness of the banks and shunning the platforms even when it is convenient for them.
As good as this new policy is, the reduction is however a small fraction of the problem facing the nation’s financial institutions.
Going by earlier policy made by the apex bank on the same guideline, it is unfortunate that banks have not been able to comply with earlier recommendations made by the central bank.
For instance, the practice where some banks re-programmed their ATM to maximum withdrawal limits of ten thousand naira, a way of making the customer pay more for the same basic service should be addressed by the apex bank.
Furthermore, resolving customers’ complaints on automated teller machine when they arise has to be looked into as the law says that failed instant payment transaction should be reversed into the customer’s account within twenty-four hours or the bank will pay a fine of ten thousand naira.
This is not the case in recent times as it takes weeks as some of the banks have formed the habit of tossing the customers up and down.
Similarly, the rule on inward interbank instant payment systems into beneficiary’s accounts for which any delay attracts a penalty of ten thousand naira and the instant electronic funds transfer disputes expected to be resolved within three working days is usually not adhered to.
Therefore, it is not only appropriate that the cbn give out policy, it is also important that the apex bank put mechanisms in place for monitoring and enforcement.