Commercial banks have, from this month, adjusted their banking tariffs meaning that bank customers will have to dig deeper in their pockets to pay for bank services, a development consumers have labeled as a detriment of financial inclusion.
Published statements from First Capital Bank (FCB), Standard Bank and National Bank of Malawi (NBM) have indicated various adjustments on their services.
For instance, NBM customers will now have to pay K15 000 for a 50 page cheque book, up from K11 000 last year and K1 050 in a month as electronic service fees, according to a published statement from the bank.
The bank’s customers will also part with 220 when making cash withdrawals on auto teller machines (ATMs) of other banks.
Standard Bank customers will now be charged K220 for cash withdrawals on the Bank’s ATMs and K3330 on non- standard Bank ATMs.
The Bank’s customers will also part with K374 for mobile money funds transfers of between zero to K5 000.
For FCB customers seeking to make funds transfer from the bank to a mobile wallet, they will pay K407.75 for funds between 9 to K500 and K1 000 as monthly fees for mobile banking.
The banks have also hiked other services such as processing fees for personal loans, account closure fees, cash withdrawal, news cards and card replacements and commission on foreign notes sales and purchases, among others.
In Malawi bank charges have been deemed prohibitive to most customers, a development which has turned away a number of people from banking, according to a Finscope study.
In an interview, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito decried numerous banks fees that are passed on to the customer citing this as a stumbling block to banking.
“The high bank charges by our commercial banks are the reason behind the high rates of financial exclusion and the more we keep on raising this issue the more the introduction of new bank charges.
“Malawi has the lowest number of depositors in the region due to these many and high charges a depositor is demanded to pay. It is not surprising, therefore, that banks are the only industry making huge profits even in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Bankers Association of Malawi chief executive officer Lyness Nkungula was not readily available to comment but earlier told Business News that banks offer different products and tariffs are not the same across the board.
She said customers should be free to shop around and opt for the banks that have affordable prices