Detecting if your bank account is being overcharged

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In recent times, there have been numerous complaints from customers about excessive bank charges with no basis for some of them.

In a statement in February 2016, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) compelled banks to return N6.2 billion in excess charges to customers for the year 2015.

The statement captioned, “Alleged Excess, Illegal Charges by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs)”, said that CBN had “received series of complaints from customers of Deposit Money Banks alleging excessive, and in some cases, illegal charges from their respective banks”

The CBN sets regulations that prevent banks from charging excessive fees and it is the responsibility of every bank’s customer to know the approved charges for all types of transactions incurred from his/her bank.

The CBN, earlier last year, reviewed its guide on charges on various products and services by DMBs, other financial institutions and mobile payment operators on their customers’ accounts. This was expected to enhance flexibility, transparency and competition in the Nigerian banking industry.

Current Account Maintenance Fee (CAMF) which is not applicable to a saving account is negotiable but subject to a maximum of N1 per mille when you initiate a transfer out of your account. CBN said that the charges are only applicable to customer-induced debit transactions to third parties and debit transfers/lodgments to the customer’s account in another bank. 

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For electronic funds transfer, the CBN fixed the rate at N50 for transfers below and above N10m and N550 for Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS). Forex transfers out of customers’ accounts will incur charges of 0.5% Commission on Turnover (COT) plus any associated off-shore charges.

Withdrawal from another bank’s ATM will incurred N65 after the third withdrawal from another bank’s machine, within the same month.  For SmS, it should not be more than N4/SMS (fees on alerts are restricted to only customer-induced transactions).

A N50 stamp duty charge was introduced by the federal government in a circular last year. Bank’s customers are to pay N50 stamp duties for monies received into their accounts via electronic transfer, cash and cheque.

Some Nigerian banks process this charge by the end of the week. You would have to check your account statement to see the inflows which came in that week and calculate the charge per inflow.

For example, if you receive deposits of N20, 000 on Monday and N30, 000 on Thursday, you will incur a stamp duty charge of N100 by the end of that week.

Your bank is expected to charge you N50 monthly for card maintenance fee and N1000 one-off charge for issuance or reissuance of debit cards.

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