ATM charges: BoG report presents mixed results from banks

ATM charges: BoG report presents mixed results from banks
Source: Ghana | Philip Nanfuri | JoyBusiness
Date: 31-01-2019 Time: 04:01:58:pm

A report chronicling various charges on products and services offered by banks in the country has presented a mixed picture of ATM charges by the banks.

The report – Bank Charges as at December 2018, covers the charges of 27 banks on various products and services. 

The report covers charges from current accounts, savings accounts, cheque book charges including what is paid by customers as fees on various charges when it comes to taking a loan.

Charges on ATM are split into 3; charges on issuing, charges on cash withdrawal at a bank's own ATM and ATM card maintenance per month.

Four banks namely; First National Bank, Republic Bank, Bank of Africa and Stanbic Bank out of the 27 other banks issue ATM cards for free. 

GHL Bank issues only current account ATM cards for free. The rest charge between as low as GH¢5 to as high as GH¢40. 

The cost may also depend on the type of ATM cards as some cards one with different withdrawal limits and other added benefits. 

If you were withdrawing your own cash at the ATM you would imagine it will be for free right? According to the data, a bank like Prudential will charge GH¢ 0.25- GH¢0.40 on a cash withdrawal at the Bank's own ATM. 

NIB goes up to GH¢0.50 with Zenith Bank charging GH¢1 for VISA and MASTER CARDS.

In maintaining an ATM card, be prepared to pay GH¢ 2.5 a month with CAL Bank and as GH¢15 for STANDARD CHARTERED, GH¢10-20 a quarter for STANBIC and FREE if you bank with Universal Merchant Bank (UMB).

Another interesting feature of the report is the figures on minimum operating balance banks ensure customers maintain. On the average, if a customer wants to maintain a fully function savings account, he or she may need between GHC 0 which is the lowest and as high as GHC 2500. This high figure of GHC 2500 is as the data reveals is what Societe Generale will need as a minimum operating balance for a savings account.

Minimum balance

A minimum operating balance is what must be left in the account regardless of what you may withdraw. You cannot draw down on your account exceeding that amount.  

So if your minimum operating balance is GH¢30 such as ECOBANK'S which is contained in the report and you deposit GH¢500, your balance may read GH¢ 530 but you cannot withdraw all of it. You must leave the GHC 30. It cannot be withdrawn.

On the other side, if you would want a loan from the 27 banks captured in the report then be prepared to pay some charges. Banks charge fees on loan arrangements as a way to cover their costs of putting the loan together.

According to the Bank of Ghana, there are about 5 different types of fees charged by the 27 banks captured in the report. These are commitment fee, processing/establishment fee, arrangement fee, and insurance fee. 

The rates charged may differ based on if an individual which is categorized as RETAIL is borrowing or a company which is categorized as CORPORATE.

For example, a bank may charge between 0.25% to 2% of the total loan amount as a commitment fee. Commitment Fee is actually charged and used to compensate the lender. 

This is charged so that just in case you do not want to use the loan again, the bank or lender is compensated for actually getting ready and planning to set funds aside to lend to you. 

For some banks, the cost will not change if you are a retail customer or corporate customer but others factor this into the commitment fee. You may pay more if you are corporate and less if you are a retail customer.

Another significant fee is the Insurance fee on your loan. Banks will typically charge between 0.00% - 2.25% of the loan amount. This rate may be negotiable depending on the type of loans and may be paid upfront depending on the bank in question.

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