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Absa is SA's most expensive bank, says Solidarity

Staff Reporter

After an increase of 8% in bank charges in 2011, Absa remains the most expensive commercial bank in SA, with Capitec the cheapest, says Solidarity.

Absa is still the most expensive bank in the country, trade union Solidarity said on Thursday.

“Banking giant Absa, identified as one of the two most expensive banks in South Africa in the Solidarity Movement’s first report on bank charges last year, has retained its title,” it said in a statement.

“Moreover, the bank charges of Absa’s cheapest account went up by 8%, while Capitec’s bank charges were not increased at all this year.”

The other most expensive bank was Standard Bank.

This was according to the Solidarity Research Institute’s (SRI) second report on bank charges released by the Solidarity Movement, which consists of Solidarity, AfriForum, Solidarity Helping Hand and the Solidarity Investment Company.

The report compares the bank charges of the various personal bank accounts offered by five of the country’s commercial banks—Absa, First National Bank, Standard Bank, Nedbank and Capitec.

Capitec’s the cheapest
Capitec’s Global One account was found to be the cheapest.

“The average bank charges of this account over eight different user profiles amount to R67.35 a month and have not been increased since 2010,” said Paul Joubert, senior researcher at the SRI.

“Absa’s cheapest option, the Silver Package account, has average monthly charges that are more than double that of the Capitec account.

“The charges also rose by 8%, from R140.90 to R152.15, between 2010 and 2011,” he said.

Absa was not immediately available to comment.

FNB’s cheapest account was the Smart Unlimited with a monthly bank charge of R73.10.

Nedbank’s cheapest was Savvy Electronic account at R105.04 monthly.

The cheapest Standard Bank account was its Classic Cheque fixed fee account at R133.43.

These costs were calculated using an average of eight transactional profiles and excluding minimum balances and the effect of interest.

Capitec also has the least expensive transmission account—an account without an overdraft facility.

However, when linked to an overdraft, a chequebook and a credit card, FNB offers the cheapest current accounts, according to the report.

Business accounts were not included in the comparisons and the analysis of the bank charges was based on various hypothetical scenarios.

After the release of the first report last year, Solidarity moved its accounts from Absa to FNB and Investec.—Sapa

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