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EXPLAINED: 7 things you need to know about CBN's new guide on bank charges

Going forward, there will be no more charges for reactivation or closure of accounts such as savings, current and domiciliary accounts.

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CBN headquarters

So, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN on Sunday released new guidelines on guide to charges by banks, other financial and no-bank financial institutions, which provides a basis for the application of charges on various products and services offered by banks and other regulated institutions under purview. The new guide replaces the current one which was released in 2017 and will take effect from January 1, 2020. 

Here are 7 things you need to know about the new guide.

1. Savings Account Holders Will Still Pay Card Maintenance Fee: So, your bank will still charge you for card maintenance fee, despite the review of the charges.

What has, however, changed is that you will no longer be changed the N50 card maintenance fee every month. Instead, you will be charged per quarter. This brings your total cost of card maintenance to N200 per year as opposed to N600 per year.

2. Current Account Maintenance Fee (CAMF) Is Now One Naira: First, the current account maintenance fee is strictly for current accounts. Savings account are exempted from paying that.

Second, what has changed is that current account holders will no longer pay N50 for every transaction no matter how much is involved. Instead, they will be charged one naira per every 1000 naira.

This shall apply to only “for customer induced debit transactions to third parties and transfers or lodgements to the customers’ account in other banks on current accounts only”.

Also, the card maintenance fee is scrapped for cards linked to naira-denominated current accounts.

3. ATM Withdrawal Charges Is Now N35: So, this one is straightforward. As against paying N65 when you use other banks’ automated teller machines, ATMs for the fourth time in a month, you will now be charged only N35.

4. Your Debit Card Will Still Cost N1,000: So, your bank charges you 1,000 for a new ATM. If you lose it and need to replace it, they will charge you another 1,000 naira. That remains the same in the new guideline.

What has changed, however, is that banks can no longer charge more than 1,000 naira for premium debit cards. And no charge shall be required for pre-paid card loading/unloading.

5. Closing or Reactivating Your Account Should Cost Nothing: Before now, your bank could reactivate your account by simply depositing some money into it. But not so with closing the account. There would be charges. But going forward, there will be no more charges for reactivation or closure of accounts such as savings, current and domiciliary accounts.

Also, read 5 Takeaways From CBN’s Monetary Policy Strategy

However, if you walk into your bank and demands a status enquiry such as confirmation letter, letter of non-indebtedness and reference letter, your bank reserves the right to charge you a fee of N500 per request. But no more than that.

6. Your Hardware Token Is Now N2,500: So, right now, banks charge N3,500 for the hardware token used to complete electronic transactions. But the new guideline has mandated the banks to charge no more than a recovery cost of N2,500 per hardware token. Customers will also bear the cost in the event of physical damage, loss of token or replacement after expiration, also subject to a maximum recovery cost of N2,500.

Software token, aka, one-time password remains free.

7. USSD Charges Shall Continue to Apply: So, you may recall that sometime in March this year, some telecom companies tried to charge Nigerians N4 for every 20 seconds spent on, Use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, USSD transactions. Fortunately, the CBN distanced itself from the plan and the Nigerian Communications Commission shut it down almost immediately. That may have accounted for why the CBN didn’t touch the USSD charges in the new guideline. The charges remain the same.

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