As competition heats up, Capitec keeps online fees unchanged

Capitec, the country's biggest bank by client numbers, says its fees for digital banking will remain unchanged in 2020 and customers will continue to earn interest on transactional accounts.

The bank, which has over 6.9 million digital clients, has positioned itself as the cheapest in the market. It said the cost of managing cash had increased more than inflation, driving the need for affordable online cash exchange.

Electronic payments fees will remain the same at R1, and transfers between a customer's own accounts, email statements and the purchase of airtime and electricity will be free on digital platforms. The Global One monthly administration fee remains unchanged at R5.

The unchanged fees follow a previous decision in 2019 to lower digital banking fees.

"Last year we lowered our digital banking fees, helping our clients to save over R200m. This year we’re not increasing those fees," Capitec CEO, Gerrie Fourie, said in a statement.

He said the move is aimed at ensuring safer cash transfer compared to handling large amounts of money.

Account holders will continue to earn interest on their transactional account, something the bank said was not offered by the other four big banks. Clients earn from 4.5% interest p.a. on daily balances.

"We believe your transactional account should grow your money and not just hold it," said Fourie. 

Debit order fees remain the same at R3.50 and app-based debit order disputes, which has seen a significant rise across banks due to cases of fraudulent transactions, remains at  R5.

Approving debit orders on DebiCheck, a new type of debit order requiring confirmation from the client before an order can go ahead, costs R1.

"We’ve kept these fees affordable as people often have numerous debit orders, which can quickly add up each month," said Fourie. 

But not all prices will remain the same - there will be some adjustments in other services as from March 1. Withdrawals from Capitec ATMs will go up from R6 to R8 per R1 000, while withdrawals from non-Capitec ATMs will go up from R8 to R9 per R1 000.

Standard Bank, the country's largest bank by assets, last year announced that monthly fees for its entry level account, MyMo, will remain constant at R4.95 and  withdrawal fees for the same account will remain the same in 2020 at R6.50 for amounts under R1 000. The fee goes up to R13.00 for amounts up R2 000.

South Africa's banking scene has seen an increased competition from new digital banks in recent years, prompting fierce competition to attract and retain customers.

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