Here's the rundown on ABSA's charges, where my family has banked for many, many years (and ABSA is not necessarily the worst- we can do this again for FNB, Standard, Sanlam, and many others) You can download their 30 pages of fees here.
- There's a monthly fee and usually an annual fee.
- If you want to put your money in the bank, they take a percentage of that.
- If you want to buy anything with the money in your bank account, they take a percentage of that
- If you get angry and want to withdraw your money or take it somewhere else, they take a percentage of that.
- If you want to find out if you have any money left in the bank, there's a flat fee for that.
- And after you find out you don't have any money, and you want to know where all your money went, there's a flat fee for that.
- And, of course, there are also the administrative fees.
- Then, you'll get an overdraft fee because you ran out of money.
- It's your money! The banks have the privilege of investing it.
I suggest credit unions are one way. Without even considering socially responsible investing, many South African banks show themselves to be profit-mongering and NOT client-centered. Banks should represent the interests of the average client. If they don't, lets form Credit Unions and leave the banks to their large deals and outrageous charges.
Our small act of opposition, in the absence of credit unions: A potential beacon of light in the SA banking world: we're going with Capitec, which seems relatively small, but has only one kind of account with a R4.50 monthly fee and a R1.00 fee to withdraw cash at Pick'n Pay. These are the only fees we'll have to pay. They also offer 4.75% interest on your regular [checking] account. We'll let you know our experiences. And maybe one day we can be part of forming a credit union, or building strong and effective South African equivalents, known as SACCOs (check out the league here) in Cape Town.