Deputy Speaker, bank fees or charges are a cause that we must pay considerable attention to. We all understand, vaguely, that the banks do charge too much, but closer attention paid to the "too much" reveals that we are actually being ripped off by South African banks. The poorest South Africans are the hardest hit. I cannot find a possible explanation or reason for the fact that South African banks charge over three times more than their international counterparts in fees. It is unacceptable that a South African can pay up to R22,50 to withdraw R1 000 from an ATM, while people in the developed world generally do not pay for such transactions. These fees increase significantly when a client uses an ATM other than that of their bank, with some banks charging a penalty fee that is more than double the usual rate, in addition to the charge per R100 withdrawn.
In an ideal world, the poor should not be charged for something as simple as withdrawing their funds from an ATM. Even more annoying is that South African banks offer lower interest rates on positive balances than their international counterparts.
Low-income earners should not be expected to pay bank charges in the first place. Even though banks are commercial entities that must earn a reasonable return to provide the service they provide, they must understand and be sympathetic to the environment in which they operate. No-fee withdrawals for low-income earners are not impossible in South Africa if they are possible elsewhere. One wonders what is stopping South African banks from offering the same or a similar service, taking into account the poverty levels in the country. Thank you.