Be careful about bank charges

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If you have not been paying keen attention to the latest survey of bank charges done by the Ministry of Industry then you should.

After reading it, we are determined to make as few withdrawals as possible and try to curtail any bank transactions. My word when you add up all the charges combined, you might see the money in your accounts dwindling fast.

I mean, are these the same banks that are using our money to invest and accumulate their wealth and then they turn around and charge us big for affording them the opportunity to do just that?

People, it’s time to start using up the Credit Unions, one they don’t have these hever service charge burdens, their interest rates are much lower and I think they are really cool otherwise.

Check out of the charges the banks are hitting you with:

NCB had the highest number of increases with 45 out of 58 (78 per cent) followed by RBTT, which increased the rates on 40 out of 58 of its fees and charges. PCB had the least amount of changes, according to the survey, which showed it increasing 28 per cent of its fees.

FGB recorded the highest increase of all the charges, with the balance enquiry fee at its ABMs and its fee for declined transactions at the bank's point-of-sale (POS) machines increasing 400 per cent from $6 to $30. Withdrawal fees at FGB's ABM also increased 144 per cent to $33. However, this is still in line with the charges for a similar transaction at other banks, which charge within the range of $30.

Only RBTT charges below this at $15. In general, ABM fees have increased across all banks with increases ranging from as low as one per cent to as much as 65 per cent at Scotiabank and 114 per cent at NCB.

Fees on personal services, including withdrawal and deposit in savings accounts, minimum balance violation and dormant account charges have also increased as much as 127 per cent. While the banks charge as much as $200 for in-bank withdrawals, only Scotiabank charges a fee to make deposits in savings accounts in-bank, that charge being $150.

The contentious minimum balance fees range from $124.06 at FCIB to $180 at NCB, which increased its minimum balance violation fee by 125 per cent over the $80 charged last year. Scotiabank charges $150 per month for balances below $5,000, while customers at NCB pay $180 for balances below $2,000. Estimates are that up to 60 per cent of the deposits in commercial banks are below $5,000.

Customers will also have to pay as much as 127 per cent more per year if the account falls dormant. Charges range between $155.32 at FCIB to $1000 at Scotiabank, while customers of NCB will pay $350 for the same infraction.