By Duncan Mlanjira
National Bank of Malawi (NBM) has explained to its customers that the fees it is effecting are for the services which the bank offers as per its Tariff schedule which it publishes in major newspapers, service centers and its social media channels.
In a public notice NBM released on Monday, it says application of the fees are done in January and July of each year, in line with Reserve Bank of Malawi requirements.
NBM was forced to respond this way after complaints were awash on social media attacking the bank that they were not aware what the fees were all about.
“The latest publication of the Tariff schedule has run from 30th December, 2019 to 5th January, 2020,” said the notice.
“In the 2019 tariff, e-Service bundled fee was K650.00 per month from January to June and K1,000.00 from July to date which has been maintained for the time being.
“e-Service fees apply on all ordinary accounts (except Platinum, Gold, ITF, Student and Investment Accounts).”
The bank further said service fees are collectible every month subject to availability of funds in the accounts and in the case where the customer accounts are underfunded when the fees are due, they are collected retrospectively and in full.
“However, we have noted with regret that in some instances, incorrect amounts have been deducted — the Bank deeply apologises for any inconvenience caused and is diligently working to make the necessary corrections.”
These corrections were confirmed by other social media commentators that after being deducted more than the e-Service fee, the bank then reversed the transaction and later claimed its correct amount.
However, others wondered as to why some of the deductions are marked as for the forward coming months but a source within NBM said this was for last year’s arrears.
“The past system was that the bank would effect the e-Service fees on the last day of the month and when at that point the system detected are underfunded when the fees are due, it waited until the other month’s last day.
“And if it still found underfunded accounts, it still waited up until the accounts have funds at the next last day of the month.”
The source further said the system has now been upgraded in such that it should collect the moment funds are debited to an account that had insufficient funds when the fees were due.
NBM’s notice also says card renewal and annual maintenance fees are applicable to customers with Visa cards, whose renewal fees are debited upon renewal on expiry of the card.
“Every year, for the duration of the card validity period, an annual maintenance fee is collected.
“Customers are minded that any interest earned on the accounts attracts withholding tax which is collected by the Bank on behalf of Malawi Revenue Authority.”
The Bank further said if some customers would like further clarification on tariff or specific information on their accounts they can visit nearest service centers.