Absa freezes monthly fees

Absa has decided to freeze monthly fees on a host of its bank accounts and to provide free banking to students.

The bank which in 2020 started regaining market share lost over the years while it was under the Barclays’ rule said the monthly fee freezes and waivers will provide approximately R500 million in pricing relief to customers.

The reason? To “insulate” its customers from further financial strain as the Covid-19 pandemic left many households in South Africa struggling to make ends meet.

From March 1, Absa will not increase monthly fees for all of its core banking accounts including Absa Transact, Gold Value Bundle, Premium Banking and Private Banking.  

Monthly fees for its Student Cheque Account will be waived entirely.

“Youth and students now bank for free,” said Absa in a statement.

The student cheque account comes with benefits like monthly data, food vouchers and gym membership discounts. But after four years, Absa is hoping to generate meaningful income from these students by upgrading them to a Gold Graduate account.

Cowyk Fox, managing executive of everyday banking at Absa Retail and Business Bank said Covid-19 brought into sharp focus the need for the bank to provide customer relief across the board. As a result, the latest pricing review was aimed at alleviating pressure for consumers “from all walks of life”.

“Absa is implementing a raft of pricing changes that will provide significant value to our customers, as the country contends with the devastating economic impact of Covid-19,” said Fox.

The bank indicated in 2020 it provided R9.8 billion in payment relief to customers, and more than R250 million in relief through a combination of fee reductions and interest rate subsidies last year. It also paid out R160m in retrenchment, disability and death cover claims. -Fin24