business

March 29, 2022

NTSAU LEKHETHO

3 min read

Banks to stop charging fees

Banks to stop charging fees

Acting CBL Governor, Lehlomela Mohapi

Story highlights

  • New fee structure open to low-income earners
  • No charges or fees for a monthly subscription of mobile banking

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FROM April 1, local banks will stop charging fees for an array of products and services to extend the banking services to people without banking accounts and increase the number of bankable customers.

The Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL, Lehlomela Mohapi said financial inclusion, enhanced intermediation and competitive pricing were important for Lesotho to keep up with its counterparts in the Common Monetary Area (CMA), comprising Lesotho, South Africa, Namibia and Eswatini.  

“The directives follow an in-depth research work and benchmarking exercise by the CBL followed by consultations with the commercial banks,” Mr Mohapi told the media recently.

He said the directive on low-income saving/Bothebelele account was a transactional account that should be made available to members of the public earning a monthly income of M3 000 and below.

“The commissioner guides that the level of income can be verified by payslips or other verifiable sources of income,” he also said.

“In addition, respective banks are directed to put in controls that monitor transactions and therefore effectively assist to determine levels of income of account holders.”

From next week, Mr Mohapi said a new fee structure would resume, adding that there shall be no charges or fees for opening the account; no charges or fees for the first card issuance of this account; no management fees charged for this account; a customer shall not be required to hold a positive minimum balance in the account; no charges for deposits made into this account through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs); one withdrawal (from own ATM including cardless withdrawals shall be free.

There shall be no charges or fees for balance enquiries at ATMs (inclusive of mini statements), branches, mobile banking, and bank statements from internet banking; no charges or fees for one Point of Sale (POS) purchase/swipe and at least three cash-out payments per month.

There shall be no charge or fees for dormant accounts for this account; the client risk profile rating assessment for KYC requirements shall be applied for this account; the bank shall promote this account in the same manner and rigor that it promotes other service offerings; the bank shall submit verifiable evidence of promotions of this account to the Commissioner by the last day of each quarter, starting from the second quarter of 2022; and the bank shall enable the use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) for this account at no cost.

There shall be no charges or fees for cash deposits on personal accounts on ATMs; the free charges or fees shall be applicable to an amount up to a maximum of M3 000 per month.

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There shall be one free cash deposit for all cash deposits valued at an amount equivalent to M20 000 per month into accounts of SMME businesses with an annual account transaction turnover of at most M240 000.

In the case where deposits are split into smaller values, a limit of three free cash deposits whose sum per month is at most M20 000 per business should be applied. Any amount more than M20 000 per month shall be processed at standard charges which shall not exceed 0.5 percent of the deposited amount.

The banks shall not charge for self-service domestic RTGS transactions an amount more than a flat rate of M20 regardless of the amount being processed. The banks shall apply a charge or fee of an amount not exceeding M40 for dishonoured debit order transactions.

The banks shall charge a fee of an amount not exceeding one-month interest for early settlement of a loan. The banks shall charge a flat fee of M4 for local Point of Sale (POS) transactions regardless of the amount of the transaction processed.

There shall be no charges or fees for a monthly subscription of mobile banking, App, and online banking.

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