Some customers of Access (Diamond) and Fidelity Bank have decried the arbitrary deduction of charges from their accounts by their banks.
The customers who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday, described the act as inconsiderate, bearing in mind the current state of the country’s economy due to the pandemic.
Mr Collins Yastrup, a journalist and a customer of both Fidelity and Access Banks, said he was shocked when different debit alerts were sent to his phone from the two banks.
Ibe who said the debits were uncalled for during this time, however, hailed Access bank for the prompt refund of his monies.
“Yes, Access bank debited my money but they have refunded it but the bank that has taken a lot from my account is Fidelity. They have killed me with their debit alerts.
“In short, I am speechless. Sometimes, they take N100, N200 and all is within this lockdown. In fact, it is much.
“These banks are never tired of collecting monies from their customers. Any money that hits my account, they will collect like N100 straight, ’’ he explained.
Mrs Onyinye Ibe, a business woman and a customer of Access (Diamond) bank, told NAN that although the bank had refunded the money they deducted from her account, it was not complete.
“The bank debited N500 from my account but they only refunded N300. This is illegal and dubious.
“I started getting different debit alerts from my bank saying it is stamp duty charges.
“I heard that the stamp duty money will be paid to the Federal Government but the government is giving people palliatives in this COVID-19 season, so, I don’t understand.
“This is robbing Peter to pay Paul,’’ she said.
An artisan and a customer of Access Bank, Malam Idris Gambo, said the continuous deduction from his account was discouraging.
Gambo said that if the act continued, he would be forced to close his account with the bank and start home-savings.
“These banks should know that we are not fools. They are in business because we are there so, they should not joke with us,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Access Bank on its official twitter page: @myaccessbank wrote “with you, we stand strong. This is why we have decided to bear the stamp duty charges on behalf of our customers for the affected period (February to April 2020).
“Earlier this week, we informed all our customers that we had inadvertently not charged stamp duty on some accounts from February to April 2020 as mandated by the Federal Government.
“Stamp duty charge collection is in compliance with the mandate of the Finance Act, 2019 (Stamp Duty Act, Cap S8).
“We are required by law to apply this charge as applicable and remit all funds collected to the Federal Government.
“However, we have heard our customers’ feedback that this charge is unwelcomed, especially at this time against a challenging economic backdrop.
“We have considered your feedback and have decided to pay the stamp duty on our customers’ behalf for the affected period only.
“This means that all individuals and SMEs who were debited for the accumulated stamp duty charge for February to April 2020, will be refunded,’’ the bank said.
A banker with Fidelity Bank who preferred anonymity said the bank was not charging customers arbitrarily.
According to the source, yes, we charge our customers for stamp duty but we don’t deduct charges that are not within our policy.
NAN reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s guidelines stipulates a stamp duty fee of N50 on every transaction worth N1000 or more, to be paid by he receiver of the money is meant to pay the N50 stamp duty, and not the sender.
The CBN, however, released another revised guidelines recently which states that a graduated fee scale for electronic transfer replaces the current flat fee of N50.
Accordingly, it noted that transfers below N5,000 will attract a maximum charge of N10, transfer from N5001 to N50,000 would attract N25 and transfers above N50,000 would attract N50.
The guidelines stated that card maintenance fee on current account had been removed as the accounts already attracted account maintenance fee, while Savings account would attract card maintenance fee of N50 per quarter from N50 per month.
It disclosed that annual card maintenance fee on FCY denominated cards was reduced from 20 dollars to 10 dollars, while remote on us ATM charges were reduced to N35 after third withdrawal within a month from N65.
“The charge for hardware token will on cost recovery basis be subject to a maximum of N2,500 from previous maximum charge of N3,500, while And fee for SMS mandatory alert will be on cost recovery from previous maximum charge of four naira.
“Bill payment via E channels will attract a maximum charge of N500 from 0.75 per cent of transaction value subject to maximum of N1,200,” the guidelines explained. (NAN)