Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Nigerians seek CBN, banks’ explanation for ATM monthly maintenance fee, others

Nigerians running accounts in several commercial banks have started asking serious questions on the monthly surcharge for ‘Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Maintenance Fee’, saying such charges should not be paid by customers but borne by banks as part of their general infrastructure maintenance system.
A number of commercial banks’ chiefs who managed to reply to Business Hilights questions on why the maintenance of ATM should be borne by customers, could not give any clear reason for the charge.
Officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) failed to pick their calls or respond to sms sent to that effect.
A customer of one of the new generation banks (name with held) who pleaded anonymity said “Charging customers monthly ATM maintenance fee is a clear case of fraud. Banks charge for it because the CBN is an accomplice, otherwise, the apex bank would have stopped it for long”.
“The way these banks are going in charge all sorts of fees, one day, they will charge customers ‘Official cars maintenance fee, computers maintenance fee, TV maintenance fee, DStv maintenance fee and even branch maintenance fee.
Nigerians who added their voice argued that ATMs remain key part of banks’ infrastructure and therefore should be maintained with their budgeted operational expenses and not with customers’ money simply because customers draw money or make some transactions with the machines.
According to an account holder who pleaded anonymity, “If they pay for ATM maintenance which is the bank’s asset, then the customers become automatic share holders and should be paid dividends every year”.
Already, Nigerians at home and abroad have taken to social media to lament their experiences at the hands of commercial banks, who they accuse of exploitation.
In a trending campaign that began on social media penultimate Monday, many Nigerians called for reforms of the banks.
Business Hilights recalls that last year, the CBN introduced a N100 monthly maintenance fee for a naira dominated debit card in the country and also a N50 charge for other months whether the card is used or not.
Also, the same apex bank further introduced a N4, 200-per-annum charge on foreign currency denominated cards as maintenance fee and a N50 charge on every cheque leaflet obtained and used.
During the first quarter of 2018, the same CBN said any bank that deducts monies illegally from a customer’s account for products and services would be forced to refund the money to the customer with interest. The directive was sequel to complaints by bank customers within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) over excess charges by banks through Automated Teller Machine (ATM) withdrawals and other electronic mediums.
However, last Monday, Premium Times reported a fresh campaign tagged #Reform9jaBanks and powered Nigerians in Diaspora, took to twitter as a UK-based Nigerian medical doctor, Harvey Olufunmilayo, who started the campaign, lamented the state of banks in Nigeria in comparison with banks in foreign countries.
“I have lived in UK a few years now and NEVER has my bank ever charged me one penny for bank transfer. Never. Not (for) once!” the bank user stated.
Another Nigeria based in Qatar, Eniola @Henzyshso, stated that banks in Qatar do not charge customers for the use of ATM in any bank, while a university student, Uthman Samad, explained that the United Bank of Africa (UBA) removed double ATM card maintenance fee from his account for almost a year. According to him, the charges were being deducted “on a lost ATM card which he has deactivated and renewed a year ago.”
Samad alleged that the bank’s branch manager told him that the problem emanated from the deactivation of his lost card but the bank failed to refund the questionable charges.
Another user, Emere Ogechi @EmereOgechi, a student, in a tweet explained how over N1,000 was missing in her account: “It’s painful!, my mum once sent me 5k on a Friday to buy a textbook, I had no ATM card yet so couldn’t withdraw, they kept on debiting me all through the weekend and by Monday only #3,900 was left. You should have seen me shouting for them to close the account.”
“I cannot count the number of times @wemabank had made me suffer this kinda heartbreak. Even when I don’t use the account for a month talk more getting alerts, they charge for sms and other frivolities,” said Agbede Adekunle @AgbedeAdekunleO, another user.
Another bank user, Ife Mayowa @ifemayowa0771, stated: “So I use @ZenithBank and every month I am being charged close to #165 to #200 for SMS alert. I went to tell them that I want to deactivate because I can’t be paying that much. I want to stick to email.”
Asides ATM and card maintenance charges, several persons also protested other unnecessary bank charges that are not given any prior explanation before deduction.