The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) has scrapped the controversial Card Maintenance Fee(CAMF) as well as slashed the Automated Teller Machine(ATM) charge as part of the the Apex Bank’s new guidelines which takes effect from January 1, 2020.
Banks that fail to comply with the guidelines are to be sanctioned, according to the CBN directive signed by Chibuzo Efobi, on behalf of the CBN Director, Finance Policy and Regulation Department.
Consequently,banks are now to charge customers N35 for cash withdrawal from other banks’ ATM instead of the extant N65 that applied after the third withdrawal within a month.
On CAMF, the guidelines said this would be applicable only to current accounts in respect of customer-induced debit transactions to third parties and debit transfers/lodgments to the customer’s account in another bank. It prohibits CAMF on savings accounts.
The guidelines state: “To guard against excess, unapproved or arbitrary charges by banks and other financial institutions, the guide stipulates a penalty of N2,000,000 per infraction or as may be determined by the CBN from time to time for financial institutions that breach any provision of the guide.
“The guide also emphasized that failure by any bank to comply with CBN’s directive in respect of any infraction shall attract a further penalty of N2,000,000 daily until the directive is complied with or as may be determined by the CBN from time to time.”
It directed banks to log every complaint received from their customers into the Consumer Complaints Management System (CCMS) in addition to generating a unique reference code for each complaint lodged, which must be given to the customer. Failure to log and provide the code to the customer, it added, amounts to a breach and is sanctionable with a penalty of N1, 000,000 per breach.
Other major highlights of the new policy include: a maximum of N1 per mille for customer induced debit transactions to third parties and transfers or lodgments to the customers’ account in other bank on current accounts only and cut in Advance Payment Guarantee (APG) now pegged at maximum of one per cent of the APG value in the first year and 0.5 per cent for subsequent years on contingent liabilities.
On debit card charges, the new guideline stipulates that a one-off charge of N1, 000 applies to the issuance of cards, irrespective of card type (regular or premium).
It also prescribes charges permissible for Other Financial Institutions and non-bank financial institutions, in order to align with market developments.
The same one-off charge of N1,000 applies for the replacement of debit cards at the customer’s instance for lost or damaged cards. In the same vein, upon expiry of existing cards, customers are to pay the same one-off charge of N1, 000 irrespective of card type. However, no charge shall be required for pre-paid card loading/unloading.