I often hear people saying how much we pay on bank charges, so I thought I would have a quick look at what I spend on bank fees every month – and wow, I am wasting a lot! It took me 10 minutes to review my bank statement and realize that I am spending nearly R450 a month.
Here is a quick review of my bank charges (aka wastage):
- Maintenance fee: I pay a high monthly maintenance fee because I have a personal banker and an American Express card – I appear to be paying a lot every month for a card that almost no vendors anywhere outside of the USA accept! On top of that I pay a R35 saswitch fee every time I withdraw from a different bank. And don’t forget the VAT on all of this.
- The garage card: this appears to cost me R38 a month on service and credit fees, plus R5 every time I fill up. But when I fill up using my credit card it costs me nothing! This is a no brainer.
And while I was doing this I found that two small, rather random amounts of R55 and R57 per month that I had cancelled two months ago are still going off. I phoned them and had that stopped – again!
So, I called my bank yesterday to discuss how to reduce my monthly bank charges. We agreed the garage card is very ‘old-school’ as both my debit card and credit card will do the trick without costing me in bank charges. That is cancelled!!
I then discussed the monthly fees. The high saswitch fees for withdrawing at a different bank is not going to change – so I just need to be more disciplined and only use my bank’s ATMs. However, on the ‘package’ I have the banker seemed convinced that I was on a good deal as I get free withdrawals, low interest rate on the Amex credit card etc. When I pointed out that I don’t want the Amex she convinced me to keep it as a back-up card. So, I agreed to make the other changes, stay on this package and watch the bank charges over the next few months.
I’m not sure if I’ve just been hoodwinked by my banker or given good advice… we will need to monitor these bank charges for a bit to find out I guess.
I am feeling rather chuffed with myself – a little bit of tidying up on the bank accounts may have just saved me a bit every month on reduced bank charges – which adds up to a lot every year!!
In my next column, I will talk about my cell phone insurance – more changes there!