It wasn’t that long ago that I was rejoicing over the abolition of COT charges on current accounts. Only to realise that they didn’t actually remove it, they only baptised it and called it “Account Maintenance Charge”. There is however one thing about this baptism that banks won’t tell you, and it is that the charge is actually negotiable. Here is the CBN mandate which explains this.
You will notice that the last line of this reads “…a negotiable current account maintenance fee not exceeding ₦1 per mille (per ₦1,000) may be charged in respect of all customer induced debit transactions”.
Things to note:
- The fee is applicable to only current account
- It must not exceed ₦1 for every ₦1,000 you draw from your account. So, if you withdraw ₦100,000, you pay a ₦100 charge
- The fee is negotiable.
I’ll expand on that last point a little. This means that you can actually negotiate with your bank how much you want to pay, for this and going by the CBN’s guidelines, you bank would have to honour your request and look into the charges.
The president of the consumer finance group, CAFON suggests that if you are unwilling to pay the ₦1 maximum fee, you should write to your bank stating that since the fee is negotiable, you are unwilling to make the payment of ₦1 per ₦1,000. Apparently, the bank can take into consideration your transaction volume and give you either a total waiver, or a fee as low as 5 kobo per ₦1,000 which is a fantastic deal at 95% discount if you ask me!
Just adjust this to your taste, remove the coloured text, print it out and take to your branch manager, explaining that you would like to negotiate your fees, and that you have already put your desire to do this in writing.