Last month, I happened upon some money from an old investment which had matured. Rather than have it collect “one one naira” in my standard savings account, I decided not to be the fly that follows the corpse to the grave, and put it in a fixed deposit. Fixed deposits are a very popular investment option in Nigeria, and you’ll hear about them 8 times of out 10 if you do happen to ask for advice regarding how to invest money. The attraction to this sort of investment is that returns are guaranteed, and the duration of your investment is flexible. We probably like this sort of investment because they help us mitigate risks – in a country where nothing is guaranteed, we don’t tend to tie money down in long term investments and fixed deposits are the perfect solution to this investment problem. In the course of my search for a decent return on my investment, I “burnt” at least N5,000 in credit, calling banks and waiting in queues for information, and was only able to reasonably compare two banks – GTBank and First Bank.
What is a fixed deposit?
A fixed deposit is a lump sum deposited with a bank for a varying period, in exchange for interest.
How to put your money in a fixed deposit: You will need to have an existing account with the bank of your choice, and then you deposit the sum into this account. You will then need to inform your bank of your intention to “fix” the said sum for “X” number of days. It is very important that before you make your decision, that you shop around for the best rates. You are not obliged to fix your money with your existing bank, just because you bank with them. You can earn a significantly higher amount by just picking up the phone. It is the more difficult route when you consider call waiting times, credit spent etc but it is worth it, and what’s more I have done some of this hard work for you.
How long is my money fixed for?
Most banks offer flexible periods of 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 180 days and one year.
How do I get paid?
Usually, the money is removed from your account and the interest is paid into your account. So for example, you want to fix N500,000 for 60 days and the bank has offered you an interest rate of 7%. You have N550,000 in your account. Once you confirm you’re making the arrangement and sign all the necessary documentation, the N500,000 “disappears” from your account to be “fixed”. At the end of 60 days, you get paid back your original N500,000 + an additional N2,916 interest (7% x 500,000) / 12. A simplified version of what really happens behind the scenes is that the N500,000 is given to another customer who has asked for a loan – but he will be charged 20% interest (or N100,000). After 60 days, you get back your N500,000 + N2,916 (7% interest from the other customers N100,000). Not bad business for banks, if you ask me.
Bank interest rate comparisons
For my enquiries, I called First Bank and GTBank.
I rated both banks on customer service quality (pet peeve of mine, because time is money) and interest rates.
**Edit** I have been corrected on the interest rates due to an earlier error. Apparently, the rates given by the bank are annual, not monthly and thus should be divided by 12. This is a trap most people could easily fall into like I did. Whenever you’re quoted a rate on the amount, divide it by 12 for your monthly rates, and then deduct 10% tax for a more accurate reflection of what your interest is. This is how I have calculated the monthly rates in the chart and the actual rates provided by the banks are available below the chart.
7 days (First bank does not offer this service)
30 days – 9.25%
60 days: 9.50%
90 days: 9.75%
365 days: 10%
Available from N100,000 to N1m.
7 days – 3.75%
30 days – 180 days : 6.25%
Call times. My initial contact with both banks was on a Friday afternoon, at about 5.30pm. My second contact attempt with GTBank after the first one proved futile was at 3.20pm on a Sunday.
Omissions. I initially wanted to include Accessbank in this exercise, but have been unlucky in getting through to a knowledgeable person on customer service. The frontline staff I have spoken to, all seem to lack basic knowledge regarding what services their banks offer and where to get information outside the limits of their knowledge. I would recommend that training is provided for all front line staff as a matter of urgency, as customers otherwise have no way of getting informed about competitive rates for your most lucrative services.
Am I an agent? I work for neither of these banks. My selection of this two is purely by chance and accessibility of contact information via the bank websites. I simply picked the banks with the most prominent contact information via websites. My reviews are unbiased, and if I haven’t reviewed any others yet, don’t worry – “life is turn by turn”.