Data released by the Central Bank last week, detailing various charges offered by banks in the country, has shown a wide range of service charges demanded for the use of current accounts by SME’s and Corporate entities.
The report reveals that some banks service charges per month are inordinately high at GHc 1,000 for both SME and Corporate accounts, whereas others charge nothing for exactly the same services rendered.
The report – Survey of Bank Charges, dated March 31st, 2019 conducted by the Financial Stability Department of the Bank of Ghana covers the 23 banks operating in the country.
Two banks; Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) and Republic Bank have their service charges for corporate accounts at GHc 1,000 and at between GHc 20 to GHc 1, 000, respectively. For the SME accounts, ADB charges GHc 100 while Republic bank charges between GHc 20 and GHc 1,000.
Most of the remaining banks charge between GHc 500 and GHc 100 per month on corporate accounts while others anywhere GHc 100 and nothing at all.
The report further shows that on average, the minimum operating balance banks insist on for their customers with corporate and SME current accounts to keep their accounts active range from GHC 0 to as high as GHC 2000.
A minimum operating balance is the least quantum of funds that must be left in the account at any time for it to remain active. A customer cannot draw down on the account to less than that amount.
To open an SME account customers have to deposit anywhere between GHC 0 and GH¢ 4000, again depending on the bank and for a current account, for corporate accounts, a customer has to make an initial deposit of between GHC 0 and GHC 1000.
Charges on ATM are separated into three sets; charges on issuing, charges on cash withdrawal at a bank’s own ATM and ATM card maintenance per month.
From the report, in issuing an ATM card, some banks charge as high as GHC 50 for issuing an ATM card. Some banks graduate their issuing fees based on whether the account is a current account or savings account while some also charge issuing fees based on the type of card the customer wants with regards to different withdrawal limits and other features.
According to the data, in withdrawing cash at the ATM, account holders of a bank like Prudential will charge between GHc 0.25- GHc 0.40 on cash withdrawal at the Bank’s own ATM, while National Investment Bank goes as high as GHc 0.50 with Zenith Bank charging GHc 1 for each VISA and Master Card transaction and GHC 0.18 for transactions using its own Proprietary Cards.
In maintaining an ATM card, account holders should be prepared to pay GHc 2.5 per month with CAL Bank and as high GHc 15 per month for Standard Chartered, while Stanbic Bank charges GHc15-20 a quarter.