Cape Town - Hundreds of Capitec Bank Holdings [JSE:CPI] clients on Sunday flocked to
branches because they thought their accounts were compromised.
It turned out transactions that were done in December last
year, most notably between 16 and 19 December, were only effected on Sunday
But the explanation by branch staff members that certain
merchants delayed "banking" transactions in December didn't soothe
the shock, panic and confusion among irate clients. In fact, it raised more
"Why would all the retailers, including restaurants,
decide to bank at the same time (and that on a Saturday night)? Capitec must
own up," a client said.
Some clients who thought they were billed twice for the same
transaction demanded their money back: "Just over R2 700 was taken off my
account. I can't even recall such a transaction. I demand a refund," one
client told Fin24.
Another said it is unfair for transactions to go through
weeks after you have done your shopping, this despite having received an SMS
confirmation instore of the purchase.
"People work according to the
balances shown. This has put most of us into the red," said another called
Mike. He saw three transactions from different merchants go through as early as
03:00 on Sunday morning.
People who were queuing outside the Kenilworth branch even
before the bank opened at 09:00 on Sunday said during time they spent on hold
on the client contact service number, hackers could have done more transactions.
Complaints on customer service site Hellopeter.com confirmed
the widespread confusion. One client, Brian Wiggils, posted: "I was
billed twice for the same transaction and approximately R1 400 was taken out of
my account... how am I supposed to get to work now if the bank has taken my finances
allocated for petrol?"
Another complained: "Capitec has just debited two
transactions I made to two stores back on December 2 and 18 already."
R2 600 came off another's account for a transaction made on
One client said: "What is going on with Capitec? They
were one of the best banks but are quickly becoming one of the worst.
"A lot of EFT purchases were deducted from my account
when they were made and a few days later the money was available again. This
happened to over six transactions over the December holidays. It is very
difficult to keep track of these amounts and then you overspend.
"This morning, January 6, I got the shocking surprise
that my account is being debited with all these small amounts that added up to
over R2 000. The same thing happened to my wife's account with over R1 000 also
in December and it was corrected today as well.
"I feel this is very unfair as this was a mistake on
the bank's side. They should take this amount back in instalments. Please
Capitec, get your act together or I will have to switch banks."
Capitec client C Pambane was on hold for over an hour until
his air time ran out when he wanted to cancel his card for fear of further
transactions: "Surely there has to be a better way to provide service than
this, especially when one's money is involved?
"I have had to transfer the remaining funds to my other
account in case more money is withdrawn," he said.
Charl Nel, head of communication at Capitec Bank, told Fin24
that it is "actually not a hacking situation".
"The information we have at this moment is that some
merchants did not 'bank' their point of sale machine transactions until last
night. Some even date back to December 18.
"This means clients that transacted at those merchants
only see the money moved out of their account last night.
"This obviously is unexpected and creates confusion
with clients. Fortunately our branches in malls are open on Sundays and clients
can check at those branches or on their Internet Banking pages that this was
actually not a fraudulent transaction, rather a late transaction."
Nel said the Capitec call centre experienced high call
volumes on Sunday morning and they are dealing with all enquiries as they come
Capitec made a call on merchants to regularly bank their
transactions to avoid a recurrence of the situation.
"We do believe we will not be
the only bank being affected by a merchant (who can be a client of any bank and
have any bank's point of sale machine) who banks his/her point of sale
Capitec echoed Nel's explanation on its facebook page:
"Note that we are aware that some merchants banked their Point of Sale
"This meant that purchases done earlier only reflected on some
clients' accounts today. There is no way to force merchants to bank their
machines daily. Machines can be linked to any bank."
Capitec clients experienced a similar scare in May 2012.
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