Pretoria - South Africa's banks have agreed to cut some of their retail banking fees, the finance minister said on Tuesday, which could hit profits at major lenders such as Standard Bank and Absa.
The country's biggest banks, which also include FirstRand and Nedbank, agreed to lower their penalty fees on dishonoured debit charges and to increase transparency on ATM fees and charges, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told a news conference.
The change will ensure "consumers get easier access to banking facilities and services (and) that they are getting cheaper services", Gordhan said.
"There's no doubt that there will be pressure on bank fees over the long term. The banks will not increase their individual fees anything like the percentages we've seen in the last few years," said a Johannesburg-based bank analyst who declined to be identified.
Standard Bank, South Africa's biggest by assets, said in a statement it had already made some changes in line with the government's recommendations.
South Africa's anti-competition watchdog said in a 2008 report that the country's retail banking charges were too high and recommended they be cut.
This came after a two-year investigation prompted by consumer anger and criticism from the then-governor of the central bank.