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Viva Capitec!

Jan 10 2013 10:33
Fin24 user Jo-Anne Steenkamp writes:

Dear Sir/Madam

As a bookkeeper for a number of small and medium businesses over the years, I have worked closely with all the banks’ systems at some point or another.

I have also personally been a client of Nedbank Group [JSE:NED] and Absa Group [JSE:ASA], and am currently an FNB client for my business accounts (from which I do occasionally take drawings). Capitec Bank Holdings [JSE:CPI] has my personal account.

I have a number of questions that come to mind in light of the Capitec/Absa “glitch”.

1 If it is usual but “not outside the interbank card system rule” for a transaction to take 19 days to clear (albeit 13 working days), what exactly does this rule state? Does this mean it is allowable for such a transaction to take three weeks to clear?

2. Why would local transactions need to go through the Master Card International clearing system? This smacks of finding an excuse to up transactional charges.

And if Master Card requires this, I would imagine that Master Card’s systems are up to the challenge, especially since Capitec must have received confirmation of completed purchases, without which they would have had no idea that the purchase had been concluded, in order to be able to send a confirmation SMS.

3. What does it say about our citizens’ fiscal responsibility that when, as one of your quoted clients said, they received SMS notifications with correct balances and the money was suddenly available again a few days later, they went ahead and spent it? Did they hope someone had messed up and they wouldn’t get caught?

I have a suspicion that Absa may have purposely sabotaged Capitec to tarnish Capitec’s image. I have had precisely one problem with Capitec, to the tune of R8, in the four years I have been their client. I have had quite a few queries, and have never had trouble getting through to the call centre.

Personal experiences with the other banks include:

1. Nedbank took over my personal banking from Absa because they offered me 2% below prime on my home loan. When after two years I was still paying prime despite regularly following up, I moved the home loan to SA Homeloans.

2. Nedbank also charged me R110 per bounced debit order from 2001 to beginning 2003. When I read their fee booklet, one type of account was supposed to be charged R35 per bounced debit order, and another type of account was quoted at R75.

When I queried why I was being charged the sum of the two, instead of R35 as per my booklet, they started charging me R75. They did not reverse the previous two years’ worth of transactions. (I was not a very responsible person at the time; when I tallied up bounced debit orders for the four years I was with Nedbank, they made up more than R19 000 of my R25 000 overdraft).

3. Nedbank “lost” a payment of around R20 000 that I made in 2004 for more than three weeks. My supplier did not receive the payment, but the amount did not reappear on my account. It took many phone calls to both Nedbank and Absa to finally track down the EFT. Neither my supplier nor I received corrective interest.

4. Standard Bank Group [JSE:SBK] also overcharged a client of mine according to their fees brochure. When I queried this, Standard Bank refunded more than R4 000 but would only go back two years.

They then stated that the type of account was different to the type of account noted on the bank statement, and that the higher fees would apply going forward. 

5. The same client discovered in 2012 that an employee had been embezzling from them since 2005. Standard Bank could provide contradictory information about payments made to three specific accounts, but only going back two years. When we asked for information going back to 2005, they stated that they could only go back five years.

They also said they would charge R85 per transaction found. When I gave them the criminal case number and pointed out that I couldn’t see how they would be able to charge the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the information when SAPS got round to demanding it, they magnanimously “waived” the fee.

6. FNB once triple-charged me for archive bank statements. I followed up for months but it was never corrected.

7. In 2010, I transferred funds from one FNB account to another (the only one on which I had a card) on a Sunday morning, in order to pay for a family birthday lunch later that afternoon. The payment transaction went through fine (there was no overdraft facility), but I was charged interest for the account having been “in debit”.

8. In Feb 2012, I transferred funds from one FNB account to another at 21h15 in order to meet a debit order that would be presented the next day. I received an SMS saying the debit order had been honoured, stating the remaining credit balance.

Then I received an SMS saying that the debit order had been reversed due to insufficient funds, and a bounced debit order fee charged. Their excuse was that “banksurf” did not process transactions after 9pm. In this case they did reverse the unpaid item charge of R115.

9. In November and December 2012, all FNB ATMs were offline on two occasions, once from about 8pm until after 7am, and once from 7pm until at least midnight.

Capitec does the following amazing things right:

1. If it receives funds from a different bank, it usually makes those funds available on the same day between 6pm and 8pm. Other banks reflect such payments somewhere between midnight and 7am, unless the sending bank has charged its client and immediate clearance fee of R38-R50.

2. On my Capitec online banking, I can draw statements for up to two years ago at no charge.

3. If Capitec does not send me an SMS notification for some reason, it also doesn’t charge for the SMS notification.

4. It generally costs me less to make a Capitec cash withdrawal via another bank than other banks charge for withdrawals from their own ATMs.

If you’ve read this far, thanks for letting me rant! Viva Capitec.

 - Fin24

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