By Pride Mahlangu
Financial services group, CBZ Holdings, says it will review downwards its Point of Sale (POS) charges following a backlash from its customers.
Frustrated consumers took to social media platforms like Twitter to condemn CBZ and other banks for charging a flat $10 Point of Sale (POS) charge, even for transactions less than $10.
The giant bank was forced to respond on Twitter and later issued a statement responding to client objections.
In its statement, CBZ said it had heard its customers’ concerns over the high charges.
“We have taken into consideration your concerns regarding POS charges and are proud to advise that we are in the process of reviewing these downwards,” said CBZ.
The financial services group said it will advise the new charges as soon as they are agreed.
Recently there has been widespread concern after most banks increased their charges to between $7 and $10 per transaction when swiping.
In the context of cash shortages, the increase has meant that consumers incur higher costs when paying for goods and services, which discourages use of plastic money.
The move has been condemned by consumer lobby groups who have appealed to monetary authorities to intervene. Analysts have queried why banks were no longer seeking approval from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for review of their bank charges including the POS tariffs.
With RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya expected to present this year’s monetary policy statement later this month, hopes are high that bank charges will be under focus.
In the past, economists called on the need to have banking services free of charge to inspire the informal sector to formalise their businesses by banking proceeds and relying more on plastic money.
Meanwhile, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, has conceded that bank charges were high and suggested banks should give interest to depositors.
The minister is on record as saying both local and foreign currency accounts should attract interest to encourage more deposits and rebuild confidence in the banking sector.
Some banks have maintained tight cash withdrawal limits, apparently in a bid to force customers to make as many electronic transactions as possible so that the institutions make money through transaction costs. The Chronicle