Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) committed to the promotion of the rights of consumers, has uncovered flaws in the country’s banking sector.
A survey by CPA revealed that most of the commercial banks operating in the country were overcharging their customers for services rendered to them.
At a press conference in Accra yesterday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CPA, Kofi Kapito, said it was realized that customers were charged for services, which under normal circumstances should not attract charges.
‘It was realized that banks have different charges for services such as ATM, and also when ordering for cheque books, customers are made to pay counter cheques at the bank premises.’
‘Banks are charging for visa fees while some make their customers pay for the ATM cards,’ it said.
But the CPA was of the view that customers ‘need not be charged because all the ATM machines that display the Visa Logo should allow clients withdraw money from machines since the bank charges customers monthly for using those services just as it is done in other jurisdictions.’
This, according to the CEO, was because ‘it is advantageous for the bank itself when customers use the ATM because it helps increase efficiency since most customers will not use the banking hall and therefore reduces staff rate for the bank itself.’
Furthermore, he said, ‘If these services are high, people are discouraged not to save with the banks.
It called on the banks to charge uniform charges, adding ‘customers of one bank need not pay more for the same cheque book of other banks, which have the same security features.’
Kofi Kapito also advised banks to halt charging customers over the counter cheques, adding that ‘just as there are withdrawal forms for savings, there should also be withdrawal forms for current accounts.
He also urged all banks to make their charges transparent to assist the customers.
‘The Bank of Ghana (BoG), as a regulator, should also engage the commercial banks to conform to the best internal banking practices,’ Mr. Kapito stressed.
According to him, the time has come for commercial banks put an end to the practice of charging customers for processing their ATM cards.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu & Melvin Tarlue
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