FNB will increase the monthly account fee for all but its two entry-level accounts with effect from July 1.
It says “the average increase on bundled accounts is below inflation”.
The largest price increase is for the new middle market account, Aspire, which it launched last year to replace its Gold account. However, the R105 per month fee for Aspire’s ‘unlimited’ pricing option (from R99 currently) remains below the R109 per month that it charged for its Gold account until July last year.
The Fusion version of Aspire, which is a dual current account and credit card, will see no price increase.
Its ‘private banking’-type accounts (Premier, Private Clients and Private Wealth) will see monthly fees increase by around 5%.
|Monthly account fee||2021/22||2022/23||Change|
|Easy PAYU (pay-as-you-use)||R4.95||R4.95||–|
|Aspire (formerly ‘Gold’)||R99||R105||6.1%|
|Private Clients (bundled)||R419||R440||5%|
|Private Clients Fusion||R399||R420||5.3%|
|Private Wealth (bundled)||R529||R555||4.9%|
|Private Wealth Fusion||R499||R525||5.2%|
These are the other major changes announced by the bank:
FNB Easy customers will now get one free eWallet money send per month, while the other accounts (from Aspire to Private Wealth) get two free eWallet sends a month. The bank continues to drive down the use of cash across its customer base and keeping money within the eWallet ecosystem. This is why it launched the Easy Zero account, which is effectively a no-monthly-fee account built on top of its money send platform – more than half of this base upgraded from eWallet. Today, FNB has eight million eWallets with R33 billion in value that was transferred over past 12 months.
The fees to draw cash at ATMs will continue to increase – this trend has been entrenched for well over a decade. Cardless cash withdrawals at its ATMs (by using the FNB App) will now no longer be free. These will be charged at half of the normal cash rate for the withdrawal. Cash@Till, where withdrawals can be made at Checkers, Shoprite, U-Save, Pick n Pay and Boxer stores, will remain free. So-called ‘bundled’ account pricing options (from Aspire up to Private Wealth) include a monthly amount that can be withdrawn from FNB ATMs at no charge. On Premier, for example, cash withdrawals and deposits at FNB ATMs are free up to R4 000 a month.
FNB says it will also waive additional charges for the use of other banks’ ATMs during peak periods (examples include month-end and dates when social grants are paid).
Upper income segment
FNB is pivoting to a model where its private bankers become “advisors”.
This will be in place for Private Clients and Private Wealth customers, and in time will likely extend downwards into Premier. The bank says traditionally advisors have been “docked” in the investment and fiduciary space. It believes it can add value with advice to clients across its transact, insure and lending pillars.
International payment fees
Executives at the bank emphasise that travel is back and that they can see many more customers travelling globally in their data. From July 1, FNB will reduce international payment fees from 2.75% to 2% per transaction for all customers.
The biggest structural change to eBucks is for FNB Premier, Private Clients and Private Banking customers. Here, customers no longer need to have a minimum monthly deposit (or average inflows) to qualify for rewards. On Aspire, customers only need to do one app transaction a month, not three (upper income customers need also no longer log in to the FNB app to qualify – the bank says this behaviour is now pervasive across the base).
These changes, it says, will allow 525 000 more customers to qualify for eBucks rewards.
The (former qualifying) deposit threshold now earns customers a certain number of points. Points tiers for the various rewards levels have been adjusted for Premier, Private Clients and Private Banking customers accordingly.
For Private Clients, for example, reward level five currently requires 12 000 points. From July, this number is 15 500, but customers will get 2 500 points for having at least R32 500 deposited into their account on a monthly basis.
Reward points for streaming services will, from July, only be awarded for those transactions done with a virtual card. Earning eBucks on Smart Spend (which allocates eBucks based on spend during the month) will now kick in on reward level two (versus one, currently).
Other rule changes will be detailed on the eBucks website.
There are no major changes to the SLOW Lounge benefit, or the number of lounge visits allocated (additional ‘bonus’ complimentary visits will be allocated when customers book on eBucks Travel). The only change is for FNB Private Wealth customers where they can no longer use their complimentary visits to access Bidvest lounges in airports where SLOW Lounges exist. This makes sense given FirstRand’s purchase of the lounge business from Comair last year.
Free weekly Starbucks coffee
The bank recently began rewarding customers with a complimentary coffee at Starbucks for using FNB Pay, a virtual card or a partner wallet (Apple, Samsung, Garmin or Fitbit) at least five times a week. This continues to gain traction.
Updated pricing guides with full details will be available on the bank’s website from June 1.