The Need to Address Unexplained Charges Levied by Nigerian Banks

The Need to Address Unexplained Charges Levied by Nigerian Banks

There are so many unexplained charges and deductions made by Nigerian banks that are beginning to beg for explanation. Maybe why these banks continue with these acts is because nobody questions them. Nigerians always wave-away things that they should address with comments such as, “Who will listen to you if you complain?” or “Just give them what they want so they won’t delay you” and things like that.

The other time I went to Fidelity Bank to transfer some money to a First Bank account. I was told that I will pay N250 cash there and then for the deposit slip. So, if I want to transfer to three different accounts, I will pay a total of N750, excluding the deductions made to my account as the transaction charges. A man beside me asked why he should ‘buy’ deposit slips and was told that it was a way of encouraging ‘cashless’ banking. I truly didn’t understand how interbank fund transfer became physical cash handling. And the bank still charged me for performing the transaction. So, here I am paying two times for just a single transaction. I sincerely hope Fidelity Bank has stopped that extortion.

Anyway, the charges that prompted me to drop this article here is the ‘commission’ collected by banks located within the campuses of Nigerian higher institutions. These banks collect certain amount of money for every payment made into schools’ accounts. For example, if you want to pay your school fees and you decide to use the bank within the campus, you will be charged a ‘commission’ by that bank for paying your school fees through them. This isn’t commission for paying late or something; it is commission for something no one wants to explain to us.

I first encountered this ‘commission’ payment of a thing when I was running my M.A. I needed to make some payments into the school’s, faculty’s and department’s accounts and decided to do that when I go for lectures. I went into a bank there, filled out several deposit slips (you know, every item on the school fees breakdown must have a separate slip), went to the cashiers and handed over the money and the slips only to be told that I didn’t fill the deposit slips for the ‘commissions’.

Honestly, I didn’t understand what the cashier said because it didn’t make sense to me. She gave me back my money and the filled slips and told me to come back when I was with the deposit slips for commissions. I told her I don’t understand what she meant but she seemed to sense that I was in trouble and decided to ignore me. I went to the customer care table to complain about paying commission for making deposits and was told that it is the way they have been doing it. I was to pay N200 for every payment going into the school’s and the faculty’s accounts and then N100 for the ones for the department.

I calculated how many slips I had (and each item to be paid for had separate slip and separate commission) and discovered that the commission was more than my heart could bear. I annoyingly left that bank and went to another one, still within the campus. There I met another story. The cashiers were cordial enough to tell me that the ‘commission’ was for ‘processing’ my payments. Well, I finally paid what I could and left.

This was two years ago. I thought this illegal charge has stopped because I no longer pay through the banks in schools. But a few weeks ago, I happened to be in a bank within a university in Enugu and found out that this tradition is still maintained. This very bank here collects N350 for every payment made into the school’s account. So you can imagine how much a student with about ten deposit slips will pay.

Honestly, I don’t understand why banks have to compel students and parents to pay commissions for paying their schools fees and other fees because they did so through banks located within the school. If you still pay these fees in branches of these banks outside the school, no commission will be demanded for. So, why should the ones located in the campus charge for these payments? And why is CBN not saying anything about this? Why hasn’t there been any explanation on why this ‘commission’ should be collected from payers?

Remember that a staff of one of the banks told me that the commission is for processing payments made into the accounts. I want to ask, if truly there is something like “processing payments”, who should bear the cost? Why are customers easily overtaxed in this country? Why do customers have to bear the burden of everything? Why is it easy to legally cheat people in this country?

There is need for this matter to be addressed. If one of the conditions these banks gave schools for opening branches in their campuses is collection of ‘commissions’ from payers, they should publicly declare that so everyone will know what they are up to. Enough with this extortion of theirs. Nigerian banks are notorious for illegal and hidden charges. They should declare what they collect from customers and why they should do that. It’s high time they stopped their flimsy and shady excuses for stealing from the masses.

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