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Financial Literacy

How to know if your bank account is being overcharged

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Banks are in the business of accepting deposits and lending money to customers. The advent of internet banking and online services has broadened the opportunities for revenue generation through bank charges. A bank charge covers all fees incurred by customers from making various transactions through a bank. These charges include monthly card maintenance charges, withdrawal charges, overdraft charges, etc.

In recent times, there have been numerous complaints from customers about excessive bank charges with no basis for some of them.

In a statement in February 2016, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) compelled banks to return N6.2 billion in excess charges to customers for the year 2015.The statement captioned, “Alleged Excess, Illegal Charges by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs)”, said that CBN had “received series of complaints from customers of Deposit Money Banks alleging excessive, and in some cases, illegal charges from their respective banks”.

Understanding and tracking bank charges on your account is very important. We explain in this article how to detect if your bank account is being overcharged.

Know the approved bank charge

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The CBN sets regulations that prevent banks from charging excessive fees and it is the responsibility of every bank’s customer to know the approved charges for all types of transactions incurred from his/her bank.

The CBN, earlier last year, reviewed its guide on charges on various products and services by DMBs, other financial institutions and mobile payment operators on their customers’ accounts. This was expected to enhance flexibility, transparency and competition in the Nigerian banking industry.

Some examples include:

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Current Account Maintenance Fee (CAMF) is negotiable but subject to a maximum of N1 per mille when you initiate a transfer out of your account. CBN said that the charges are only applicable to customer-induced debit transactions to third parties and debit transfers/lodgments to the customer’s account in another bank. The CAMF is not applicable to a savings account.

Electronic Funds Transfer

The CBN fixed the rate at N50 for transfers below and above N10m and N550 for Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS).

A friend of mine, who has accounts in 2 different banks, is charged the following:

Access Bank – N65 per transfer to any other bank

First Bank – N52.50 per transfer to any other bank

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Foreign Exchange Transfer

Forex transfers out of customers’ accounts will incur charges of 0.5% Commission on Turnover (COT) plus any associated off-shore charges.

Example: if you transfer $1000 from your domiciliary account, your bank will be expected to charge you $5.

Withdrawal from another bank’s ATM

You will be charged N65 after the third withdrawal from another bank’s machine, within the same month. You will have to keep track of the number of times you make use of other banks’ ATMs and match it to the charges on your account to spot any excess charge.

SMS Alert

Not more than N4/SMS (fees on alerts are restricted to only customer-induced transactions).

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You will have to find out the exact number of transactions from your bank and multiply the total number of SMS received for that month by N4.

If the total number of messages received from your bank is 30, you will be charged N120 (30 x N4).

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Note that SMS alert is mandatory. If a customer requests not to receive SMS alerts, the customer should issue an indemnity for losses that may arise as a result, to the bank.

Stamp Duty Charge

A N50 stamp duty charge was introduced by the federal government in a circular last year. Bank’s customers are to pay N50 stamp duties for monies received into their accounts via electronic transfer, cash and cheque.

Some Nigerian banks process this charge by the end of the week. You would have to check your account statement to see the inflows which came in that week and calculate the charge per inflow.

For example, if you receive deposits of N20,000 on Monday and N30,000 on Thursday, you will incur a stamp duty charge of N100 by the end of that week.

Monthly card fee

Your bank is expected to charge you N50 monthly for card maintenance fee and N1000 one-off charge for issuance or reissuance of debit cards.

There are other numerous charges by banks to their customers. Every customer is different and the nature of transactions done on a daily basis differs from customer to customer. To see the full guideline on charges for the various products and services offered by DMBs, you can go to www.cbn.gov.ng and download “Guide to Charges by Banks”. You could also visit the website of your bank, or contact the customer care for any enquiries and complaints you may have.

Also follow this Guide to Nigerian Bank Charges to get more information and numerous other charges banks take on your account.

Personal Finance

6 things you must not do with your money

Money can go as fast as it comes, but you might just get to keep it for a long time if you follow these tips.

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Coming across this, you probably thought to yourself “what an interesting topic, I wonder what it has to say”. Well, we are right there with you. There are a lot of things you shouldn’t do with your money and even without reading further, you can probably outline about 20 things, (go ahead if you’d like to).

Trust me you’d have fun doing that because it was quite fun coming up with this list and we’d like to present to you the top 6 things we believe you must not do with your money. Have a fun read.

DO NOT BE UNINTENTIONAL WITH YOUR MONEY

Intentional living is important and it is something that has caught on over the years. To be intentional means to be deliberate in your actions and decisions. Basically, what you must understand from this is that you should not be impulsive with your money, whether in your spending, savings, and investment decisions, you must be deliberate. There is a popular saying that goes “failure to plan is planning to fail”.

It is necessary to always have a plan/budget for your money. Never leave your money to chance. Be intentional, be deliberate, and do not be passive with your money plans. To get started, you can focus on three steps; have a vision, create a plan, set limits. You can decide to be intentional with your impulse buying as well. When you create a plan and set limits and you do not go over that limit, even when you decide to splurge, you would still be on track to achieving your goals.

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DO NOT MAKE LARGE PURCHASES WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE FULL COST

Part of being intentional with your money is to avoid large purchases if possible. Things like buying a car or land/homeownership should not be taken lightly. Even if you can afford the down-payment at that time, you have to consider the other charges and fees attached. If you can meet up with maintenance and servicing then, by all means, go ahead. Otherwise, it’d be best to review that decision. One way to achieve such purchase though, if your current earnings aren’t sufficient to support an extravagant purchase is to have a savings or budget plan for it.

Even if you cannot afford a financial advisor, there is a good number of mobile apps that would help you make such a savings plan. If you are the type of person that whenever you come upon ‘windfall’ or unexpected income, you’re already thinking of how to spend it extravagantly, you need to have a change of perspective. Before you think of buying that private jet or getting that car, you need to ask yourself if you are fully capable of maintaining it. Making rash purchase decisions can lead to regrets later.

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DO NOT CASH YOUR PAYCHECK RIGHT AWAY

With the advancement in technology, most employees have the option to have their earnings paid directly into their bank accounts, rather than collecting cheques or cash. But no matter the form you collect your money; you must make provision for part of that money to be saved. Do not spend it immediately. You can automate payments such that a percentage of your monthly income goes directly into your savings account.

This helps to avoid the temptation of dipping into that fund because, “if you don’t see it, you won’t spend it”. Some companies provide retirement savings plans for their employees, a system whereby a portion of their salaries are deducted and paid directly into their retirement account. One such plan is the 401k, of which the Nigerian alternative is the Nigerian Pension Scheme, governed by the National Pension Committee (PENCOM).

(READ MORE: Cashless goes nationwide)

DO NOT PUT ALL YOUR MONEY IN ILLIQUID INVESTMENTS

While investments are fun, and a good way to build wealth, it is important to diversify and have variety. Remember the saying, “do not put all your eggs in one basket?”. The difference between liquid and illiquid investments is simply this; the ability to exchange something for cash. So the rate of liquidity is determined by how easily an investment can be converted to cash. Do not tie up your money by investing in illiquid investments. Your investment portfolio should be diversified.

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DO NOT SHOP EMOTIONALLY

The fact that we are biological beings does not mean we should not make logical decisions. Do not fall prey to ‘retail therapy’. Retail therapy is a term that is used to describe the action of shopping to improve one’s mood. It is also referred to as “comfort buys”, often acquainted with individuals who buy during periods of depression and stress. You are allowed to get emotional and you are also allowed to deal with that emotion, but talking to a sales representative or clerk just to make you feel better is not healthy.

Their job is to make sales, not your welfare. This is not intended to paint anyone in any sort of way but rather, to educate you. Instead of making that trip to the store or browsing that online catalogue, it would be better for you to call up a trusted friend or family member and talk with them. You’ll thank me for it.

DO NOT SIGN A CONTRACT YOU DO NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND

A contract is an agreement between two people that is legally binding. Four essential elements that make a document legally binding are; an offer, an acceptance, an intention to form a partnership, and a consideration that usually involves money. It can be oral or written. When it is oral unless recorded, there is no solid proof that an agreement was made, but, once it is written there is enough proof.

So before you go ahead and sign that piece of document, you must be fully aware of the terms and conditions of your agreement. Yes, a contract may, however, be considered invalid for specific reasons, but the bottom line is that you should avoid any situation that would put you in any money problem. It is more rewarding to get professional advice than implicate yourself unknowingly.

With all that’s been said, the crux of the matter is that you must be intentional with your money. Only then, can you plan, only then can you learn from your mistake, only then can you track your money movements, be deliberate, make decisions and take actions with a purpose. Develop a relationship with it (a healthy one of course), get to know your money, go on money dates and your financial health will bless you for it.

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MSME

FG says 174,574 successfully register for N75 billion MSME survival fund in 48 hours

174,574 persons have successfully registered for schemes under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan.

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FG releases new details on MSMEs support scheme, budgets N200 billion for loans, FG says 174,574 successfully register for N75 billion MSME survival fund in 48 hours

The Federal Government has disclosed that a total of 174,574 persons successfully registered for the N75bn National MSME Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-take Stimulus schemes under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, within 48 hours.

The disclosure was made by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, during a media briefing on the update of the schemes, on Thursday, September 24, 2020.

Mariam Katagum, in her statement, said: “As at 8.30 am this (Thursday) morning, total successful registrations stood at 174,574 with the following states having the highest applications as follows: Kano, 19,895; Kaduna, 13,575; Lagos, 13,640; Katsina: 8,383; Federal Capital Territory, 8,085.”

She stated that the registration for the MSME Survival Fund commenced on September 21, 2020, at 11 pm, and within 24 hours, approximately 138,000 individuals had logged on, created profiles and completed the first stage of registration with Kano, Kaduna and Lagos as lead states.

(READ MORE: Nigeria’s external reserves up by 7% in 21 days, currency speculators to lose over N10 billion)

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Going further, Katagum said, “All successful applicants received SMS and email verification with a list of requirements for the second stage of application which would commence on October 1, 2020. Applicants will be required to upload details supporting their applications which will be verified and if successful, approved for disbursements.”

The minister further disclosed the states that recorded the highest numbers of applications within the first 24 hours of registration; these are Kano, which recorded 16,880: Kaduna, 11,438; Lagos, 10, 530; Katsina, 7,354; and Bauchi, 6,622.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

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She also stated that registration for other tracks would start next with the hospitality industry coming on September 25, 2020, by 10 am; payroll support (others), September 28, 2020, 10 am; while artisan/transport grants would start on October 1, 2020.

Nairametrics had two days ago reported the opening of the portal for its N75 billion Micro, Small and Medium (MSMEs) Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take schemes with effect from 10 pm on Monday, September 21, 2020.

READ: Delivering mass housing as a path to Nigeria’s economic recovery

These two MSMEs initiatives namely MSMEs Survival Fund with payroll support track and the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme which are at the core of FG’s N2.3 stimulus package in the Economic Sustainability Plan, were introduced by it as part of the efforts to help businesses overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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MSME

How to register for FG’s N75 billion MSME survival funds

FG released guidelines to access the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund.

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MSME, How to register for FG's N75 billion MSME survival funds, Small Businesses in Nigeria

The Federal Government (FG) has released the guidelines to access the N75 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund and Support Initiatives, which took effect from September 21, 2020.

The scheme, which is the core of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan includes the N60 billion MSMEs Survival Fund and the N15 billion Guaranteed Offtake Schemes.

This disclosure was made in an official statement by the Federal Government through a series of tweet posts on its official Twitter handle.

READ: FG to provide financial support for 1.7 million businesses, individuals in next 3 months

The statement from FG read, “As the portal for the registration of prospective beneficiaries of Survival Fund opens, interested Nigerians in the Payroll Support Scheme are to note that the site will be open from 10 pm Monday, September 21, 2020.”

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The statement says that the registration for the payroll support will start with the educational institutions at 10 pm Monday, September 21, 2020, and will be followed by businesses in the hospitality industry by 12am Friday, September 25, 2020.

The portal will also open for other categories of small businesses from 12am, Monday, September 28, 2020. It should be noted that the scheduling of the registration for prospective beneficiaries is to ensure that the process is seamless and hitch-free. The registration of every sector is to continue until Thursday, October 15, 2020.

READ: FG to save N1 trillion annually from petrol subsidy removal

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To register for this initiative, the Federal Government has also provided a portal for entry. Potential beneficiaries are advised to log on to https://survivalfund.ng to complete their registration.

As part of the registration process, the beneficiaries are expected to provide personal registration details, activate their account, register their organization after they have successfully activated their account.

Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Number, Bank Verification Number (BVN), SMEDAN Number, a Tax ID (optional) and the organization’s bank account details will be needed.

Completing the Payroll Support Registration, beneficiaries’ first name, last name, email, mobile number and Password will be required. Also, their Date of Birth, residential address and residential Local Government Area will also be provided.

READ: FG releases new details on MSMEs support scheme, budgets N200 billion for loans

These 2 MSMEs initiatives namely MSMEs Survival Fund with payroll support track and the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme were introduced by the FG as part of the efforts to support businesses overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a conditional grant to support vulnerable micro and small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector. The scheme is expected to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country and specifically impact on over 35,000 individuals per state.

READ: Nigeria’s external reserves up by 7% in 21 days, currency speculators to lose over N10 billion 

The scheme will be implemented over an initial period of 3 months and is targeted at employees of MSMEs and self-employed individuals with 45% for female business participation and 5% for special needs participation

The Guaranteed Off Take Stimulus Scheme is expected to perfect and sustain the income of vulnerable micro and small enterprises from the economic disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic through the implementation of various initiatives aimed at boosting the production capacities of small businesses as well as the provision of grants.

The duration is also for an initial period of 3 months and is targeted at micro and small businesses registered in Nigeria.

 

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