Cashing In, On Cashless Nigeria.

It’s no longer news that the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) under its current management is serious about turning Nigeria from a cash carrying society to a more cashless one. As noble as this objective is, I can’t but wonder if the CBN realises that there will be people and organisations that will be out to misinterpret this policy and use it to their advantage to profit senselessly or in plane language – “rip people off”.

From the look of things thus far  the1st set of organisations to go for the kill are the Banks. While they on the one hand are doing tremendous amount of marketing and advertising in the media on the use of other forms of payment e.g PoS, ATM, Bank transfer etc they fail to tell customers the cost associated with the use of these services or other unnecessary charges they have introduced.

Just like me, the banking public must have receieved an email or SMS similar to the one below 

Dear Customer,
In line with the CBN policy on cash deposits and withdrawals, limits will be N150,000 for Individuals and N1M for Corporates. Penalties for excess over limits are 10% for Individuals and 20% for Corporates with effect from March 30, 2012. Third Party Cheques above N150,000 to individual beneficiaries will not be encashed across the counter.

Now it’s easy  for the bank to say, if you are going to require over 150,000 in cash  in a day, then use other means e.g ATM to make up for the short fall. However most banks on their own are now already associating punitive charges on cash withdrawal below 100,000 if you don’t use an ATM.  

So while CBN says you can’t withdraw over 150,000, the banks are also saying if you withdraw below 100,000 over our counter we will place a charge on you. These charges can range from 100 to 200 naira depending on the bank. Some argue that these bank imposed charges are understandably is in a bid to decongest crowded or rowdy banking halls, however if that is true,I ask the question Why are banks not deploying Automatic cash deposit machine as well, so that crowd generated by people making deposit will disappear equally?.

The way the banking  system is in Nigeria, its  mainly  offers a  financial service structure  where banks just hold depositors funds and use same for their own business and hardly ever gives out credits not to talk of loans. I find it rather irritating that they still take every opportunity to fleece their customers.

Some holders of current account in banks do so because they need the flexibility of being able to issue cheque to be cashed either on their behalf, or to pay for goods/services, pay tithes, or gifts to family/friends. However if you issue a cheque below 100,000 what the banks now do is deduct from your account a withdrawal service charge of up to 100naira. If  like me,you keep a close eye on your bank account statement you will see the barrage of charges  ranging from -e service charge, COT, VAT on COT and even charges you incur in having to use another ATM when your banking institution ATM's fails to work. I do agree that some charges are legal and should be collected by the bank, but it now seems banks are having a field day and willing dipping their hands into people account via sundry charges. 

The CBN or its regulatory authority arm on commercial banking in Nigeria really should monitor what banks are doing and look at their procedures and charges to ascertain how justifiable are  some of these charges on customer and also the almost non functional consumer right protection agency in Nigeria should please start to function. 


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