The electronic payment of bills that banks have recommended to their retail clients as simpler and more convenient, i.e. without fees, is no longer free of charge in many banks.
These days, even the clients of one of the leading banks have had to pay a fee for every bill paid ranging from RSD 9 to 29. Many people have complained to consumer protection organizations that they have not received a notice about the new fees from their bank. Others, even though they received an email, did not understand what they would be charged as of 1 September, the Efektiva Association explains.
The bank has not provided an answer as to why they started charging a fee for the service that used to be free of charge. They claim that they have sent notifications about the changes. Each client now pays RSD 9, 29 or 19 for an electronic transaction, depending on the type of an account.
“In fact, it comes down to a game of numbers, the bank released the e-banking service free of charge, it reached a certain number of transactions, perhaps 100,000 and they calculated that if they now charge RSD 20 on average, they will monthly earn RSD 2 million,” says Dejan Gavrilovic of the Efektiva Association.
The National Bank also explains – it cannot influence the amount of service charges, but banks are obliged to clearly inform the clients of any change two months in advance. Otherwise, as they say, clients can file a complaint with the bank.
“Although the NBS does not have influence over the payment service providers’ business policies, it does everything in its power to ensure the transparency of the fees charged to clients, and that if a client estimates that fees are too high, he/she can easily and quickly change a payment service provider and go to the one that will provide him/her with the same service for a lower fee.”
Payment service providers need to be aware that if they want to keep the existing clients and attract new ones, they must provide the best value for money, the NBS says. Similar to the Efektiva Association, they remind citizens that they can choose among more than 20 different banks. And they remind those who want to keep their clients that they need to provide the best value for money.