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Scotiabank postpones fee increases after public pressure

Even if this is only for a moment, it is good to see a banking institution held accountable to some degree, by the public. That Scotiabank has decided to postpone its fee increases in Jamaica, demonstrates that public pressure can dissuade banks from acting with impunity. Oftentimes, governments conduct the ire of most people, all the while they forget about the banks and the control banks wield over money and policies that affect us all.

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In response to public backlash to its newly announced banking fees, Scotiabank says it will be delaying the implementation of the proposed fee for ATMs and POS for six months, while it carries out public education efforts to ensure that customers have the best account type.

This as the bank says it will be expanding its Payroll Account to any customer with a monthly income of less than $100,000 whether or not their pay is deposited to the account.

“This will significantly increase the number of personal banking customers who benefit from fee waivers for proprietary ATM and POS transactions,” the bank said in a statement on Monday.   

It said the Scotia Payroll Account was designed to assist customers earning less than $100,000 per month open deposit accounts.

“Many of the customers in these accounts were previously unbanked and it has been a significant driver for financial inclusion,” the statement added. 

“These account types have no minimum balance requirement and attract no fees for proprietary ATM or POS transactions, as they were intended to assist new-to- bank customers to access banking services at a low to no cost,” the bank said.

Scotiabank had previously announced that effective February 1, the charge for ATM withdrawals at its proprietary machines is $25 per transaction and $60 for withdrawals at other banks’ ATMs. Rates would be less for seniors at $31 per withdrawal. Withdrawals at international ATMs will attract a fee of $312.

In response to the backlash, the bank said it will also increase promotion and visibility of its Scotia Care accounts to ensure that all eligible customers are receiving the available benefits.

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“The Scotia Care account is a similar account designed for customers who earn less than $100,000 per month and are also enrolled in government assistance programmes such as PATH and WeCARE. Scotia Care Accounts also do not attract fees for proprietary ATM or Point of Sale transactions,” the statement said. 

“Since our last service fee increase in 2019, we have made several changes in line with customer feedback including the removal of monthly deposit account fees and the introduction of real-time (pay as you go) billing for transaction fees,” it said.

Additionally, the bank said;

· Senior (citizen) Accountholders use Scotia ATMs and POS for free. 

· All deposits (cash or cheque) made via any channel are free.

· All transactions conducted via mobile or online banking including bill payment and funds transfers to any local bank are free.

· Customers may also visit our branches and use our free Wi-Fi to conduct online banking. 

Scotia said the delay would ensure that customers are in the best account type and are accessing the most appropriate channel based on their needs – which will minimize the fees paid.    

Scotiabank postpones fee increases after backlash  Jamaica Observer


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