Low-cost bank accounts to be launched

Zimbabwean banks have proposed a new low-cost bank account to be rolled out to low income earners in a bid to drive financial inclusion and lower the cost of banking.

Report by Staff Writer

Details of the mooted account are contained in a memorandum of understanding entered into among participating banks through the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

The new account, to be called “Zimtransact”, will be an entry level account requiring a small minimum opening deposit and minimum balance of US$5,00. The Zimtransact account  will have a free ATM card and ATM withdrawals will be free, while point of sale transactions at retail outlets will attract a small US$0,10 fee.

However, fees for RTGS and mobile banking transactions will be determined by banks individually,while withdrawals from the branches would attract normal bank charges.

A monthly account maintenance fee of US$3,00 would be applicable to the account.

“Banks incur costs of building and maintaining the infrastructure within the branch, even the tellers have to be paid, so it is reasonable to expect customers to pay for the services accessed through the branch,” a senior banker said to businessdigest.

Deposits made into the Zimtransact account would be capped at US$300 per month to curb potential abuse by high income earners. A 1% levy would be applied to all deposits above US$300 per month, the MOU says.

The one-year agreement is motivated by the need for a concerted and consultative approach in addressing the issue of bank charges and interest rates in the economy and seeks to promote financial inclusion and the promotion of electronic banking.

The savings account would attract interest at the rate of 2% per annum provided such funds are in line with each individual bank’s minimum balance requirements.

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