Cross-bank ATM fees cancelled

Bank clients in South Africa will not be charged for making withdrawals from ATMs that do not belong to their own bank from 1 August.

The fee waiver will remain effective for two months, ending 30 September.

This is according to an agreement between the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) and local banks.

BASA and local banks have decided to waive these fees, known as Saswitch fees, in light of the damage to ATMs during July’s rampant looting which saw widespread theft and vandalism in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

In total, around 1,400 ATMs were destroyed during the civil unrest, along with 269 bank branches, according to BASA CEO Bongiwe Kunene.

“We are dividing what needs to be done in terms of rebuilding the ATMs or just commissioning them out of stock altogether”, Kunene told eNCA.

Kunene said that when it comes to branches, the banking industry was also not spared. A number of branches incurred physical damage and the damage done was extensive.

“The removal of the Saswitch fee creates greater access to cash for our customers during this difficult period in South Africa,” said Standard Bank’s head of consumer and high net worth clients Kabelo Makeke.

“Our customers are urged to use any available ATM cash points to withdraw cash for a flat fee of R10 per R 1000 drawn.”

Below is a table summarising the disclosed damage to bank facilities in South Africa.

Damage to Banks
Bank Affected facilities
African Bank 32 branches damaged
Absa 200+ ATMs damaged
Capitec 300 branches and ATMs damaged
Nedbank 224 branches, 320 ATMs damaged
Standard Bank 33 branches and 220 ATMs looted and/or damaged

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Cross-bank ATM fees cancelled