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Money and it’s management are of paramount importance to senior citizens. South African Banks charge some of the highest bank fees in the world and it is important for senior citizens to find the best deal possible.

 Updating your Editor’s report.

Searching for the best senior banking deal is not a happy task. Banks notoriously polish their own marble with slick, warm and fuzzy advertising but beneath it all you will find that they still offer very little incentive to seniors.

Our report focuses 100% on senior citizens. For bank comparisons in general the annual report by the Solidarity Research Institute (SRU) more than adequately covers personal bank accounts and highlights the differences in charges from bank to bank.
It is excellent and you can access it at www.solidaritysa.co.za

Further comparisons are available on our "Money" page at: www.seniorcitizen.co.za/MoneyBanksComparison.htm and you can compare most bank products from savings accounts to credit cards, loans and deposits - highly recommended.


 What do seniors want?

Seniors want a bank that offers them a straight and simple deal: an account that is simple to understand and operate. They want to pay less in fees and earn more interest.

 Important Notice:

We are not qualified financial advisers and do not pretend to be experts at anything but being senior citizens in search of the best deal for our money.

 Disclaimer

We do not accept any responsibility for decisions or actions anyone may take based on the information supplied in this report. Always check the latest facts with the bank in question first before making any decision.

 Editor’s second report on Banks

We approach each bank unannounced with the same question of what they offer senior citizens in terms of investments and account facilities?

This is our experience. (In alphabetical order)

Absa
The information desk directed me to a receptionist who took my name and telephone number before inviting me to sit down and wait.

Someone was already waiting but she walked out after a few minutes. I could see why:
One consultant was making phone calls and the other one did not appear to be doing anything in particular. After 10 minutes I returned to the desk and asked if I may have some brochures that could provide the necessary information.

She made no attempt to alert one of the consultants that a second person was walking out but directed me back to the enquiries counter.

There I either had to get back in line again or risk my life by jumping the queue. I opted for the latter but just then the assistant, whom I initially saw, walked right past me with her lunch box and disappeared without a glance in my direction.

I then thought that if I stood around looking really lost, someone might spot me and offer some help but the only attention I got was from a security guard.

Finally I scrutinised the brochure rack and found booklet titled "Value Bundles":
Daily banking
The "Value Bundles"
There are Silver, Gold and Platinum options.
Each attracts a different monthly fee and includes a bundle of freebies. You will be wasting your time looking for any advantage or concession to you as a senior citizen.
Investment
There wasn’t anything in the brochure rack indicating special deals for seniors.
Opinion
Absa does not offer senior citizens any kind of relief, reward or even the time of the day considering the way I was ignored.

 

 

Capitec – The new bank on the block

Capitec is South Africa’s youngest and fastest growing bank. Established in 2001 they already boast 540 branches. This is more than Edgar’s, Woolworths or Mr Price.
They claim to focus on simplistic, no frills banking and their current client base consists mainly of individuals and their personal accounts.

They believe that they are better structured to service their target market with innovative, simple and low cost banking.

They do not offer seniors any kind of a special deal because, they say, their packages offer a better deal than even the best senior citizen package from other banks.
According to a spokesperson there are very few bank charges and where they do exist, (like the single R4, 50 monthly fee for all your accounts) they are of the lowest in the market.

They also claim to be offering the most competitive interest rates available on your fixed term savings.

Their Global One card (MasterCard) is claimed to be the most user friendly debit card around. Transactions are free, money withdrawals at the supermarket till cost only R1 per transaction and the withdrawal fee at any MasterCard/Visa ATM is R7 irrespective of the amount. The Global One debit card can be used for Internet transactions or “card not present” transactions.

As far as the lack of a branch conveniently near you is concerned, they say that they are expanding their network in malls. It is most probably just a matter of time before there will be a branch near you.

In shopping malls they offer extended banking hours and in most cases even Sunday banking.

They believe in business hours rather than banking hours.

Perhaps we will add Capitec to our next report but you can check fees at:
www.capitecbank.co.za/personal-banking/transact/fees?qpv=dsk
Check rates at:
www.capitecbank.co.za/personal-banking/save/rates


Capitec wish to remind seniors NEVER to click on a link that requires you to give personal details, pin numbers, codes, etc.

Opinion
We simply seek the best deal for seniors. It does not have to be exclusively for seniors. If Capitec is really as competitive as they claim to be, they are going to pick up a lot of senior business.

So, if you are looking for a new home for your valuable retirement capital, it may be a good idea to compare your regular bank’s offerings to seniors to what Capitec has to offer.

 

Nedbank

This particular branch does not have a reception and one has to join the queue at the enquiry desk. Everybody seemed to have time consuming queries but eventually we reached the front and were asked if we had time to see a consultant. We declined because of the waiting time so she printed a few information sheets and briefly explained the various options.

Daily banking
"Optimum" Cheque or savings account
Open to all and offers no special benefits for seniors. It has a bundle of free transactions if you maintain a minimum balance of R 10 000 in your investment account. It has no merit from a senior citizen’s perspective.
Investments
1.
"Nedbank Seniors Green Bond" for clients 60+ years.
Keep a balance of R10 000 or more and your advantage as a senior varies from 0, 06% to 0.14% depending on the period of investment.
Interest is paid monthly, quarterly or annually.
2.
"Seniors Retail Savings Bond"
It seems to be the same as the "Green Bond"” and they do not explain the difference on the print-out. In both cases the minimum investment period is 18 months.
3. “Optimum Plus” for clients 55 years and older.
  -
Between R1 000 and R 9 999 there is no advantage for seniors up to a term of 11 months.
  - From 12 months and longer you will enjoy a 0, 45% advantage as a senior.
  -
On R10 000.00 and more, seniors qualify for fee concessions on the “Optimum” cheque- or savings account. Interest is paid monthly, quarterly or half yearly.
4.
“Optimum Plus” fixed deposit
Minimum term 13 months. Seniors earn 0, 1 percent more on investments between R1000 and R 9999 and 0.14% on investments of R250 000 and more. Interest paid annually only.
Opinion
Unless you are already a Nedbank client, I would not bother, really. I would also compare the interest you are earning with offers from other banks.

 

First National Bank (FNB)

For assistance you join a queue but after a bit of guessing, I found myself on a long bench with a couple of other clients. There were a number of empty desks in front of us. One (senior) left grumbling after a while and the one next to me called the service "pathetic". I asked him if he had ever considered changing banks and this old timer, clearly a veteran in dealing with banks, responded that it was just a lot of trouble to change and "they are all the same anyway."

An extra consultant appeared and I was helped after about 10 minutes.

Daily banking
The "Encore" account.
FNB still offers their "Encore" account to senior citizens but the rules have changed slightly:
You get all the value added benefits and rewards linked to a normal personal cheque account but with some goodies added for their clients 55 years and older:
  - A slightly better interest rate on your so called "Savings pocket".
  - 50% Discount on a FNB credit card and Petrocard annual fee.
1. Standard option.
Ideal if you can maintain a specified credit balance at all times.
  - Cheque Balance Option
  -
Keep a minimum balance of R5 000.00 in your account throughout the month to avoid the monthly account fee and enjoy some free transactions.
You also get preferential interest rates on your "savings pocket" that is linked to the "FNB Encore Cheque Account"
  -
No fees are charged on the savings pocket and the more you save, the higher the interest rate.
Be careful though as telephone and in-branch transaction fees can be very high and is best avoided if possible. Try and do as much as possible electronically.
  -
Savings Pocket option
Keep R10 000.00 in your savings pocket but the brochure does not specify if there are additional benefits linked to this option.
2.
Unlimited pricing option
You pay a fixed monthly fee for a bundle of free transaction but it did not appear to be much different to the above two options.
3.
Mobile pricing option
For those who have taken a Smartphone/Tablet/ Laptop offer and mainly transact electronically. Fees are high and it is not senior friendly. Not the kind of facility that seniors need generally.
Investments
FNB offers senior citizens a range of fixed investments in different categories: From R 1000 to R9 999, from R10 000 and R250 000 etc. etc. The interest rate increases as the amount and period invested increases but there is no advantage for seniors.
Opinion
Their daily account packages are one of the better ones and take some cognisance of you as a senior but on the investment side they do not offer a better deal.

 

Standard Bank
Daily banking
“Consolidator” account for 55 years and older.
Like the FNB Encore you have different options:
1.
Pay as you transact: - Pay for each transaction and get a refund if you keep a daily minimum balance of R10 000.00 for a full calendar month,
2.
Fixed monthly fee: - Pay a fixed monthly fee and get a refund if you keep a daily minimum balance of R10 000 for a full calendar month.
The transaction fees are slightly less for you as a senior citizen and there are some free transactions.
This account is really only for seniors that can maintain the minimum balance of R10 000 and have a busy account. It will still pay you to do as much as possible per electronic banking and keep your ATM activity within the prescribed number of free transactions.
3.
"Plus savings account" :- No special deal for seniors but it is a good option. Provided you keep a minimum balance of R6 500.00 throughout the month there is no monthly fee and you have a number of free transactions plus you earn a very small interest.
Investments
For fixed investments of less than 12 months there is no advantage to seniors.
Investments for 12 months and longer pay 0, 5% more on a "Senior Citizen Fixed Deposit" Above R100 000 the rate is negotiable but there is no indication of an advantage to seniors.
Opinion
They have lost a bit of their edge since our last report but are still one of the better deals.

 

 Final conclusion:

Standard and FNB have gone some way to cater for senior citizens but they still miss the point - We need a better deal on savings accounts. Most senior citizens receive monthly payments from annuities, pension funds etc. and prefer to have this paid into an interest bearing account with a credit card or debit card facility and free internet banking.

Most banks offer a savings account along those lines but demand a high minimum balance with little or no special consideration for senior citizens. The interest on these accounts is also very low and it would be nice if they could offer senior citizens a marginally better rate.

For our money, we would select Standard or FNB but if you are ready for change a visit to Capitec may be a good idea.


 
Time of Your Life!