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When it comes to banking, talk is cheap

The rebranded FNB Aspire account is for the middle-income customer

05 October 2021 - 08:00
First National Bank in Rosebank.
First National Bank in Rosebank.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

In an environment where customers are working to save costs wherever possible, there has never been a better time to re-evaluate the bank you use. “Choosing a bank for your transactional account is not just about the monthly fee you pay. You need to consider the value-adds you get from that banking relationship as well as the hidden charges that other banks tend to hide in the fine print,” says Rob Gwerengwe, CEO of the middle market segment at FNB.

For the middle-income customer in particular, FNB recently launched its rebranded Gold account, which is now known as FNB Aspire account. A bundled product aimed at the R180,000 to R450,000 income bracket, the Aspire account has been revamped so that customers can derive more value from their transactional banking.

The monthly fee for the Aspire account falls from the R109 Gold account customers were previously paying to just R99 a month, which includes unlimited debit orders, free Cash@Till, free prepaid purchases on app as well as free cash withdrawals and deposits up to R3,000. Though the monthly fee is R99 a month, customers derive more value out of their combined eBucks earn and FNB Connect rewards.

“We extrapolated the example of the average Aspire customer’s behaviour making 11 card purchases and two cash withdrawals a month and compared the customer’s total costs to what they would pay at Bank X for a similar transactional account,” he says.

Average Aspire customer’s behaviour.
Average Aspire customer’s behaviour.
Image: Supplied/FNB

“While some banks may advertise a monthly fee of just R5 a month, once you start looking at the fees that add up for various transactions, you are actually paying more overall. It’s also worth noting that this comparison doesn’t even take into account the value-add benefits of eBucks and FNB Connect. We have listened to customer feedback and simplified the eBucks rewards structure.

On the new pricing model which took effect from July 1, the average Aspire customer could earn up to R150 back per category of spend each month. So, if you shop at Shoprite/Checkers and Clicks, and buy your fuel from Engen, you can earn as much as R450 back in eBucks each month. That’s a whopping R5,400 for the year,” says Gwerengwe. 

If you don’t want to save your eBucks for the inevitable December holiday spending, you can use them to pay your monthly bank account fee of R99 and you would still have R351 worth of eBucks rewards left over. If you’re an Aspire customer and you also use an FNB Connect SIM card, you qualify for 500MB data, 30 voice minutes and 30 SMSes every month — valued at R80.50. This brings the eBucks and FNB Connect monthly rewards value up to R530.50.

Aspire customers enjoy the benefit of several zero-rated transactions including third-party payments, InContact SMSes and Cash@Till. Bank X, on the other hand, charges customers up to R3 for a “processing fee” for international transactions with suppliers such as Netflix and Spotify, and 40c each time a transaction notification is received.

“These may seem like insignificant charges, but the costs start adding up over the course of the month and it’s a bit disingenuous to brand yourself as the cheapest bank while nibbling away at a customer’s accounts with various fees in the fine print,” says Gwerengwe.

For example, the 40c transaction notification fee seems reasonable at first glance, but for a customer with eight debit orders, eight withdrawals, and 14 card swipes, that quickly adds up to an extra charge of R12 a month.

FNB Aspire customers get the following benefits and rewards:

  • Two free SLOW Lounge visits when you book with eBucks Travel.
  • 500MB data, 30 voice minutes and 30 SMS every month on your FNB Connect SIM, with an extra 500MB data if you top up your FNB Connect SIM with R100 or more during the month.
  • Spend and save with FNB or maintain an FNB Life/Funeral Cover policy for 12 months and receive R1,500 for your next pair of sneakers.

“We put customers at the centre of our financial solutions and the changes we are implementing show our commitment to value-based banking. More importantly, when you bank with FNB, what you see is what you get. There are no hidden charges.”

FNB also offers a range of customer solutions in the entry market which include Easy Zero, Easy PAYU, Easy Smart and eWallet.

For more information visit the FNB website.

This article was paid for by FNB.