Excessive Absa bank charges: a whopping R517.50 for reprinting statements

I’m gobsmacked. I recently requested copies of about 18 months-worth of bank statements for one of my accounts — and for this luxury Absa charged me… wait for it… a whopping R517.50. It’s a bond account, so we’re not talking about large volumes of statements here either. It translates roughly into about R32.00 a statement!

I write this in disbelief. I feel like I’ve been robbed. Just last week, Finweek named Absa the bank with the highest charges, so maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised — but almost half a grand for reprinting of statements from one account, all done via email? There is something wrong here.

Banks are the new Telkom
I was in one of their branches about 3 or 4 days ago and the manager presented me with a letter refuting Finweek’s article and methodology, yet the year previous to that where Absa came out favourably in the magazine’s report, the bank used the research as a promotional vehicle in its marketing campaigns. In fact, Finweek predicted they would do exactly this and pointed out the contradiction. I’m really disappointed with Absa, the country’s largest retail bank.

It’s time that something is done about banks who continue to rip off the South African public. I’m looking for another bank.

Comments (16)

  1. gmk wrote::

    Yup – i get this from Standard every year when i start gathering my stuff together to do my taxes – costs me 400 odd rand last year per account.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 9:05 am #
  2. graeme wrote::

    Hi Matthew,

    We run a site that compares bank charges. Check us out.


    It would be interesting to know which specific account that you hold to check those charges.

    Drop me a mail.


    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 9:09 am #
  3. Ah, the joys of paying less fees for going electronic (not that I’m saying you chose that option, Matt) does sometimes come back and bite you in the bum. At least you can get printouts… FNB only keeps maybe three months worth of records.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 9:38 am #
  4. Chris M wrote::

    That’s crazy, 500 bucks! Last time I went to FNB to have several months worth of statements printed, they didn’t charge me a cent..

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 9:44 am #
  5. K Botes wrote::

    Why would you need statements for 18 months? Surely the bank sent you these during that time at no cost, so had you retained this the need to use the bank to obtain the statements will not have been necessary.

    Service and data storgae, access and prodcution like most things in life costs money , save it by taking more responsibility for your financial needs.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 12:02 pm #
  6. @K Botes: Well, no, some banks (like mine, FNB), offer you reduced monthly/yearly charges if you elect to receive statements electronically, rather than by mail.

    Alternatively, I suppose one should be saving all the emails safely, backed up etc (ahahahaha), for printing out when needed.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 12:07 pm #
  7. Simon wrote::

    Ridiculous. And ABSA have been milking it in the media with their “you’ll only pay R5 penalty for debit order failures”.

    Perhaps the most important recommendations of the banking inquiry panel was that penalty fees (on things like bounced debit orders) be capped at R5 – far below penalties which, in some cases, hit R120.

    Last week saw two contrasting responses. First, Standard Bank roundly rejected the R5 proposal. But two days later, Absa said it would immediately cut its default charge for its poorest customers to R5 “in response to the recommendations of the banking inquiry”.


    ABSA suck. They’re making a mockery of the Comp Commission.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 1:19 pm #
  8. Simon wrote::

    Oh and HA HA this has hit the MyBroadBand forums. Some interesting conversations going on.


    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 1:42 pm #
  9. matt wrote::

    @everyone — to clarify: the statement reprinting were scans, and i needed them for accounting purposes. I obviously also received them by post, but it was convenient to have them scanned and emailed to me — and I was prepared to pay for the extra service… but 500 bucks??

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 2:02 pm #
  10. paul wrote::

    Hey Matt

    R32 per monthly statement is correct.

    I also needed to get statements for both my wife and my Absa business accounts going back to March last year for accountancy purposes because my online banking only goes back three months – R32 a pop x 15 months x 2 people = R960. Hello!

    I also don’t get printed statements, but I accept that if I’d realised, I would have printed them off on a monthly basis. In then end I told them to stick it!

    I’m happy to pay, however, nearly R1k for an operator to spend, what, 20 minutes retrieving them? You can bet they would find them quick enough if the bank wanted to prove you owed them money!!Paul

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 2:21 pm #
  11. matt wrote::

    @paul … a thousand bucks?? for statements?? Let’s start a bank, I’m in the wrong business 🙂

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 2:34 pm #
  12. andres101 wrote::

    I’m with ABSA and I actually budget for banking fees. When reconciling my budget, I realised that the amount I was charged was twice the amount I had budgeted for. This means that I am now paying double what I was paying last year.

    I sent ABSA a query more than two weeks ago and am still waiting for a response.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 11:09 am #
  13. Richard Catto wrote::

    Ask for a refund. Keep going up the chain until you reach the top. Someone will recognise your name eventually and sort you out.

    They would be stupid not to.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 6:32 pm #
  14. Joy-Mari wrote::

    I agree with Richard. Demand a refund, and settle on only paying half or a third.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 11:19 am #
  15. Richard Catto wrote::

    I have a Pick n Pay go banking cheque account with mastercard which is banked by Nedbank.

    A week ago I walked into a Nedbank branch and presented my ID document and asked for a statement of the last 3 months on my go banking cheque account.

    They printed it while I waited.

    Total charge for doing this: ZERO rands and ZERO cents.

    It’s a service they’re happy to provide free because they want my business.

    ABSA clearly does not. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 11:55 am #
  16. Sunny wrote::

    Hi Guys, ever heard of e-statements. Enrol today and you will not pay a cent again. Just remember to save your emails you get. btw Absa is the best of the lot.

    Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 4:51 pm #