JAMAICANS have blasted increased fees and charges by commercial banks at a time when they are facing tough financial challenges worsened by the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
National Commercial Bank (NCB) and Scotiabank Jamaica recently notified customers of new service charges, with increased and reinstated fees that will take effect between January and March this year.
Here are the views of the Jamaicans in Manchester, St James and the Corporate Area with whom the Jamaica Observer spoke on Thursday:
Ms Brown: “Jamaicans need to wake up and see whether or not we need to go back to putting our money in our pans or under the beds or close our accounts. It is my money and, yes, the banks have to subtract fees but it is just not fair and because we, as a people, do not say anything, they tend to get away with these things.”
Michael Walker, 61: “I don't use the bank a lot but I think there shouldn't be increases because you are spending to use your own money. There must be another way. If there was a minimum charge per month that would be fine but for every transaction? That's wrong.”
Suzanne Holding, 52: “They need to review their bank charges. It is just too high; they are charging for everything and I don't agree with it.”
Nadine Peart, 47: “These things have been going on for a long time, it is just that it is being brought to light and more persons are being affected. It is something that the Government should have looked at a long time ago; however, better late than never. They are giving it the attention that is really needed now. It is really unfair for the giants to be stepping on the smaller persons, so I hope the Government does the right thing and have the decision rolled back.”
Vander Rowe, 30: “I think that the amount of money they are charging to keep your own money is ridiculous. It seems Jamaicans have to go back to keeping their money under their bed. Eventually, the idea we are trying to avoid with people travelling with cash will start happening because if it is costing you so much to use your card.”
Bernard Hibbert, 60: “This is going to affect everybody and that's the biggest issue right now. Some people aren't even working and when dem think dem have a likkle money in the bank, and check likkle later, there won't be any. It is very unfair.”
Shanice Brown, 31: “They are already charging for everything. I might just draw my money one time for the month and stop using the card so often.”
Sheldon Martin: “I think it is really unfair, because it a go cost a lot each time you go to the machine way over the amount weh u woulda expect. It nuh right!”
Robert Smith: “I don't normally use a debit/credit card to make a withdrawal, but I think it is your responsibility to put some measures in place to avoid that cost. If you know you want $20,000, don't go and draw out $2,000 today then $2000 tomorrow, because you will have to pay the same money again for another withdrawal when you could do it once and pay.”
Lorraine Hudson: “All we do is use the bank machines where the card is aligned to, so it will take less. The hike is unfair.”
Sue: “I wasn't really aware of the changes. Scotiabank has always been a higher-charging bank, to me; that is why I stop banking with them, but in no way, shape or form is that fair to the users. Because you are banking your money and then all of a sudden they are charging you all these fees, just to withdraw your own money. That doesn't make any sense.”
Joseph Lloyd: “I am not in agreement with the banks to pressure us further with increased fees during this pandemic. I am totally against this move!”
— Additional reporting by Kasey Williams and Horace Hines, staff reporters