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11 transaction fees that are eating into your bank account

 Patrick Wameyo, Founder and Lead Consultant - ‎Financial Academy & Technologies
  • Patrick Wameyo, a financial expert and investment analyst at Financial Academy & Technologies, explains the hidden fees you need to be aware of when managing your accounts.  

1. Penalty interest

Failing to pay off your regular loan installment by the due date, even by a day, attracts penalty interest. This interest is charged off the installment that was due that day. This can be very expensive especially if you are the type to pay back 5 or 10 days late everytime for say, three years. This is avoidable. If you are salaried, ensure that you receive your salary on the same date or earlier than the date your loan is due, and make a standing order to pay it off.

2. Appraisal fees

You pay these fees if you borrow credit (credit card or a loan). This is because the bank must appraise you for credit-worthiness. If you borrow sh100,000 for example, you may get sh98,000 because sh2,000 is a fee. Before 2004, this fee was paid upfront, even before you got the loan, but nowadays, you pay it from the loan proceeds.

This fee usually has to be paid unless the issuer of credit waives it. The Banking Act has been changed to require any lender who is giving you credit to declare the annual percentage cost. This is supposed to be the full cost of credit that includes these fees, the interest and any other fees other than penalty.

3. Standing order fees

A standing order is when you give the bank instructions to pay money from one account to another. You pay money for this, known as the standing order fees. It averages around sh200.   If you have a loan that  is running for say 98 months, you will pay sh200 on the standing order 98 times. The longer the period, the more you pay the fee.

4.  Ledger fees

This is one of the fees that is usually not clearly explained, because it is assumed that you know about it. This is the fee charged for operating a bank account. ‘Ledger fees’ is the general name, but it could come under other generic names. It is charged to an account on a monthly basis. For example, if you put sh10,000 in an account and not touch it again for a whole year, when you go back, you will find sh10,000 less sh150 x 12, or whatever fee that bank is charging monthly.

It’s typically between sh150 and sh200 for most banks. Some banks may impose a minimum balance, meaning when you operate throughout a certain period, you do not pay that fee. They charge you what they call a ‘One Fee Account’. The only difference is that you pay the fees in bulk as opposed to many small charges.

5. Transaction fees

Every time you go to withdraw money from the bank, ATM or Mpesa, there is a small fee that you pay per transaction. In banks, this is usually an average of sh150. You can avoid paying too much on these fees by making fewer transactions per period.

6.  Valuation fees

If you offered security to a bank against the loan you are borrowing, they will need the property to be valued, for which you pay these fees. The government also requires stamp duty in the process of valuing, and it is usually a percentage of the value of the property or the value of the loan.

For property it is 4 per cent. Any time you borrow on any type of security, there will be stamp duty to be paid to the government. All this security charging is done by a lawyer who also gets a lawyer’s fee.

7. Debt collection fees

If you are unable to pay back a loan, meaning that you have defaulted on it, the bank will begin the process of getting the debt from you and will either hire a debt collector or a lawyer. For this, you will pay debt collection fees. A debt collector is not paid by the bank, but by the person who has failed to pay the loan.

When a debt collector comes to you and you pay any amount of money to the bank, a percentage of that money is his fees. Whatever remains is what the bank will put towards your loan. A good debt collector will tell you this and what his amount is, but a bad one will not.

8. Additional debt collection fees

If you give security and fail to pay the loan and the bank has to sell the property, there will be a cost of collecting and selling the property that will be deducted from proceeds received after selling it. Whatever remains is what will be put towards your loan. If there is a loan balance, the bank will collect something else to sell.

These costs include:

1. Collection of property to a yard(If it is a car, these are the tow charges).

2. The cost of keeping it in the yard. The longer it takes for the property to be sold, the more it costs you.

 9. Sending and receiving foreign currency

When you receive foreign currency from a different country, there is always a commission charged by the bank. Usually, the sending bank will deduct some money. The bank receiving money may also charge some amount.

10. Overdraft fees

Overdrawing is an unauthorised loan or an unauthorised access to funds. It basically means that you have used money beyond what you had in the account. Your bank balance is negative. They will charge you minimum overdraft fees, which is basically interest on the amount you took.

Banks should ideally not be giving you an overdraft if you did not apply for it. They do that at their own discretion and thus are free to charge a high interest because typically, you are not supposed to be overdrawing your account without having made an arrangement with them.

11. Bounced cheque charges

You are required to pay sh3,500 for a bounced cheque. A standard amount across all banks.

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