Consumers advised to use cheaper banking channels as cost of living soars

03 October 2018 – As another large fuel hike kicks-in to compound the financial burden on South African households, consumers are advised to consider using efficient and cheaper banking channels to contain costs.

Dr Christoph Nieuwoudt, CEO of FNB Consumer says banking has become part of the daily life of the average South African.  He says changes in banking behaviour could lead to significant savings for banking customers, especially if people use digital channels.

“One of the main areas that consumers should consider cutting back on is using cash when they don’t need to.  Before you even think about withdrawing cash, a consumer should consider the risk of carrying notes while swiping or paying online with your card has no fee.  While informal public transport and purchases may still require cash, using cheaper channels such as Cash@Till allows withdrawals at most major food retailers while doing your normal shopping,” he says.

Since the beginning of this year, South Africans have had to cope with successive fuel hikes and a VAT increase. While the Government’s decision to absorb the previous fuel increase may have provided temporary relief, economists paint a difficult outlook for consumers leading into the festive season.

FNB economists have indicated that the Reserve Bank continues to see upside risks to the inflation outlook despite the recent downside surprise. The bank’s economists also point out that as US monetary policy normalisation continues, they expect the MPC to begin a gradual rate hiking cycle.

“Consumers are currently between a rock and a hard place in terms of their finances, and unfortunately, a lot of the challenges are beyond any individual’s control.  However, it’s important for every person to control what they can, which is their savings, spending and banking behaviour,” adds Dr Nieuwoudt.

The evolution of digital banking in South Africa means that consumers have a myriad of digital channels to use for a range of transactions.  Whether it’s to do day-to-day transactional banking, managing a savings account or a credit facility, a bank like FNB has made it possible for its customers through digital channels such as the banking App.