This year’s Bank Charges Report by the Solidarity Research Institute, its ninth report, may give you a sense of déjà vu. The themes, if not the results, have remained the same for the past four years: competition among banks for consumers in the low-income segment of the market, thanks to Capitec, which is generally the cheapest option for a large segment of the population; the continued demise of pay-as-you-use options on accounts aimed at consumers in the middle-income market; and the value derived from belonging to a loyalty programme offered by a bank, which could offset some of the costs of transactional banking. Until 2015, the report was very much a Capitec story, with the newbie a clear front-runner based on fees alone. That was before FNB and Absa began snapping at Capitec’s heels, with their Easy and Transact accounts, respectively. Standard Bank’s Access account on the pay-as-you-transact option was not far behind. This year, for the first time, an outsider — Old Mutual B...

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