Bayanda Mzoneli

About Bayanda Mzoneli

Bayanda Mzoneli is a public servant. He writes in his personal capacity.

Over the past 12 months, I have received numerous calls and emails from Standard Bank asking me to upgrade from Prestige Banking to Private Banking. The frequency of the calls have increased dramatically in the past 4 months, for a reason that I can’t fathom, yet.

What I have continously told them over the phone, is that I do not see a dramatic difference between their prestige banking and private banking. I do not see a difference significant enough to warrant upgrading my account and paying an additional R116 each month for banking services. I am currently paying R169 per month on prestige banking whereas I would have to pay R285 per month on private banking.

I have asked them to point out the specific differences that are worth upgrade. Unfortunately, so far, I remained unconvinced, particularly because they usually mumble something about value instead of a clear answer.

Let me attempt to identify the differences using the table below.

Monthly fee R169-00 R285-00
This fee includes    
Electronic Transactions Unlimited Unlimited
Cheques (issued & deposited) 8 10
Std Bank cash withdrawals/AccessPoint 12 15
Branch cash withdrawals 3 4
SendMoney transactions using cellphone banking 2 2
AutoBank cash deposits/AccessPoint 3 5
Electronic balance enquiries and Std Bank ATM mini-statements Unlimited Unlimited
TravelWallet Included Included
Cheque Card annual fee Included Included
Debit/Cheque card purchases Free Free
Internet banking subscription fee Free Free
Annual card fees including Diners Club card Included Included
Garage card transaction fees Included Included
MyUpdates (Email/SMS notifications) Free Free
Banking line 0860 001 321 0860 123 101
Banking email
Secondary account for spouse R125-00 R125-00
Other services I am unlikely to use at Std bank such as Will drafting, share trading, financial advice, etc. Costs lots of money Included

Source: Standard Bank Pricing Brochures 2013

Contrary to popular belief, both these banking options have a personalised banker that you can talk to on a first name basis. When I pointed this out to the private banker yesterday, she told me that the difference is that she (and her assistant) deals with 500 customers plus they are available after hours whereas my prestige banker deals with 5000 customers and is not available outside office hours. This is good but I have internet banking already, I do not need to speak to my banker after hours.

The other benefit she mentioned that is not on the above table is that private banking customers are offered better credit interest rates such as prime plus 1.5 on credit card compared to about prime plus 4 to 6 for prestige banking customers. I have not verified this but I took her word for it.

From a personal usage point of view, with the exception of alleged lower interest rates, the difference is too low to consider an upgrade. It is not worth the additional R1400 per year in monthly banking fees. However, given their persistence, it seems, out of politeness, I may eventually accept their offer if it will help make them stop calling me.

Moreover, it is hard for me to unlearn that private banking is for the enemy of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) which is a capitalist class that is predominantly white. That I am being recruited into this bourgeois banking is a sign of how successful the NDR has been in extricating sections of the black community out of poverty. In spite of that progress, I should not allow myself to be coopted to the enemy camp, at the same time, if I move to private banking, I may free up queue space at the bank for others to experience faster banking. It is such a difficult revolutionary morality questions. I wish the ANC Integrity Committee was easily accessible in order to advise on this.

Kulukhuni ukubhala ngokuhlanganisa.

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