This is a blogpost by Torinmo Salau... Bank alerts or SMS Banking is a form of mobile banking, it’s a means through which banks and other financial institutions send messages to customers mobile phones using SMS messaging.
Examples of push messages include an alert of an event which occurs in the customer's bank account, such as the withdrawal of funds from an ATM, a large payment involving the customer's credit card or a mobile marketing message.
Pull messages, on the other hand, are requested by the customer, using a mobile phone for obtaining information such as opening new accounts, balance enquiry or performing transactions which includes purchasing airtime, transferring funds, requesting for account number or current information, as published and updated by the bank.
Mobile phones are personalized end-user tools and are the easiest channels through which the customers can reached on the spot.
Also, the operations of SMS functionality over phone key instructions makes its use very simple. This is quite different from Internet banking which can offer broader functionality, but has the limitation of being usable only when the customer has access to a computer and the Internet.
Mobile is the most feasible means to provide mass market alternative to branch banking because mobile technology has close to 50 percent penetration with more prospects for growth. Most banks in Nigeria are also now providing full fledged banking services via mobile phones which were hitherto possible only in the banking halls.
Most times we receive alerts from the banks that our accounts have been debited for different types of charges including the bank's newsletter which many of us did not subscribe to. Yes I can't remember when I subscribed to the bank's weekly newsletter which continues spamming my mail box but I get charged for it at the end of the month.
To protest the alleged arbitrary charges imposed on customers, the Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON) and Coalition of Nigerian Consumer Protection Associations declared that banks should be empty on March 1, 2016. But the question is how effective was the protest in curtailing the banks excesses.
Bank alerts for all type of deductions has become the new black and most financial institutions are cashing in on this oil block to drill millions of naira out of unsuspecting customers annually.
Investigations have shown that apart from normal bank charges which are associated with daily transactions, depositors are exposed to hidden charges as well as what financial experts tag as arbitrary charges.
Earlier this year, the CBN got banks across the country to return excess charges estimated at 6.2 billion to customers. Under Emefiele’s watch, it also suspended commission on some transactions but by chance they have been modified into maintenance and management charges.
Due to the volatility of the price of crude oil in the international market, the CBN Governor has been engrossed in trying to defend the Naira, which is rendering the atmosphere in the financial sector highly combustible.
Imagine how much would be generated if #100 is debited from the bank accounts of over half a million customers? The way banks are trying to profit by all cost from their loyal customers irrespective of the economic downtime is not right especially with the hike in the cost of living and food commodities.
There is nothing wrong with banks making profit but not excessive and at the expense of the average Nigerian who lives barely above a dollar.
But who will fight for the interest of the bank customers to stop this exploitation that is synonymous to economic rape which has continued unabated.
The weight of the law from the National assembly needs to be more enforced to achieve success at protecting the interest of the customers because they are the constitutionally empowered representatives of the Nigerian public.
Torinmo Salau is one of Pulse Nigeria's bloggers, an increasing team of well-versed writers who regularly deliver articles to educate and entertain.