File image: IOL.
CAPE TOWN - The office of the Ombudsman for Banking Services yesterday warned consumers that banking services were among those that have been affected by the one-percentage-point increase in value-added tax (VAT), which became effective on April 1.

The VAT increase comes amid higher prices for petrol and other consumables.

Reana Steyn, the Ombudsman for Banking Services, said consumers should rework their budgets and remember to include increases in their bank fees because of the VAT increase.

“This is a good time to assess the services you require for your personal and business banking needs, to shop around and see which bank has the most affordable fees for your needs. You may also check with your bank which fees can be negotiated,” Steyn said.

“Banks charge a variety of fees for different types of transactions. It is in your best interests to obtain the bank’s list of charges and calculate the least expensive costs for your banking requirements.”

Steyn said the VAT increase will mean that a family that, for example, pays a mortgage bond or rental of R7500 a month will now pay an additional R75.

She said another area worth scrutinising was third-party bills, adding that her office has received an increasing number of complaints about suppliers’ emails being hacked and invoices being sent to consumers with account details that differed from those that had been originally supplied.

-ANA