Opening a bank account today isn’t as simple as it used to be anymore. One important thing you should always look out for and do some research on before opening your bank account are the additional hidden fees the bank charges. Some banks are honest and tell you some of the fees upfront while others don’t tell you until you choose to do a transaction which they charge for.
A general rule of thumb used to be that the charges from foreign banks were higher than local banks. However, this doesn’t really seem to be the case anymore as recently, several local and foreign banks have started implementing charges for their value added accounts. These are accounts which have additional services above your conventional savings and current accounts. Examples of these would be the MyOne account at RHB Bank or the Powervantage account with HSBC. Banks such as RHB Bank charge a monthly fee of RM5 if your average account balance in their MyOne account is not maintained at above RM5,000 every month. Others such as HSBC charge a monthly RM15 for their Powervantage account which can be waived if you take some loans with them. So would closing your account and opening it with a different bank be a solution?
Well, not quite. I learnt the hard way that all banks charge when you wish to close your account! Fees for that can range from RM2 (Bangkok Bank) all the way to RM30 (several banks such as Hong Leong Bank and Affin Bank). Perhaps a better solution would be to maintain a minimum balance in that account to avoid the closing charges. Just be sure to check that the account you wish to maintain the minimum balance in is not a value added account where the above monthly charges will apply.
The Government has recently tightened this a little by ensuring that each bank provides a no-frills basic savings and current account which have minimum charges attached to it. Nevertheless, always do your homework to maintain your accounts with the minimal charges possible. Otherwise, your hard earned money which is already being eroded by inflation will continue to be eroded further by the very bank you’re keeping your money with!
Click here to view a comprehensive comparative table of charges which Bank Negara has made available to the public.