Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Home of the Free

So you know how the bank Washington Mutual's slogan is "Home of the Free"? Maybe you never noticed that your banking is free in the states. Free Banking. What a novel concept in South Africa. I think if Washington Mutual opened here, all other banks would shut down. When we got here in December we signed up for a bank account at FNB, and they informed us of their bank fees. For EVERY transaction (charging anything on the card, taking out money, depositing money, writing a check, doing a debit order, online banking, even checking how much is in your account etc) they charge you 4 rand per transaction. (75 cents). If you pull money out of your account, they charge you 4 rand PLUS a percentage of whatever you take out. Yikes

So we went with a bank account that if you keep a certain amount in their account at all times, the first 35 transactions are free. Except for some reason, they messed up and have never paid us back for any of those free transactions. We went to the bank and complained. The bank said they were going to pay us back for all the bank fees incured this year. The grand total: 1,200 Rand. That is 2oo DOLLARS. So basically, everyone here is paying the bank aprox. 400 dollars per year to keep your money. Yikes. So next time you pass a billboard that says "Home of the Free banking" contemplate how cool that is. :)

The South Africa team in Johannesburg is here, and Austin is coming down this week to see us, woo hoo!

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