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  • First National Bank customers have complained the bank is charging them fees to reverse its mistake of giving away free money. 
  • FNB says that is not the case – and that it will never charge money to fix its own mistakes.
  • The bank thinks coincidental timing and a long weekend may have confused matters. 
  • Visit Business Insider South Africa's homepage for more stories.

First National Bank (FNB) says it is not charging clients a reversal fee for taking back the "free" money accidentally reflected in their accounts earlier this week – despite a number of such claims on social media from angry customers.

Customers who believe they are seeing such charges are mistaken, Christoph Nieuwoudt, FNB's consumer CEO, told Business Insider South Africa.

There are no fees because there has been no reversal on affected accounts, he said.

"The monies that were in clients accounts were not deposits, in the same way that FNB correcting the transaction is not a reversal."

Instead the balances on accounts changed due to delays in processing debit card transactions, the bank says.

Read also: FNB gave away free money – here’s what will happen if you don’t pay it back

FNB believes a combination of factors, including the long weekend that included the 15th of the month, may have caused confusion. 

Debit orders scheduled for the 15th of the month – and the associated fees for those transactions – were pending over the weekend, and completed this week, the bank says. That means such fees would have reflected in account statements shortly after FNB's free money issue.

This, the bank says, could have led to the belief that normal fees were linked to the changes customers saw in their account balances.

"We are willing to work with each customer on an individual basis to help them understand where their 'fees' come from," Nieuwoudt says.

Clients who received money from FNB on Tuesday, in the form of apparently available balances, only to have that money apparently taken away again on Wednesday, were not impressed when they saw fees they believed associated with the fiasco. 


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