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Bombi Mavundza/ Business Insider
  • Local banks will no longer charge fees for withdrawing from competitor ATMs via the Saswitch system during South Africa's lockdown, Standard Bank said on Sunday.
  • That allows consumers to use the machines closest to them, without additional charges, and so avoid travel.
  • The government has suspended, for the duration of the Covid-19 disaster, competition measures that would usually make it illegal for banks to cooperate.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

South African banks will not charge Saswitch fees, the extra fees for using the ATM of a competing bank, during the Covid-19 disaster, Standard Bank said on Sunday.

The South African government recently gazetted temporary rules to allow banks to collaborate on measures to help clients during the coronavirus pandemic, suspending competition rules that would otherwise forbid such cooperation.

Banks have also been urged to keep the supply of physical banknotes steady during South Africa's lockdown.

Standard Bank said that during discussions, the banking sector collectively decided to waive Saswitch fees during the lockdown. 

This means that a customer can use any ATM closest to them, including those of competing banks, and only pay the usual fees charged for the transaction they conduct, rather than extra fees that would usually apply.

Business Insider South Africa was unable to immediately verify implementation of the measure with other South African banks or Saswitch operator BankservAfrica.

The Saswitch system, which allows interoperability between bank ATMs, was a world-first when launched.

Among the other measures banks have adopted to help during the Covid-19 disaster to date, Standard Bank and Nedbank have introduced debt repayment holidays for struggling businesses and students 

First National Bank (FNB) said it will be helping consumers, but did not provider finder detail.  

(Compiled by James de Villiers)