Among the correspondence sent to the Financial Ombudsman, there are cases of seniors who complain about high fees charged by banks, e.g. when paying pensions or transfers for electricity, gas, garbage collection, etc.
For example, recently an 88-year-old senior from Wrocław in a letter to the Commissioner for Human Rights informs that since September this year In his case, fees related to cash withdrawals and transfers increased to PLN 8 per transaction. On a monthly basis, this translates into several dozen zlotys, which go to the bank instead of the pensioner’s budget.
“For me it is a pensioner – a senior a hit in the pocket, the home budget is depleted and inflation is raging” – writes the client in his correspondence, at the same time asking the Financial Ombudsman to take an interest in the issue of bank charges for the elderly.
The Financial Ombudsman reminds that with the thought of, inter alia, about such persons, regulations specifying the principles of a basic bank account have been introduced. Free account maintenance, free ATM withdrawals and 5 free transfers a month – these are the basic services available at any bank, both for seniors and all those who count every penny in the face of rising inflation.
– According to the estimates of the National Bank of Poland, every tenth Pole does not have a bank account. For many, fees charged by banks for account maintenance, transfers, issuing and servicing of account cards may be a limitation. In the face of inflation, when rising prices and fees especially affect the poorest, the idea of a basic bank account may also be attractive to current holders of standard-paid bank accounts – explains Prof. Mariusz Golecki, Financial Ombudsman.
A basic bank account is intended for natural persons who do not have any other bank account. According to the legislator, such an account is intended for people who are poorer, older or only entering the labor market, who resigned from a bank account for financial reasons, or have never had one in their lives.
It is to enable such people to receive salaries and benefits without cash, and to freely dispose of the accumulated funds, without fear of lowering income due to fees usually charged by the bank.
No, it is worth remembering that if we want to use the privilege of a basic bank account, we cannot have another account in any bank. Therefore, in order to apply for a free account, we must first close all other accounts.
Only then will we meet the basic requirement, but the legislator has not set a grace period here, so we can apply for a free account right after closing the current account.
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The account under the basic account is free, provided that the limit of free services is not exceeded. If it is exceeded, the bank may charge fees for each additional service, in accordance with the bank’s price list.
As part of the free package, we will receive 5 monthly transfers (including transfers at bank branches, online or standing orders) and 5 withdrawals or cash deposits at ATMs or CDMs not belonging to the bank where we have an account. Operations on devices belonging to our bank are free without a specific limit. The bank will also issue us with a free card that will enable cashless transactions.
Banks may also introduce additional free services, e.g. express transfers or using the BLIK payment system. However, this is at the discretion of the bank and is not subject to regulatory requirements.
Source: Financial Ombudsman