Equity Bank Customers Forced to Pay for SMS Alerts

If you’re an Equity Bank customer who has linked your phone number to your Bank Account so that you can receive SMSes whenever you transact, there’s news from the Bank. You will now be charged KES 2 (Plus VAT) whenever you receive an SMS, meaning whenever you transact. And the best bit is this, there’s no way to opt out. And the bank only made this clear once people asked what was happening.

These are not charges to the usual Bank Notifications like services, interruptions etc. These are charges to SMS notifications whenever you transact. So say you send money, buy airtime, receive a transaction, check balance etc. Each time you get a confirmation notification of the same via SMS, you will incur KES 2.26. It is akin to being charged for the confirmation SMS whenever you do a transaction on M-Pesa or Airtel Money. It is absolutely ridiculous.

This is the craziest cash cow a bank has ever come up with. Given the millions of customers who use Equity Bank, and given just how important it is to know if a transaction happened, and given it is a case of “oh you’re all already opted in, and there’s nothing you can do“, it is just crazy to see that there’s no regulatory body that can do anything about it.

In 2021, Equity Bank also introduced mandatory card maintenance charges. So if you have a debit card with them, each year you pay KES 240 to maintain it. This is in contrast to banks that charge you once for the card till it expires.

The other banks currently charging customers to receive transaction notifications are Cooperative Bank – a whopping KES 42 per SMS and ABSA Bank which charges KES 5. It seems this could become a trend with other banks seeing opportunities to make money.


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