It is not only mBank that raises fees, which means that banking services become more expensive

Luc Williams

mBank is not the first and probably will not be the last bank to decide to change TOiP this year, i.e. the tariff of fees and commissions, which will result in increases in service prices. Although the latest decision of the fourth largest domestic bank received wide publicity – mBank has over 4.6 million retail customers in Poland.

More expensive cash withdrawals

“The prices of goods and services have increased significantly in the last two years. This also affects the service costs we incur. For this reason, we are increasing some fees and commissions, mainly related to cash withdrawals,” the bank said in a statement on Tuesday (January 30). The increases apply primarily to cash transactions at ATMs, but also to card fees. In some cases, thresholds for avoiding charges have been raised, meaning more customers will have to pay them.

Withdrawing cash from an ATM is not free for the bank. It must maintain its own network. In the case of a transaction with a partner – in another bank’s machine or in a network such as Euronet or Planet Cash – he must pay the ATM owner himself. Payment organizations such as Visa or Mastercard also charge a commission. From June, mBank customers will pay not only for card withdrawals: “From June 4, 2024, we are introducing a fee for Blik ATM withdrawals. You will pay for such a transaction as you would for a card withdrawal,” the bank said.

Want to play? You will pay

A few days earlier, changes in the tariff were announced by BNP Paribas Bank Polska. From April, the fee for using an “account opened for you” increases from zero to PLN 2.50 per month (you can avoid it at least once a month by logging in to your account online or in the mobile application). BNP Paribas also noticed the popularity of gambling in Poland. “For all debit cards: introduction of a commission (4% of the transaction value) for non-cash card transactions related to games of chance, including: in a casino, online casino, game room, bookmaker, totalizator, etc. and for non-cash card transactions performed as a money transfer (until December 31, 2024, it will amount to 2% of the transaction value, and after that date – 4% .transaction value)” – stated in the information for customers.

How does BNP Paribas explain the changes in TOiP? – – The high variability of the business environment requires us to constantly adapt our offer and technological infrastructure to be able to meet the challenges posed by the market, and at the same time provide our clients with increasingly better quality of services with constantly increasing convenience of using them. Continuous improvement of the quality of services generates an increase in costs, which is also influenced by the market conditions in which the entire financial sector in Poland operates. These include regulatory uncertainty, the still unstable macroeconomic situation, and growing fiscal and parafiscal burdens. These factors strongly influence the financial results of banks and the state of their capital, which in turn limits the sector’s ability to support economic development and sustainable transformation in Poland. Despite rising costs, we remain determined to keep fees as low as possible, often zero, for our active customers – said Aldona Skarbek-Jakubowska, leader of Tribe Bankarstwo Codzienna (the Polish branch of BNP Paribas operates in the agile formula, quoted in the bank’s announcement, where we talk about tribes rather than teams).

Poland ranks fourth in the EU in terms of pay rises

Why can we expect pay rises in other institutions as well? Due to the expected drop in interest rates. Their increase in 2021-2022 allowed for a sharp increase in interest income, which translated into better results. But rate cuts will mean that interest will no longer be the driver of performance. In turn, increasing commission income thanks to a larger number of loans or investment funds sold was difficult for banks.

According to Eurostat data, last year Poland was one of the European Union countries with the highest increase in the prices of financial services (this category does not include insurance in the statistics, but postal fees are included). They increased in price by 9.1%. Only consumers in Austria (15.4%), Hungary (13.8%) and the Netherlands (12.9%) experienced stronger increases. On average in the EU there was an increase of 4.9% in this category. In several countries – Ireland, France, the Czech Republic and Belgium – there were symbolic reductions, not exceeding 1%.

EU statistics show the dynamics of prices of financial services, but they do not allow for a comparison of where using banks is more expensive and where it is cheaper. Data regarding the scale of price increases or decreases should be treated with caution. In 2022, according to Eurostat, the price of financial services increased by 6.2%.

Meanwhile, the National Bank of Poland in its analysis of fees related to the use of payment accounts for this period (data for last year is not available yet) writes as follows: “The amounts of fees and commissions related to the use of a payment account in Poland, which were applicable in the price lists of payment service providers on end of 2022, have not changed (with a few exceptions) compared to the end of 2021.


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