FNB is replacing its gold value bank account bundle with a rebranded offering and a swanky black card for middle-income customers – as it competes with peers to claim a bigger market share of this segment.
The FirstRand-owned bank announced its 2021 fees on Tuesday, while at the same time unveiling a new value proposition for the middle income group, one of the biggest customer segments for banks.
As part of this push, its gold value bundle was “retired”. In its place comes the new FNB Aspire package – which is also R10 cheaper than the current gold value bundle monthly fee of R109. It will be available from July.
“Twelve-odd years ago, FNB launched a first-to-market gold card which was very aspirational for customers in this segment. Over the years, this gold card has served us very, very well. We occupy a strong position in the market as a result of it,” said Rob Gwerengwe, CEO of FNB Middle Market.
But the bank wants to boost its relevance, and now hopes that a black card – usually the preserve of private-banking clients – will assist.
According to FNB’s categorisation, the middle segment includes people earning between R180 000 and R450 000 a year. It estimates that roughly 3.5 million people in SA fall into the group, which makes it the largest – after low-income earners and the unbanked population that predominantly relies on cash-send products like eWallet.
“From an FNB perspective, our current [market share of the middle-income segment] is about 25%. It is sizeable and with this value proposition and other strategies, we are looking to grow that to 30% and beyond in the next few years,” said Gwerengwe.
Capitec was the first to “democratise” bank cards in South Africa – all of its clients, no matter their income, can receive a black Global One card.
But in FNB’s case, the Aspire card will still be for certain customers only.
“Really what Aspire about is that we have customers that own homes but aspire to be in a home that better meets their families’ needs. They aspire to own a vehicle; they aspire to attain higher levels of education. As a bank we want to be the ones that enable that for our customers,” said Gwerengwe.
FNB cuts fees for spouses
FNB also announced other changes on Tuesday.
Across its bundle accounts, it is now offering 50% off on monthly banking fees for spouses and partners and a no-monthly-fee account to minors.
Customers can withdraw money for free at supermarket tills, and clients don’t have to pay for payment notifications.
FNB is also offering more in terms of eBucks rewards, data and airtime to these customers – and across all its bank accounts. It’s also allowing customers to pay their bank fees using eBucks rewards again.
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