For those with Netflix, or possibly any iTunes subscriptions or app purchases, that pay for them with a Standard Bank credit card - take note.
I noticed my Netflix subscription, which has been happily going off as a charge on my Standard Bank card since inception last year at R129.99, suddenly jumped to R133.56 last month. I called Standard bank to query the increase as my invoice from Apple was R129.99 as always.
Bank said that the amount that went off was what was taken by the merchant, no added fees, so I should call them. I duly called Apple who within a couple hours came back to me with the query escalated to their billing dept which confirmed they had only taken R129.99, and to please contact the bank to check if any fees had been deducted. I felt a vicious circle coming on…
Contact the card division. This time I hit the “fraud” dept as I know these guys jump when suspicious transactions are happening. Explained the story again, and was told to complete a “Statement of Dispute” form so that they can contact the vendor directly and sort it out. Did that. Response from that dept via email a couple days later was that the vendor got R129.99 and the extra R3.57 is a currency settlement amount.
So they WERE adding a fee, but bundling it with the transaction amount, even though first contact at the bank said the only way to attract extra fees was to swipe my card overseas and/or have a transaction go off in a foreign currency - which would then vary according to exchange rates and attract bank charges (understandably).
Netflix SA invoices are however in Rands, with VAT and has been since day 1, so why the sudden change in November that attracts this fee - I ask in reply to this email re the dispute. They can’t answer that, I have to call card division. Again.
3rd call to the bank. First explanation I get is that it was a system error and that it was rectified in November so I’m now being charged what I should have been all along. In the nicest possible way, I say “Bollocks”. Then I’m put on hold while she consults higher powers who she says might be able to help me understand better!!?!? Then I’m told that it is a 2.75% fee that is charged for a transaction by a foreign vendor. Again, in the nicest possible way I say “Bollocks”. The invoice is in Rands and has been charged to my card at the exact invoice amount every month - until now. Where in their pricing guide is this stated, I ask? Please hold while I check she says. I’m reading it while I wait. Only charge of 2.75% I see is labelled a “foreign currency conversion fee”. I highlight, yet again, that the invoice is in Rands not a foreign currency. Please hold, again.
A while later, I’m thanked profusely for my patience and my “query” is being investigated as they can see that “the wording isn’t quite clear”. Gosh, you’ve run out of excuses and now you’re blaming the brochure! I will be emailed they say once they’ve got feedback, as I made it very clear I want it on record from them why I was suddenly charged a fee that is not applicable on a transaction they denied several times of attaching any fees to. Shame on you Standard Bank.
ps, I have checked with at least one other person who’s Netflix subscription comes off a Nedbank credit card, and no such charge is added.
TL;DR: If your Netflix or iTunes subscriptions are coming off a Standard Bank credit card, check your statement carefully for random increases due to incorrect bank fees being charged.