Banks to Raise Cash-Related Fees ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Estonia's biggest banks, SEB and Swedbank, have announced plans to raise fees for cash-related services next year in an effort to steer consumers even more toward electronic banking, thereby cutting costs.

Among other changes next February, SEB will drop the fee-free withdrawal limit at ATMs from 2,000 to 1,000 euros. Another difference will be establishing a 0.3 percent fee, with a minimum charge of 2 euros, for cash deposits at bank locations.

SEB hopes that the higher fees will motivate customers to switch to card payments, decreasing cash circulation and its burden on banks.

SEB executive Eerika Vaikmäe-Koit said Estonians have welcomed electronic banking, but that the transition from cash to card has stalled in recent years.

"The share of cash payments is still half of all transactions and changing this has lately become a struggle," said Vaikmäe-Koit.

Cash accounts for every fifth payment in the Nordic countries, as opposed to every other payment in Estonia, she said. Card payments are also cheaper in Estonia than in the Nordic countries, she added.