Cheapest bank accounts in South Africa

Solidarity has published its 10th annual Bank Charges Report, which compares the cost of personal accounts of the five major South African banks.

The organisation said the intention of the report is not to comment on or criticise bank charges, but rather to “give consumers insight into the options on transaction accounts offered to them by the largest banks in South Africa”.

This year’s report covers banking charges on accounts from Absa, Capitec, FNB, Nedbank, and Standard Bank.

It should be noted, however, that the findings are based on costs of transactions in 2019, and that banks will adjust their fees for 2020.

Method used

The organisation used a sample of transactions to create four profile types of 12, 17, 25, and 30 transactions.

The structure of transactions on each profile is shown in the table below:

The report used three main income or bank account requirement categories tied to the profiles:

  • Low income and basic banking – 12 and 17 transactions
  • Middle class income and sophisticated accounts – 25 transactions
  • Higher middle class income and sophisticated banking needs – 30 transactions

Low income and fairly basic banking

For the profile using 12 transactions, Solidarity found the Capitec account to have the lowest monthly bank charges – an amount of R23.18 for an account that maintains a R2,000 balance.

This was followed by Capitec accounts with balances of R1,000 and R0.

The FNB Easy Bundle was found to be the most expensive option, at a cost of R70.80.

The 17-transaction profile also revealed Capitec’s R2,000, R1000, and R0 balance accounts to be the cheapest, while the Nedbank Ke Yona bundle was the least affordable account at R97.60.

Middle class income and sophisticated accounts

With regards to accounts typically used by middle class income earners, Capitec performed best.

Using the 25-transaction profile, a Capitec account with a R5,000 balance raked up charges of R60.21, while an account maintaining a R2,000 balance would cost R72.80 and an account with a R0 balance would typically cost R80.00 per month.

Standard Bank’s Rebate account was the most costly option, at a transactional fee total of R247.23.

Higher middle class income and sophisticated banking requirements

In the higher middle class income category, Solidarity employed the profile with 30 transactions.

Capitec was not used in this comparison, as its products cater more for middle and lower income earners.

Standard Bank’s Prestige Rebate was the most affordable account, with a fee of R199.98, followed by the Absa Premium Account at R219.50.

The Standard Bank Prestige Bundle was the most expensive option at R246.40 per month.

ATM cash withdrawals

Solidarity also compared the cost of using ATM services.

Capitec customers pay R8 for withdrawing up to R500 cash, and R16 for R2,000.

FNB charged R19 for withdrawals of up to R500. This fee climbs to R47.50 for withdrawals of R2,000.

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Cheapest bank accounts in South Africa