Traditional banks in South Africa have continued to evolve to meet the demands of consumers in the country, an increasing number of whom are opting for cashless payments and mobile banking.
App-based and online banking is on the rise, as are mobile and contactless payments and online shopping.
To address these changing behaviours, a number of local banks have overhauled their existing product suite or rolled out new entry-level bank accounts.
These accounts are particularly aimed at the unbanked, offering low monthly account fees, bundled debit cards, and low fees for online and mobile banking transactions.
Standard Bank, FNB, Nedbank, Capitec, and Absa all offer these entry-level digital banking accounts, with a number of these launching relatively recently.
FNB’s Easy Zero account launched at the end of 2019, before which it was known as eWallet eXtra. Changes from the previous product included the bundling of a branded FNB debit card with the account and the addition of free card swipes.
Standard Bank MyMo was also launched last year and is aimed at the same market – offering the ability for customers to open an account with no documents or income required.
We compared the entry-level digital banking accounts from major traditional banks in South Africa to determine which of these products offers the best value.
Requirements and features
All of the bank accounts in this comparison have a number of features in common.
Most importantly, customers signing up for these accounts do not require to provide proof of monthly income. Absa’s Transact account takes this one step further by only allowing customers with an income of up to R3,000 per month to sign up.
All of these accounts are geared towards mobile and app-based banking and have no charges for card payments.
Standard Bank and FNB both offer mobile products, and these are bundled with their entry-level accounts.
Standard Bank MyMo users will receive 1GB of free mobile data on their Standard Bank Mobile SIM when signing up for an account, as well as R50 in airtime or 500MB of mobile data if they swipe their card four times each month.
All of the bank accounts included in this comparison offer cheap rates for buying airtime and data, as well as free or discounted EFT charges.
We also only included accounts which bundle a bank card with their offering and have a total monthly administration or access fee of R5 or below, including card fees. For this reason, Nedbank’s Pay-As-You-Use Everyday Banking account was included instead of its MobiMoney account.
The following accounts were compared:
- FNB Easy Zero
- Absa Transact
- Nedbank Pay-As-You-Use
- Standard Bank MyMo
- Capitec Global One (Debit Card)
Bank account comparison
The major transaction and banking fees for entry-level accounts from Standard Bank, FNB, Nedbank, and Absa are shown below.
Pricing was sourced from each bank’s 2020 banking fee brochure.
|Transaction||FNB Easy Zero||Nedbank Pay-As-You-Use||Standard Bank MyMo||Absa Transact||Capitec Global One|
|Monthly Account/Card Fee||Free||Free||R4.95||R4.90||R5.00|
|Withdrawal Fee (Native)||R8 per R1,000 up to R1,500pm, R2 per R100 after||R7 per R1,000||R6.50 (Under R1,000), R13 (R1,000 – R2,000)||R6 per R1,000||R8 per R1,000|
|Withdrawal Fee (Other)||R12 per R1,000 up to R1,500pm, R10 + R2 per R100 after||R10 + R2 per R100||R12 (Under !,000), R18 (R1,000 – R2,000)||R11.50 + R2 per R100||R9 per R1,000|
|Transfer between your own accounts||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free|
|Deposit (ATM)||Free up to R1,500pm, R1.10 per R100 after||R1 per R100||R1.70 per R100||R2 per R100||R1.20 per R100|
|Prepaid airtime or data||Free||R1||R1.20||R1.50||R0.50|
|Card Replacement||R60 (Retail), R120 (Branch)||R140||R145||R140||R70|