No-monthly-fee bank accounts in South Africa compared

Spot Money recently launched its new open banking platform in South Africa, offering a digital bank account with no monthly fees.

This account is managed purely through the Spot Money mobile application, which allows users to sign up simply by scanning their ID and taking a selfie.

Their debit card is then delivered to their door and they automatically receive two digital bank accounts – one for standard transactions and another for cashback rewards.

Spot Money joins a number of other bank accounts in South Africa which offer no monthly fees or card charges, including one apiece from major banks Nedbank and FNB.

Other no-monthly-fee bank accounts in South Africa include TymeBank and Bank Zero – both of which are branchless banks that interface with customers through mobile banking and, in the case of TymeBank, presences at till points in Pick in Pay and Boxer stores around the country.

The digital bank race

Digital banks with no monthly fees have taken off in recent years in South Africa, with players such as TymeBank launching early and seeing impressive growth.

Traditional banks have followed suit and begun building their own digital accounts as other players such as Bank Zero prepare to launch.

Bank Zero is a much-anticipated digital bank with no monthly fees founded by Michael Jordaan.

The bank was initially set to launch in the second half of 2020 but has since been delayed to go live at some point in 2021.

Bank Zero CEO Yatin Narsai said they will not be doing a “big bang” launch. Instead, Bank Zero will learn from customer feedback and incorporate such feedback before opening the gates.

The bank is currently in a closed beta phase and is expected to become available to the public later this year.

It will, however, have to compete with an increasingly saturated market, with FNB notably launching a similarly named “EasyZero” account before Bank Zero could get off the ground.

Spot Money’s local launch has also increased competition in the local digital banking space with its unique offering of an open financial services marketplace that is integrated with other financial service providers.

Fee comparison

Below is an outline of the comparable fees charged by the TymeBank, Nedbank Pay-As-You-Use, FNB EasyZero, Bank Zero, and Spot Money accounts in South Africa.

The EFT charges in the table below refer to payments made to external bank accounts.

Additionally, the native and other cash withdrawal fields refer to withdrawing cash via the bank’s preferred medium and another bank’s ATM, respectively.

Transaction FNB Easy Zero Nedbank Pay-As-You-Use Spot Money Bank Zero TymeBank
Monthly Account/Card Fee Free Free Free Free Free
Card payments Free Free Free Free Free
Withdrawal Fee (Native) R8 per R1,000 up to R1,500pm, R2 per R100 after R7 per R1,000 R6 + 0.5% of cash withdrawal value R2 R2
Withdrawal Fee (Other) R12 per R1,000 up to R1,500pm, R10 + R2 per R100 after R10 + R2 per R100 R6 + 1.4% of cash withdrawal value R9 per R1,000 R8 per R1,000
Transfer between your own accounts Free Free Free Free Free
Deposit cash Free up to R1,500pm, R1.10 per R100 after R1 per R100 Free (in-store) R8.50 (SendMoney to self at stores) R4 (Till point at PnP or Boxer)
EFT Payment R1 R2.20 R5 Free R2
Prepaid airtime or data Free R1 Free Free Free
Prepaid electricity R2.70 R2 Free Free Free
DStv R7 R5 Free Free Free
Lotto R2.70 R2.60 Free Free Free
Declined Transaction R8.50 R8.60 R1.50 R2 R2
Card Replacement R60 (Retail) R120 (Branch) R140 R125 R79 (Clicks pick-up) / R139 (Delivery) R40

Now read: FNB virtual card launched for all customers

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No-monthly-fee bank accounts in South Africa compared