Best credit card deals from South African banks

Many of South Africa’s major banks offer entry-level credit cards with minimal monthly fees that can help young consumers start building a good credit score.

These cards often also come with some added value in the form of membership to banks’ rewards programmes and other perks like free travel insurance.

A credit card lets you buy items you normally may not have been able to afford with cash upfront, and can also function as a simple payment card.

To avoid your credit card spending spiralling out of control will require discipline when making repayments.

Under the National Credit Act, the maximum annual interest rate chargeable is the repo rate plus 14%, currently amounting to 20.25%.

Theoretically, a R1,000 credit purchase will attract R202.50 of interest over a year, not accounting for monthly compounding.

Although that might not sound like much, interest payments can quickly wreck a monthly budget.

However, if you are disciplined with repayments, you can avoid interest on some credit card purchases altogether using interest-free periods.

Keeping up with your payments will positively impact your credit score, increasing the likelihood of a bank or other financial institution granting a loan at a decent interest rate in the future.

That could bring down the cost of financing a home, vehicle, or business in your long-term plans.

Apply for more than one option

Several banks offer discounted prices on a credit card if you bundle it with your main transactional account.

For the purposes of this comparison, we only looked at standalone cards for readers who wanted the freedom to choose a card from another provider than their primary bank.

Our first observation was that most banks offered personalised interest rates on their credit cards, so it might be a good idea to apply for more than one to see which bank could give you the best deal.

Regarding predetermined fees, the TymeBank credit card was the most affordable option when combining monthly fees, SMS notifications, and international payment charges.

It also allows for secondary cards for family members at no charge.

However, it didn’t have the level of perks and features available from bigger banks with similarly-priced products — including Absa, FNB, Nedbank, and Standard Bank.

These banks’ credit card accounts offer digital wallet payment support that lets you link the card to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Fitbit Pay or Garmin Pay.

They also include or allow the optional add-on of membership to the banks’ rewards programmes, providing discounts or cash back on various products and services.

The tables below provide a breakdown of the features and costs of entry-level credit card accounts from banks in South Africa.

Entry-level credit card features
Bank Minimum monthly income Interest rate Interest-free period Maximum credit limit Features and benefits
African Bank Black Unspecified Personalised Up to 62 days R250,000 Up to 3% annual interest back on positive (credit) balance
Tap payments
*Requires credit life insurance
Absa Flexi Core R2,000 Personalised Up to 57 days R90,000 Absa Rewards
Tap payments
All digital wallets supported
Lost card protection
R1.5 million automatic basic travel insurance
Special travel offers from Agoda.com
*Credit protection optional
Capitec GlobalOne Credit R5,000
R10,000 for self-employed
Personalised:
Prime to repo rate + 14%
Minimum of 25 days
Up to 55 days
R500,000 Capitec Live Better Rewards
Tap payments
Digital wallet support — Samsung Pay only
Free travel insurance up to R5 million
Up to 3.5% annual interest back on positive (credit) balance
Discovery Bank Gold R8,333 Personalised Up to 55 days Unspecified Discovery Miles
Vitality Money Rewards
Tap payments
All digital wallets supported
Free virtual cards
Up to 4% annual interest on positive (credit) balance
Free travel insurance
Free Vitality Savings Account
Free virtual cards
FNB Aspire R7,000 Personalised Up to 55 days Unspecified eBucks Rewards
Tap payments
All digital wallets supported
Free virtual cards
Purchase protection included
Free international travel insurance
Two free Slow lounge visits for flights booked on eBucks Travel
Free debt protection in case of death or disability up to R5,000
Nedbank Gold R5,000 20.25% Up to 55 days Unspecified Greenbacks Rewards optional — R25 per month
Tap payments
Digital wallet support
50% off Nu Metro movie tickets
Discount on car hire
Purchase protection included
Travel insurance optional
Standard Bank Blue R5,000 Personalised:
Prime minus 0.25% to repo rate + 14%
Up to 55 days R250,000 UCount Rewards optional — R25 per month
Tap payments
All digital wallets supported
0% interest rate on 6-month budget payment option
Free travel insurance up to R1 million
TymeBank Credit R3,000 Personalised Up to 55 days Unspecified 4x Smart Shopper Points earn
Free secondary cards for family
Entry-level credit card costs
Bank Local point-of-sale transaction fee SMS transaction notifications International payment fee Initiation Fee Monthly fee 
African Bank Black R0.00 R0.40 2% of transaction value R120.00 R50.00
Absa Flexi Core R0.00 R0.60 2.75% of transaction value R175.00 R44.00
Capitec GlobalOne R0.00 R0.40 Up to R200: R1.00
Over R200: R3.00
R100.00 R51.50
Discovery Bank Gold R0.00 Unspecified 2.75% of transaction value Up to R2,000: R150.00
Over R2,000: R175.00
R80.00
FNB Aspire R0.00 Unspecified 2% of transaction value Up to R175.00 R42.00
Nedbank Gold R0.00 R0.50 2% of transaction value R180.00 R40.00
Standard Bank Blue R0.00 R1.35 2.75% of transaction value R180.00 R40.00
TymeBank Credit R0.00 R0.00 2% of transaction value R160.00 R40.00

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Best credit card deals from South African banks