Cheapest bank accounts in South Africa

Discovery Bank’s Gold pay-as-you-transact (PAYT) account is the most expensive entry-level bank account from prominent South African banks, a MyBroadband analysis has revealed.

Meanwhile, Bank Zero and TymeBank are the most affordable, while FNB’s PayU account also performed well compared to Capitec, Discovery Bank, Nedbank, Standard Bank, and Absa’s entry-level products.

MyBroadband compared entry-level bank account fees from Absa, Bank Zero, Capitec, FNB, Nedbank, Standard Bank, and TymeBank to determine which is the cheapest.

We compiled a basket of common transactions for the comparison. These are as follows:

  • The monthly account fee
  • One cash deposit of R1,000
  • Two cash withdrawals of R1,000 at an ATM
  • One Point-of-Sale (PoS) cash withdrawal of R1,000
  • Three external debit orders
  • Three payments to other banks
  • Two prepaid airtime purchases
  • Two R100 prepaid electricity purchases
  • 15 SMS notifications

Bank Zero’s basket was the most affordable at R37.95, while TymeBank’s fees totalled R47.45. FNB was the cheapest of the brick-and-mortar banks at R52.75.

The chart below compares basket totals for the seven bank accounts we compared.

Standard Bank’s MyMo account totalled R63.50 for the basket — R10.75 more than the cheapest brick-and-mortar bank FNB.

Absa was the most expensive of the brick-and-mortar banks, with a total basket cost of R79, followed by Nedbank at R70.50 and Capitec’s GlobalOne account at R68.25.

However, Discovery Bank’s Gold PAYT account was the most expensive of the lot at R102.75.

This was primarily due to its higher monthly account, digital payment, debit order, and ATM withdrawal fees.

At R25 per month, the monthly account fee is R17.50 more than the next-most expensive option. It also charges R2.75 for digital payments, R3.75 for debit orders, and R5.00 plus 2.5% of the withdrawal value for ATM withdrawals.

Absa’s ATM deposit charges were the most expensive of the lot. It charges R2.50 per R100 deposited, bringing the total for a R1,000 deposit to R25.

Nedbank charges R2 per R100 for deposits, totalling R20. In comparison, Capitec, FNB, Nedbank, and Standard Bank charge R1.40 per R100, while Bank Zero, Time Bank, and Discovery Bank don’t offer ATM or branch deposits.

Absa was also among the most expensive for prepaid airtime and electricity purchases, for which it charges R1.50 each. The basket total for these charges was R3 each.

Only Nedbank charges the same for both prepaid electricity and airtime purchases. Standard Bank is cheaper for airtime purchases at R0.60, but more expensive for prepaid electricity transactions at R1.60 each.

Bank Zero and TymeBank are only more expensive than the other banks for point-of-sale (PoS) withdrawals, for which they both charge R19.95.

The others either don’t charge for PoS withdrawals or charge between R1.40 and R2 per withdrawal.

The banking fees for entry-level accounts from several South African banks are compared in the table below.

Basic costs and minimum balance requirements
Account Monthly fee Minimum balance SMS notification ATM deposit Branch deposit
Absa Transact R5.50 R20.00 R0.60 R2.50 per R100 R4 per R100
Bank Zero R0.00 R0.00 R0.00
Capitec GlobalOne R7.50 R25.00 R0.35 R1.40 per R100 R4 per R100
Discovery Bank Gold PAYT R25.00 R0.00 R0.00
FNB PayU R5.25 R0.00 R0.00 R1.40 per R100 R80 + R3/R100
Nedbank MiGoals Pay-as-you-use R5.00 R0.00 R0.50 R1.40 per R100 R80 + R3 per R100
Standard Bank MyMo R6.95 R0.00 R0.30 R1.40 per R100 R80 + R3 per R100
TymeBank R0.00 R0.00 R0.50
Withdrawals / payments / debit orders
Account ATM withdrawal PoS Withdrawal Payment to same bank Payment to other bank External debit order
Absa Transact R10 per R1,000 up to R2,000; then R2.50 per R100 R0.00 R1.00 R1.00 R3.50
Bank Zero R9 per R1,000 R19.95 R0.00 R0.00 R0.00
Capitec GlobalOne R10 per R1,000 R2.00 R1.00 R2.00 R3.50
Discovery Bank Gold PAYT R5 + 2.50 % of withdrawal value R2.00 R2.75 R2.75 R3.75
FNB PayU R8.50 per R1,000 up to R2,000; then R2.40 per R100 R0.00 R1.00 R1.00 R3.50
Nedbank MiGoals Pay-as-you-use R10 per R100 R2.00 R1.00 R1.00 R3.00
Standard Bank MyMo R9 per R1,000 up to R2,000; then R2.40 per R100 R1.40 R1.25 R1.25 R3.50
TymeBank R10 per R1,000 R19.95 R0.00 R0.00 R0.00
Prepaid airtime and electricity
Account Prepaid airtime Prepaid electricity
Absa Transact R1.50 R1.50
Bank Zero R0.00 R0.00
Capitec GlobalOne R0.50 R1.00
Discovery Bank Gold PAYT R0.00 R0.00
FNB PayU R0.00 <R75: R0.50 R75-R150: R1.50 >R150: R3
Nedbank MiGoals Pay-as-you-use R1.00 R1.00
Standard Bank MyMo R0.60 R1.60
TymeBank R0.00 R0.00

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Cheapest bank accounts in South Africa