These are the best and worst bank accounts in South Africa

Union Solidarity has released the 7th edition of its annual banking charges report, showing the cheapest and most expensive banking options across the major retail banks in South Africa.

The report is based on monthly banking fees from South Africa’s five biggest banks (Standard Bank, FNB, Absa, Nedbank and Capitec), across four client profiles.

Each profile represents a different type of banking customer, and covers a different number of transactions (from a basic 12 transactions, to a comprehensive 30 transactions).

Further, the bank accounts are separated into two groups, namely those marketed at low-income groups and those marketed at middle-income groups.

The profiles have been compiled in-line with the banks’ promotional claims and account goals – namely limiting cash withdrawals, choosing internet services over physical branch visits and no overdraft or international transactions.

According to the report, Capitec Bank has ‘generally’ emerged as the cheapest bank for the needs of most people, though competition from the other four banks is becoming stronger.

Low Income (12 transactions)

# Bank Account 12 Transactions cost
1 Capitec R5 000 balance R11.29
2 Capitec R2 000 balance R24.34
3 Absa Transact R24.45
4 FNB Easy Account – PAYT R27.85
5 Nedbank PAYU R28.90
6 Standard Bank Access – PAYT R31.59
7 Capitec R0 balance (No interest) R33.05
8 FNB Easy Account Bundle R50.90
9 Nedbank Ke Yona Bundle R70.10
10 Standard Bank Access Plus R85.60

Low Income Sophisticated (17 transactions)

# Bank Account 17 Transactions cost
1 Capitec Global One (R10 000 balance – R43.53 interest) R5.72
2 Capitec Global One (R2 000 balance – R8.71 interest) R40.54
3 Absa Flexi Value Bundle R57.40
4 Absa Flexi R101.55

Middle Income (25 transactions)

# Bank Account 25 Transaction cost
1 Capitec Global One (R10 000 balance – R43.53 interest) R30.52
2 Capitec Global One (R2 000 balance – R8.71 interest) R65.34
3 Standard Bank Elite Plus R100.25
4 Absa Gold Value Bundle R102.00
5 Nedbank Savvy Plus (alternative profile) R104.00
6 FNB Gold Cheque Unlimited R104.75
7 Nedbank Savvy Plus R108.00
8 Standard Bank Elite PAYT R168.15
9 Absa Gold PAYT R238.75

Upper-middle Income (30 transactions)

# Bank Account 30 Transaction cost
1 Absa Platinum Value Bundle R163.80
2 Nedbank Savvy Bundle R180.00
3 FNB Premier: Unlimited R182.20
4 Standard Bank Prestige Plus R185.30
5 Standard Bank Prestige PAYT R207.70
6 FNB Premier PAYT R285.25
7 Absa Platinum PAYT R286.60

According to Solidarity, there has been a phasing out of pay-as-you-transact accounts in favour of bundle accounts, particularly for middle and upper-middle income profiles.

At 25-30 transactions a month, a PAYT option works out to be more expensive, and bundles are the more cost-effective route. While account fees have stayed the same, PAYT fees have increased.

The general bundle fee has been relatively stable at around R100 for the past three years, which is a positive occurrence, as it means most bundle users have experienced decreasing costs, in real terms, Solidarity said.

Comparing bundle accounts, Standard Bank comes out on top, the report showed.

# Bank Account Fixed fee Average cost (all profiles)
1 Standard Bank Elite Plus R95.00 R99.20
2 Absa Gold Value Bundle R98.00 R101.20
3 Nedbank Savvy Plus (alternative profile) R100.00 R103.00
4 FNB Gold Cheque Unlimited R100.00 R103.80
5 Absa Platinum Value Bundle R159.00 R162.20
6 FNB Premier Unlimited R175.00 R179.80
7 Nedbank Savvy Bundle R180.00 R180.00
8 Standard Bank Prestige Plus R179.00 R183.20

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These are the best and worst bank accounts in South Africa