The most popular bank in South Africa

New banking data from consumer research group Nielsen shows that Capitec has significantly extended its lead over South Africa’s other big banks to become the most-used primary bank in the country.

In its annual survey, Nielsen asked respondents which institution they use as their primary bank – that is, which bank account they use to receive their monthly salary deposit and use primarily for transactions.

The results showed that in 2016, Capitec continued to eat into the market share of its competitors.

Three out of 10 (29%) banking customers pointed to Capitec as their primary bank – 11 percentage points greater than FNB, with 18%. Absa tracked behind at 17%, followed by Standard Bank with 15% and Nedbank, with 10%.

Looking at the historic data as tracked by Nielsen, Capitec has shown exceptional growth over the past decade, moving from only 2% of primary accounts in 2006 – with a significant climb in market share starting in 2012.

Conversely, South Africa’s bigger banks – Absa and Standard Bank – have seen their share slip, while FNB and Nedbank have remained fairly flat.

The graph below shows the changes in the market share of South African banks since 2006. The percentages refer the portion of respondents who indicated the respective banks as holding their primary account.

The Nielsen data is based on responses from 2,328 banking clients, weighted to reflect the 22.9 million banked population.

Most popular bank by province

Nielsen’s report also provided data on the national and provincial breakdown, showing which bank holds the most primary accounts in Gauteng, the Western and Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal.

South Africa

Western Cape


Eastern Cape

KwaZulu Natal

Capitec has made major inroads into the South African banking market, slowly eating into the middle market often covered by the other retail banks.

At latest reporting, Capitec overtook both FNB and Nedbank in terms of banking clients, becoming the third largest retail bank in the country by this metric.

In the last quarter of 2016 the bank launched its first credit card offering, with the aim of drawing in higher-income clients.

Having listed on the JSE in 2002 at R2, Capitec’s share price closed at R702,92 on Friday, 27 January 2017.

Read: Capitec has launched a new credit card: everything you need to know

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