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The most popular bank in South Africa

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


Gauteng


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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  • Hiren Patel

    Why is the url of this article not clean like the others from the main page?

    • aknit

      Did it affect your consumption of the article itself in anyway?

      –aknit

      • Roelf Van Der Merwe

        He’s probably just a OCD web developer or something lol

        • Hiren Patel

          lol, not really no. It just looked funny that the url has “_trashed” in it, I was just wondering if some automated thing generating urls for the articles had issues, and businesstech might want to see why, that’s all 🙂

  • Boerseun

    Any bank but Absa bank is good imo.

    • Blapartheid Zulu

      Fook absa, they are simply the worst

    • Standard Bank is literal hell. Only banks worth touching are Capitec and FNB.

      • Canuck100

        FNB; lowest interest rates and Highest service charges, visitors from the UK are shocked that we have to pay to deposit money in our accounts:(

        • lerumo

          wait are you saying they don’t pay to deposit money?

          • the-TRUTH

            the TRUTH is that in the early 90s, banks were not charging us for depositing money – I don’t know how the ANC government allowed these bloody banks to legally rip us off? Eish…

          • Canuck100

            They (FNB) charge you for making deposits – how sick is that?

        • Shows how bad the others are. Reason FNB is worth touching is that it has to be used in order to withdraw PayPal funds. Otherwise, Capitec all the way.

  • Literally Mario

    ABSA Bank, you ahould know that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer, your prodigious size did not dissuade the sharpened blade.

    • John Wilson

      Absa’s bad mentality towards their clients made me move away from them way back in 2000 to FNB. One of the best decisions I ever made.

  • bengine

    Not really much of an achievement – not to take anything away from Capitec but it did not really have much competition.

  • Luke

    “Having listed on the JSE in 2002 at R2, Capitec’s share price closed at R702,92 on Friday, 27 January 2017.”
    What an investment, that’s some incredible growth.

    • BallsToTheWall

      Darn it Luke, why do you keep rubbing this in my face?! 🙂

      Every day I kick myself for not having invested then…

  • SpeakingTruth

    Prime reason I joined Capitec is that when I was with ABSA and FNB, for the same transactions as I have, I was pay 3x the bank charges per month and more. Apart from that, FNB and ABSA have a serious attitude when things go wrong on their side and stonewall you.

  • Brad Peng

    Amazing to see how much Capitec has grown!

  • I was with ABSA all my life (since they were Volkskas) and the best decision I ever made was switching to Capitec. ABSA treated me like garbage and my only regret is that I didn’t leave sooner. The day I moved to Capitec was the day my savings account actually started growing. Every month since then I’ve earned more in interest than I paid in bank charges. It’s amazing how things change when your bank isn’t actively trying to bankrupt you!

  • Runnin Bare

    Well done Capitec for showing up all the old fashioned rip offs.

  • A statistician can perhaps inform me how it is that 2300 respondents to a survey can be extrapolated to indicate “accurately” the dispersion of 22.9 million primary bank accounts. Please?

    • Colonel Jack

      Exactly !!

    • John Wilson

      Easy. It represents a sample. If you want to test the water of Hartebeespoortdam, you don’t test all the water but a sample. It’s statistically sound.

  • victory

    Can l move my home Loan to Capitec?

    • John Wilson

      Capitec don’t offer home loans but they have partnered with SA home loans so you need to discuss with them. They don’t offer vehicle finance either. They focus on unsecured loans and recently introduced credit cards which is in effect also an unsecured loan. As their loans are unsecured, you can expect to pay high interest rates.

  • lerumo

    Capitec is dirt cheap but the lines at the ATM are always long because those idiots only put 2 ATM’s at every branch. I can’t wait till they have business banking so i can finally ditch fnb for good.

    • Lindo

      Its cheaper to withdraw at tills and its free to purchase using your debit card,

    • John Wilson

      You should learn to use your debit or credit card. Cheaper and more convenient.

  • Maxil Travianus

    I would have lost the bet if someone asked me to pick the biggest before reading the article.

    • John Wilson

      The biggest in terms of client numbers is not that important. Numbers do matter but it’s the quality of the client that matters more. FNB might have less clients but they have much more big income client which translates in higher profits.

  • It’s-a-fact

    LOL, Absa’s support is declining, just like it’s value offering.

  • Peter Ogilvie

    Great to see Capitec at the top of the pile and Nedbank at the bottom. 30 plus years of loyalty meant zip to Nedbank. Very happy with Capitec. Great service and vastly reduced fees considering the fortune in fees paid to Nedbank over the years I was with them.

  • the-TRUTH

    I need to buy some shares in Capitec

  • Sean Redmond

    You get interest at Capitec, Standard Bank 0, zero , nothing. If I have spare I transfer to my Capitec account and get interest.
    Well done Capitec.

    • John Wilson

      FNB, Standard Bank etc don’t give interest on cheque accounts because they are transactional accounts and not meant to keep funds in. To save money, one just transfer money to a savings or investment account. So Capitec’s claim to fame that they give interest on transactional account is not a big deal after all.

  • 777Concerned777

    ANC – ABSA… Same trouble. Just go FNB and rest assure.

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