These are the best and worst bank accounts in South Africa for fees and charges

Union Solidarity has released the 8th 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).

The report breaks down these transactional groups into three distinct markets – namely the low-income market, middle income market, and the high-middle income market.

Low income market

In the low-income and basic banking space, judging on fees alone, Capitec is narrowly beaten this year by Absa’s Transact account, FNB’s Easy Account and Nedbank’s Pay-As-You-Use account.

“However, when the interest paid by Capitec is taken into account, Capitec is still, but just barely, the cheapest account. With that being said, Absa’s Transact account is now a truly compelling proposition for clients who rarely if ever hold more than R2 000 in their account,” said Gerhard van Onselen, Economics Researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI).

Low Income (12 transactions)

# Bank Account 12 Transactions cost
1 Capitec R5 000 balance R13.33
2 Capitec R2 000 balance R25.79
3 Absa Transact R26.85
4 FNB Easy Account – PAYT R30.35
5 Nedbank PAYU R31.80
6 Capitec R0 balance (No interest) R34.10
7 Standard Bank Access – PAYT R37.89
8 Old Mutual Money Account R40.40
9 Nedbank Ke Yona Bundle R52.00
10 FNB Easy Account Bundle R55.10
11 Standard Bank Access Plus R88.70

Low Income (17 transactions)

# Bank Account 17 Transactions cost
1 Capitec R5 000 balance R30.23
2 FNB Easy Account – PAYT R30.35
3 Absa Transact R41.10
4 Capitec R2 000 balance R42.69
5 Nedbank PAYU R49.30
6 FNB Easy Account Bundle R50.35
7 Capitec R0 balance (No interest) R51.00
8 Standard Bank Access – PAYT R57.99
9 Old Mutual Money Account R59.70
10 Nedbank Ke Yona Bundle R85.00
11 Standard Bank Access Plus R100.80

Middle income market

Looking at clients with middle-class income and sophisticated banking needs, the report showed that Standard Bank’s Elite Plus account is no longer the cheapest option among these bundle accounts, having been beaten out by Absa’s Gold account.

“After doing away with withdrawal fees for cash at retailers, Nedbank’s Savvy Plus account is competitive at this level this year for clients that do not wish to bank at Capitec for any reason,” Van Onselen said.

# Bank Account 25 Transaction cost
1 Capitec Global One (R10 000 balance – R41.54 interest) R35.46
2 Capitec Global One (R2 000 balance – R8.31 interest) R68.69
3 Old Mutual Money Account R90.70
4 Nedbank Savvy Plus R100.00
5 Absa Gold Value Bundle R103.00
6 Standard Bank Elite Plus R105.50
7 FNB Gold Cheque Unlimited R111.25
8 Standard Bank Elite Rebate (R41.54 forgone interest) R139.14
9 Standard Bank Elite PAYT R182.60

High-middle income market

For accounts marketed at higher middle-class clients, Van Onselen said that Absa’s Platinum Value Bundle soundly beats the other banks on pure cost considerations.

“Costs are, however, not the only reason clients consider these more expensive accounts, which usually include additional benefits, and such benefits require individual consideration,” he said.

# Bank Account 30 Transaction cost
1 Absa Platinum Value Bundle R165.00
2 Nedbank Savvy Bundle R180.00
3 Standard Bank Prestige Rebate (R41.54 forgone interest) R184.24
4 FNB Premier: Unlimited R192.50
5 Standard Bank Prestige Plus R196.60
6 Standard Bank Prestige PAYT R227.70
7 FNB Premier PAYT R301.70

Read: Capitec is now the second biggest bank in South Africa

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