The cheapest bank accounts in South Africa vs FNB’s eWallet eXtra

The entry-level banking market has become very competitive, with FNB now claiming to have the cheapest bank offering in the country with its eWallet eXtra mobile bank account.

The rise of Capitec’s Global One account over the last few years has effectively forced South Africa’s other major retail banks to launch competing accounts in the level-entry space.

Capitec’s Global One sold clients on the concept of ‘simple banking’ – disrupting traditional banking models by giving customers access to their funds and banking services through once-off fees, rather than the complicated transaction-based calculations applied to typical middle market accounts.

Alongside Capitec’s rise to being the second largest bank in the country (by retail clients), Absa, Standard Bank, Nedbank and FNB all launched similar products to compete with the Global One account.

Most recently, however, FNB launched an entirely new account into the market, in a bid to take the title of the cheapest bank account in the country.

In April, FNB announced eWallet eXtra, a beefed up version of the bank’s eWallet, which functions as a fully-fledged banking account that carries no monthly fees.

According to FNB, the eWallet eXtra account will appeal the the huge untapped market of unbanked South Africans, which it estimates to be around 11 million adults in the country.

It’s this group that is also squarely in the sights for a number of new entrants into the local banking market, including Bank Zero, Tyme Digital, PostBank and the planned launch of transactional banking with African Bank later this year.

eWallet eXtra fees

The eWallet eXtra account has no monthly maintenance fee, but does charge for specific transactions. The transaction fees are tied to the value of the transaction – with R1,000 dividing the two set values.

  • For sending money, withdrawing money or depositing money under R1,000, the set fee is R10.95.
  • For all transactions over R1,000, the fee is R13.95.
  • [email protected] withdrawals are free at participating Spar stores, and other retailers.
  • EFT payments are R3.75 per transaction.
  • For prepaid airtime transactions under R10, the fee is R1.00 – and over R10, the fee is R2.00.
  • Prepaid electricity purchases are R2.50.

Account comparisons

FNB’s eWallet eXtra fees place it in direct competition with other entry-level accounts already available in South Africa. Of the accounts that are currently available, Old Mutual’s Money Account has the lowest monthly fees.

The account carries a monthly fee of R4.50, and offers free salary drop and EFT deposits of funds into the account (physical cash deposits carry a single fee of R7.50).

This is closely followed by Absa’s Transact account, which carries some of the lowest transactions fees across all accounts – including the lowest withdrawal fees from native ATMs and at till points, while also offering free deposits.

The table below outlines how the fee structures for the entry-level accounts across SA’s major banking groups compare.

Bank Monthly Fee Withdrawal (Native) Withdrawal (Other) Withdrawal (POS) Payment Cash Deposit (ATM)
FNB eWallet eXtra Free R10.95 Free R3.75 R10.95
Old Mutual Money R4.50 R6.50 R13.00 R1.50 R2.00 Free
Absa Transact R4.99 R6.05 R12.11 R1.31 R3.78 Free
Standard Bank Access R5.30 R1.82 per R100 R8.07 + R1.82 per R100 R1.82 R1.51 R1.61 per R100
Nedbank Ke Yona R5.50 R6.50 R8.00 + R1.51 per R100 R2.00 R2.00 R1.00 per R100
FNB Easy R5.75 R1.90 per R100 R9.00 + R1.90 per R100 R1.60 R3.75 R0.95 per R100
Capitec Global One R5.80 R6.56 R8.83 R1.61 R1.60 R0.96 per R100

The table below shows how much an account holder could expect to pay for a R1,000 transaction in each case (based on the eWallet eXtra dividing limit).


Read: South Africa’s banking fees compared

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