2021 South African banking fees compared: Capitec vs Absa vs Standard Bank vs Nedbank vs FNB

 ·5 Jan 2021

South Africa’s big banks have published their fee schedules for the start of 2021.

Standard Bank and Nedbank are the latest to publish their fees, which came into effect from 1 January 2021. FNB, Capitec and Discovery Bank published their updated fees in late 2020 which will continue until their review periods later in 2021.

Absa, meanwhile, has announced that it will be delaying their fee changes to March 2021, putting their coming changes in line with Capitec’s release schedule.

Below BusinessTech looked at how the banks compare on several transactions, including the basics like how much they charge you to put money into and take money out of your account.

The accounts compared are all mid-market, or Gold equivalents – the bundled option, where applicable. Withdrawal and deposit fees are based on out-of-bundle prices, for a single R500 transaction.

Monthly Fees

Monthly account fees have become the battleground for most banks in the “race to zero” – however, this has only really played out in the entry-level offerings by the banks.

Bundled accounts from the big banks have largely remained in the region of R100 a month, marking the ‘gold’ standard for middle market accounts.

Capitec, which has always played in both the entry-level and mid-market space, has continued to leverage its fixed-fee Global One account in this space, and again shows up the competitors in this space with the cheapest monthly fee.

Among the legacy banks, FNB has done the most to cut this cost, and is the cheapest with a R89.00 per month Gold bundled option.

Withdrawal Fees

Withdrawal fees have always been a contentious point for banking customers and a highly competitive spot for the banks.

Over time, banks have slowly moved away from a formula that takes a set fee plus a percentage portion of the amount being withdrawn, to a simpler formula of a fixed fee per R100 note, or per R1,000 transaction.

Because of these changes, the cost to customers to withdraw funds has reduced significantly over time – and a surprising twist for 2021 is that Standard Bank has now become the cheapest bank to withdraw money from – even more so than Capitec, which pioneered the cheap access to funds for years.

In its 2021 fee review, Standard Band simplified its pricing structure to charge a single R7.50 per R1,000 withdrawn – the cheapest rate across the banks. Better yet, this applies across all its accounts – including premium-tier banking.

Capitec’s withdrawal fees remain low compared to the other banks, which range between R10 and R12 for a R500 transaction.

Deposit Fees

In 2020, Nedbank reduced its deposit fees at Nedbank ATMs to zero, meaning it takes the crown for the cheapest bank to deposit with.

With bundled accounts, banks offer free deposits to a certain value per month, but on a pay-as-you-transact level, these fees differ greatly.

Until Absa announces its full pricing review for 2021 in March next year, it remains the priciest option, give its 2020 rates. Discovery Bank does not have ATMs through which to deposit cash.

Fee changes

The graph below shows the periods through which the fees below are valid.

The prices below reflect the charges on banks’ mid-level (gold-equivalent) accounts where applicable.

TymeBank, African Bank MyWORLD, Old Mutual Money and Bidvest Bank GROW accounts have been excluded as they are purely entry-level accounts.

Absa Gold Cheque Bundle 2020 Fees R500 transaction in 2019 2021 Fees* R500 transaction in 2021* % Change
Withdrawal (Native) R2.00/R100 R10.00 R2.00/R100 R10.00
Withdrawal (Saswitch) R11.50 + R2.00/R100 R21.50 R11.50 + R2.00/R100 R21.50
Withdrawal (POS) R2.00 R2.00 R2.00 R2.00
Deposit (ATM) R2.00/R100 R10.00 R2.00/R100 R10.00
Debit order (internal) Free Free
Debit order (external) R19.00 R19.00
Account fee (PAYT) R109.00 R109.00

* Prices applicable to March 2021. More on Absa’s 2020/21 pricing here.

Standard Bank Elite Account 2020 Fees R500 transaction in 2020 2021 Fees R500 transaction in 2021 % Change
Withdrawal (Native) R1.90/R100 R9.50 R7.50/R1000 R7.50 -21.0%
Withdrawal (Other) R9.00 + R1.90/R100 R18.50 R10.00/R1000 R10.00 -46.9%
Withdrawal (POS) R2.00 R2.00 R1.40 R1.40 -30.0%
Deposit (ATM) R1.90/R100 R9.50 R9.00/R1000* R9.00 -5.2%
Debit order (internal/external) R4.50/R18.00 R3.50
Account fee R107.00 R110.00 +2.8%

* First R1,500 is free. More on Standard Bank’s 2021 pricing here.

Nedbank Savvy Account 2020 Fees R500 transaction in 2020 2021 Fees R500 transaction in 2021 % Change
Withdrawal (Native) R2.00/R100 R10.00 R2.20/R100 R11.00 +10.0%
Withdrawal (Other) R10.00 + R2.00/R100 R20.00 R10.50 + R2.20/R100 R21.50 +7.5%
Withdrawal (POS) Free Free Free Free
Deposit (ATM) Free Free Free Free
Debit order (internal) Free Free
Debit order (external) Free Free
Account fee R115.00 R115.00

More on Nedbank’s 2021 pricing can be found here.

FNB Gold Cheque Account 2019/20 R500 transaction in 2019/20 2020/21 Fees R500 transaction in 2020/21 % Change
Withdrawal (Native) R1.90 / R100 R9.50 R2.00 / R100 R10.00 +5%
Withdrawal (Other) R9.50 + R1.90 / R100 R19.00 R10.00 + R2.00 / R100 R20.00 +5%
Withdrawal (POS) R1.60 R1.60 Free Free -100%
Deposit (ATM) R1.00 / R100 R5.00 R1.10 / R100 R5.50 +10%
Account fee R109.00 R89.00 -18%

You can find FNB’s 2020/21 pricing guide here.

Capitec Global One 2019/20 Fees R500 transaction 2020/21 Fees R500 transaction % Change
Withdrawal (Native) R6.00 / R1000 R6.00 R8.00 / R1000 R8.00 +33.3%
Withdrawal (Other) R8.00 / R1000 R8.00 R9.00 / R1000 R9.00 +12.5%
Withdrawal (POS) R1.00 R1.00 R1.20 R1.20 +20.0%
Debit orders (ATM) R3.50 R3.50
Account fee (PAYT) R5.00 R5.00

You can review Capitec’s 2020/21 pricing here.

Discovery Bank Transact Gold 2019/20 Fees R500 transaction in 2019/20 2020/21 Fees R500 transaction in 2019/20 % Change
Withdrawal (Native ATM) R4.50 + 1.5% of amount R12.00 R4.50 + 1.5% of amount R12.00
Withdrawal (Other ATM) R4.50 + 1.5% of amount R12.00 R4.50 + 1.5% of amount R12.00
Withdrawal (POS) R2.00 R2.00 R2.00 R2.00
Deposit (ATM) n/a n/a n/a n/a
Debit orders R3.75 R3.75 R3.75 R3.75
Monthly account fee R120.00 R120.00

You can view the Discovery Bank Gold Transaction Account fees here.

Read: 10 things South Africans says will make them switch banks

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