FNB’s new Aspire account vs Capitec, Absa, Standard Bank and Nedbank

Retail banking group FNB has retired its middle market Gold Account, and replaced it with a new offering called Aspire.

FNB Aspire will carry a reduced monthly account at R99 (from R109 for the Gold Unlimited account) and will be available to customers who earn between R180,000 and R450,000 per annum. Notably, the monthly fee is up from the R89 per month Gold Fusion account, which along with Gold Unlimited, falls away.

Account holders will need to make at least three transactions a month via the app to qualify.

One of the key differences between Aspire and the retired Gold accounts is that the eBucks rewards scheme has been reworked. Previously account holders would need to meet certain transaction and spending thresholds to climb different reward tiers to earn eBucks.

Under the new system, account holders need only spend in four categories to earn a maximum of R150 back in eBucks each month. The eBucks can also be used to pay banking fees. Along with other rewards – like airtime and data tied to FNB Connect – the bank claims customers are getting triple the value for the monthly fee it charges.

However, when looking at the actual fees being charged for transactions, customers will find themselves in familiar territory, with the same bundled transactions as before, and increases for the most commonly used services, such as withdrawals and deposits.

Other less notable increases include:

  • Linked petrol card increasing from R20 (Gold) to R23 (Aspire);
  • Petrol card fuel purchases increasing from R5.75 (Gold) to R6.00 (Aspire);
  • Branch and International fees increasing by 25c on the retired Gold account formulae;
  • Stop payments increasing from R26 (Gold) to R30 (Aspire);
  • Interim/Provisional statements increasing from R18.20 per page (Gold) to a flat rate of R40 per statement (Aspire).

FNB’s Aspire banking charges can be found here. A comparison of select transactions, and a pay-as-you-use basis (excluding bundles) is in the table below:

FNB Aspire 2020/21 (Gold Fusion) R500 transaction in 2020/21 2021/22 Fees R500 transaction in 2021/22 % Change
Withdrawal (Native) R2.00 / R100 R10.00 R2.20 / R100* R11.00 +10%
Withdrawal (Other) R10.00 + R2.00 / R100 R20.00 R11.00 + R2.20 / R100 R22.00 +10%
Withdrawal (POS) Free Free Free Free
Deposit (ATM) R1.10 / R100 R5.50 R1.20 / R100* R6.00 +9%
Debit orders Free Free Free Free
Account fee R89.00 R99.00 +11%

* First R3,000 is free per month

FNB’s limited price restructuring comes on the back of its competitors also realigning their offerings after a difficult 2020 for customers. On a per-transaction basis, FNB’s Aspire account sits side-by-side with most other middle market accounts in terms of pricing.

Many of the adjustments or concessions made by the banks on transaction fees for 2020/21 came in the form of price freezes on monthly charges – while some banks restructured their fees entirely.

Absa postponed its pricing review in 2020 while it reassessed its value proposition to customers, announcing new prices in March 2021, two months after they would typically come into effect. The result was the zero-rating of some transactions (like point of sale charges), but withdrawals and deposits saw increases.

Nedbank kept most of its prices the same, while Discovery Bank did not change its fee structures at all. Capitec reduced withdrawal fees and zero-rated more transactions. As Capitec’s Global One account targets both middle market and entry-level banking customers, its lower fees compare favourably to other middle market accounts.

Standard Bank, meanwhile, changed its fee structure to be more uniform across different accounts, bringing its withdrawal fees in its Elite middle-market account in-line with its entry level accounts. This resulted in a significant reduction in fees for the middle market account.

Capitec Global One 2020/21 Fees R500 transaction 2021/22 Fees R500 transaction % Change
Withdrawal (Native) R8.00 / R1000 R8.00 R7.50 / R1000 R7.50 -6.3%
Withdrawal (Other) R9.00 / R1000 R9.00 R9.75 / R1000 R9.75 +8.3%
Withdrawal (POS) R1.20 R1.20 R1.60 R1.60 +33.3%
Deposits R1.20 / R100 R6.00 R1.30 / R100 R6.50 +8.3%
Debit orders R3.50 R3.50
Account fee (PAYT) R5.00 R5.00

You can review Capitec’s 2021/22 pricing here.

Absa Gold Cheque Bundle 2020 Fees R500 transaction 2021 Fees R500 transaction % Change
Withdrawal (Native) R2.00/R100 R10.00 R2.20/R100 R11.00 +10%
Withdrawal (Saswitch) R11.50 + R2.00/R100 R21.50 R12.00 + R2.20/R100 R23.00 +7%
Withdrawal (POS) R2.00 R2.00 Free Free -100%
Deposit (ATM) R2.00/R100 R10.00 R2.20/R100 R11.00 +10%
Debit order (internal) Free Free
Debit order (external) R19.00 R19.00
Account fee (PAYT) R109.00 R109.00

You can view Absa’s full 2021 pricing schedule 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.

Discovery Bank Transact Gold 2019/20 Fees R500 transaction in 2019/20 2020/21 Fees R500 transaction in 2020/21 % 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: FNB is replacing its Gold accounts – new pricing and eBucks changes for 2021

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FNB’s new Aspire account vs Capitec, Absa, Standard Bank and Nedbank