Most expensive bank accounts in SA

While South Africa’s banks ramp up competition to offer the most affordable banking account for consumers, the big four have not forgotten about their premium clients.

Most South African banking clients will be familiar with the wide range of saving and transactional accounts available from Capitec, FNB, Nedbank, Absa and Standard Bank.

However, the country’s top earners find themselves open to the world of private banking – the top-tier of banking accounts, which are only open to customers who earn a minimum high-level income, or have multi-million rand investment portfolios.

According to source material available from the banks, Standard Bank currently has the lowest barrier for entry into the premium banking market.

Standard Bank’s most premium offering for personal markets is a Private Banking account, which is available for clients who have a minimum income of R58,000 a month, with a minimum monthly deposit of R35,000.

On the other side of the spectrum, Nedbank’s Private Wealth options carry the highest barrier for entry, requiring a minimum annual salary of R1.5 million (approximately R125,000 per month), or investable assets greater than R5 million.

FNB’s entry requirements begin at a minimum R1.1 million per annum salary, or investable assets of R3 million.

Monthly maintenance fees on the accounts range from lower options to premium options. For the sake of this comparison, we looked at the most expensive option available on each account.

The monthly service fees listed below cover each bank’s premium bundled option, which varies across each bank. FNB’s bundled pricing, for instance, removes the fee entirely if a credit balance of at least R100,000 is kept each month.

Generally speaking, however, the bundles offer a multitude of free transactions.

Bank Account Monthly fee Minimum Salary requirement
Standard Bank Private Banking R299 R58,000 (R700,000 pa)
Absa Private Banking R345 R62,500 (R750,000 pa)
FNB Private Clients R349 R91,000 (R1.1 million pa)
Nedbank Private Wealth R300 R125,000 (R1.5 million pa)

While Capitec has noted growth in “premium” clients making use of its Global One account, the bank does not offer a comparable private account product to be included in this comparison.

American Express Black Card
American Express Black Card

Climbing even higher

Reaching beyond private banking, there exists an even higher level of banking which makes the aforementioned private accounts seem easily accessible.

In December 2013, Nedbank and American Express announced a partnership bringing the Amex Centurion card – more commonly known as the the “Black Card” – to a select group of South Africans.

The American Express Black Card was born out of myth and became a reality in 1999.

The card is invite-only, and the criteria for eligibility are open to rumour and speculation. Most reports peg the requirements for prospective holders at having a significant net worth; an excellent credit record; and being willing to spend around $250,000 (R2.58 million) a year.

In the USA, the card requires a $7,500 (R77,277) initiation fee, as well as a yearly account fee of $2,500 (R25,760).

According to American Express, Centurion members benefit from direct access to a dedicated personal Centurion Relationship Manager, on hand to proactively take care of the business and leisure needs of members.

Members also have round-the-clock access to a dedicated team of service professionals who will provide specialist help and advice on travel, entertainment, lifestyle and financial matters, whether it entails facilitating travel bookings to support complex international itineraries or securing privileged access to some of the world’s most sought-after venues.

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Most expensive bank accounts in SA