South Africa’s most exclusive credit cards – and how much you need to earn to qualify

 ·4 Feb 2024

One of the main attractions of possessing an elite credit card is the prestigious status that comes with it, in addition to the exclusive benefits that accompany it. However, you will need to earn a considerable amount of money if you wish to be eligible for such a banking service.

The credit cards listed here are designed for high-income earners, including VIP customers accustomed to a wealthy lifestyle.

To afford these status statements, customers have to be within the top 10% of income earners in South Africa, with some even requiring prospective cardholders to be in the top 1%.

According to Knight Frank’s Wealth Sizing Model, in annual terms, you need to earn at least  $109,000 (R2.06 million) to join the top 1% of the wealthiest South Africans, roughly similar to the estimate of the World Inequality Lab simulator.

In the same vein, the monthly salary you would need to be a top 1% earner is around R151,541, the data shows, which is 5.98 times more than the average income earner in the formal sector.

Interestingly, some of the bank accounts below require clients to earn a bit more than the minimum requirement to be considered a top 1% income earner.

These types of salaries are what will put you in a position to potentially own one of these exclusive credit cards, which follow a minimalistic, sleek and black design – while others have tried to differentiate themselves like the noticeable and vibrant purple vertical card from Discovery Bank.

Many of these cards are offered in metal for a premium feel while also being more durable and environmentally friendly.

BusinessTech looked at some of these exclusive bank cards available in South Africa and how much you need to earn to get them. The cards and their associated requirements are listed below.

Bank AccountAnnual salary neededMonthly salary needed
Discovery Purple>R2.5 million>R208 000
Nedbank Private Wealth>R2 million>R166 666
FNB Private WealthR1 800 000R150 000
Standard Bank Signature BankingR1 104 000R92 000
Investec Private BankingR800 000R66 600
RMB Private Fusion Account R750 000R62 500
Absa Wealth Infinite*NIA >R10 million NAV >R20 million
Average: R1 386 285R115 466
*Absa’s most exclusive Wealth (Visa) Infinite credit card terms of eligibility are measured in Net investible assets (NIA) and Net asset value (NAV).

Discovery Purple not only requires the highest annual salary but also has the highest monthly fee at R640.

Considering the net worth of these individuals, an average monthly account fee of R554 will not make a significant dent in the finances of any of these wealthy customers.

Bank AccountMonthly feePrice change YoY
Discovery PurpleR640+R41 (6.8%)
Investec Private BankingR605+R30 (5.2%)
RMB Private Fusion AccountR550
FNB Private WealthR550+R25 (4.8%)
Nedbank Private WealthR530+R30 (6.0%)
Standard Bank Signature BankingR530+R35 (7.0%)
Absa Wealth InfiniteR575
Average:R554+R25 (4.7%)

Discovery Purple

  • Up to 75% back on HealthyFood items at Pick n Pay or Woolworths
  • Up to 50% back on HealthyCare items at Clicks or Dis-Chem
  • Up to 20% back on Uber rides
  • Up to 20% back on fuel purchases at BP and Shell
  • Up to 40% off when the customer spends Discovery Miles
  • Up to 75% off one return or two local one-way flights
  • Up to 75% off an international flight with British Airways, Emirates and Qantas
  • Up to  75% off fitness devices and Nike performance gear
  • Up to 50% off Technogym home gym equipment rental

Nedbank Private Wealth

  • Free airport lounge access
  • 24-hour concierge service for personal travel and lifestyle needs.
  • Emergency assistance
  • Travel and lifestyle benefits, such as discounts and special rates on accommodation, car rental and airport meet-and-assist services
  • Travel insurance up to $2.5 million.
  • Automatic enrolment in the Greenbacks programme, with customers earning unlimited Greenbacks at a rate of up to two Greenbacks for every R10 spent with Visa Infinite credit card or double Greenbacks with their American Express® Credit or Cheque Cards.
  • Private banker.
  • Team of specialists to help with wealth management needs.
  • Access to the Nedbank Private Wealth App

FNB Private Wealth

  • R20 000 in annual discount savings to use on flights, car hire, bus tickets and the eBucks Shop
    • Up to 40%* off selected local flights
    • Up to 40%* off international selected flights
    • Up to 40% off domestic car hire
    • Up to 40% off bus tickets
  • Up to 36 complimentary domestic and international SLOW Lounge visits a year
  • Up to 24 additional SLOW Lounge visits a year when flights are booked through eBucks Travel
  • Access to discounted accommodation and travel packages through the eBucks Travel desk
  • Up to R3,000 back monthly on our Smart Spend category.
  • Up to R8/litre back in eBucks every month at Engen, with the FNB Private Wealth Virtual Card, WesBank & FNB Car Insurance.
  • Up to 15% back in eBucks on everything at Shoprite Checkers and SPAR.
  • Up to 15% back in eBucks on everything at Clicks.
  • Up to 15% back in eBucks on the latest Apple products at iStore.
  • Up to 30% back in eBucks on everything at ARC store.

Standard Bank Signature Banking

Investec Private Banking

  • A competitive debit rate of up to prime
  • A Visa platinum credit card with up to 45 interest-free days on card purchases
  • Unlimited free ATM withdrawals both locally and internationally*
  • Interest on credit balance
  • Up to 60-month budget facility option for unexpected purchases
  • Complimentary local and international lounge access
  • Get an extra card linked to the account at no extra cost or a stand-alone Private Bank Account at a reduced monthly fee for spouse or life partner. 
  • Open an Investec Youth Account, a transactional account with a Visa debit card, for no additional monthly fee. 
  • Open a linked Cash Management Account and earn a higher interest rate through active management of short-term surplus funds.
  • Open a tax-free investment or a local unit trust for the customer and children through My Investments.
  • Open a sterling-based transactional account in the UK (for an additional fee). 
  • Enjoy preferential exchange rates on foreign exchange whether investing internationally, making international payments or receiving funds from abroad into Investec Account.
  • Get access to emergency funds with Western Union Money Transfer if card is lost or stolen while travelling abroad.
  • Access to Investor Rewards
  • Access to Investec Digital
  • Access to Investec One Place

RMB Private Banking Fusion

  • An exclusive metal card
  • Full transactional capability with a linked credit facility
  • One view of transactional account
  • One interest rate
  • Up to 30 days’ interest-free on card purchases
  • Linked additional cards
  • Maximum rewards
  • Account for spouses
  • FNBy for kids, teens and young adults.
  • Global Travel Insurance
  • Access to the SLOW Lounge
  • Cash@Till
  • Exclusive VISA offers

Absa Private Banking

  • Exclusive black metal Wealth Infinite credit card that comes with the Absa Wealth Bundle Account, designed to meet day-to-day banking, lifestyle and travel needs:
    • A single monthly fee that includes current, credit and overdraft accounts
    • Most major transactional fees also form part of the monthly fee
    • Automatic subscription to Absa Rewards at no additional cost and up to 30% in real cashback, depending on the Rewards tier
    • Access to a dedicated Wealth Banker, Wealth Investment Manager, and Fiduciary Specialist, among other experts, to cater to client’s bespoke needs
    • 50% discount on monthly service fee for Spousal account
  • Up to 57 days interest-free on qualifying credit card transactions
  • Unlimited access to domestic and international Bidvest Premier Lounges in South Africa, as well as unlimited international lounge access through the Visa LoungeKey benefit, which includes one free guest per visit.
  • Additional features of the Absa Wealth Infinite Credit Card
    • International Travel Insurance, Buyers Protection (no excess), Extended Warranty and Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver
    • Access to a 24/7 Global Client Service Centre
    • A concierge service for restaurant bookings, car hire, tourist activities, local services, hotels, events and concerts
    • VIP rates, room upgrades and complimentary services at a curated collection of 900 hotels through the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection
    • Car rental discounts through Avis of up to 35% on standard rates & 30% on international leisure rates
    • Specialist airport meet-and-assist services with YQ
    • Global customer assistance services

Read: Here are your new banking fees for 2024

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