The cheapest business accounts in South Africa – FNB vs Absa vs Standard Bank and more

 ·3 Mar 2024

South Africa is still a land of opportunities for businesses of all sizes despite the ongoing economic hardships.

If you’re looking to establish a successful business, one of the first steps is to open a business account.

There are several benefits of opening a business account, such as the separation of personal and business finances, increased credibility and safety, and access to business banking services.

For entry-level businesses and entrepreneurs in South Africa, the Pay-As-You-Use (PAYU) business account is one of the cheapest and most flexible options available.

This account is cost-effective and flexible, making it ideal for small businesses. PAYU business accounts are offered by several South African banks, and some of the advantages include:

  • Low or no monthly fees – PAYU accounts typically have low or no monthly fees, which makes it a cost-effective option for small businesses.
  • Pay only for what you use – businesses only pay for the services they use, such as transactions, debit card usage, or online banking.
  • No minimum deposit requirements – unlike traditional business accounts, PAYU accounts do not have minimum deposit requirements, making it easier for small businesses to manage their finances.
  • Improved cash flow management – businesses can keep track of their cash flow and manage their expenses more efficiently.
  • Easy to open – PAYU accounts are typically easy to open and require minimal documentation, making them a convenient option for small businesses.

BusinessTech compared all banks offering PAYU business accounts based on several points of interest:

  • Monthly account fee;
  • External debit order fee (to other banks);
  • Electronic payment fee;
  • Card purchase fee; and
  • Cash withdrawals and deposits at an ATM.

For this comparison, we looked at offerings from Absa, FNB, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Mercantile Bank (a division of Capitec Bank), and TymeBank.

The table below shows the fee comparison of a PAYU business account from all the abovementioned banks.

BankAccountMonthly feeDebit orderElectronic paymentCard purchasesCash withdrawals and deposits at an ATM
AbsaBusiness Evolve LiteR0R24 (first five are free)R12.50 (first five are free)R0Withdrawals: R2.40 per R100 (first two or up to R3000 free) Deposits: R4.70 + R1.30 per R100 (first two or up to R3000 free)
Capitec BusinessBusiness AccountR50R3.50R2.00R0Withdrawals: R10 per R1000 Deposits: R1.20 per R100
FNBFirst Business ZeroR0R4R1.50R0Withdrawals and Deposits: R9 per R1000
Nedbank Business PAYUR70R15R8.35R3.50Withdrawals: R2.65 per R100 Deposits: R4.70 + R1.13 per R100
Standard BankMyMoBiz AccountR7R3.50R5.50R0Withdrawals: R2.40 per R100 Deposits: R4.80 + R1.20 per R100
TymeBankEveryday BusinessR0R0R0R0Withdrawals: R10 per R1000 Deposits: R7 per R1000
Bank ZeroBusiness BankingR0R0R0R0Withdrawals: R9 per R1000

Most bank accounts for small businesses have a turnover limit. For example, Absa’s Business Evolve Lite account is offered to companies with a turnover of up to R1.5 million.

Other banks with turnover limits include FNB’s First Business Zero and Standard Bank’s MyMoBiz accounts, with an annual turnover of up to R5 million.

Additionally, Nedbank offers its Business PAYU account to customers with an annual turnover of less than R3 million.

TymeBank’s Everyday Business account offers the benefit of almost no fees. However, it is important to note that the TymeBank account is linked to your personal account profile, which means that your limits are shared between your personal and business accounts.

The Everyday Business offering limits holders to a maximum account balance of R700,000 at any given point, with a transaction limit of R1.4 million.

It also doesn’t offer unique business banking services like Bank Zero, which lists a host of third-party charges such as card customisation and delivery, balance requests, and proof of payment via SMS.

In contrast, Absa, Capitec, FNB, and Standard Bank offer 24/7 banking assistance and personal bankers to help with your needs. FNB and Nedbank also offer rewards programs for business customers.

It must be noted that while these PAYU accounts are the cheapest business accounts you can get, most of the banks mentioned in this article offer tiered accounts to suit a business’s specific needs.

Click on the link to the respective bank in the table to view bundle accounts that offer perks like unlimited transactions, credit facilities access, and business loans at competitive rates.

Read: Kieswetter sends a warning to banks in South Africa

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