The most expensive bank in South Africa

First National Bank (FNB) has released its new banking fees which are set to come into effect from 1 July 2015, introducing new pricing structures which have significantly raised the price on withdrawals.

FNB is the last of South Africa’s big banks to update its fee structures for the 2015/16 period, as the other banks update with prices effective from January, and Capitec in March.

The bank’s main middle-range account (Gold) has maintained its R100.00 per month fee, while its top-tier Platinum account has increased in price in the Unlimited option, though it maintained the maximum bundled fee at R199 per month.

The group’s entry level Smart Account has also remained flat at R49.00, while the bank’s cheapest account, the Easy account remains at R4.95 a month.

FNB account fees 2015/16

Account 2014/15 2015/16 Increase/Decrease
Easy R4.95 R4.95
Smart Unlimited R49.00 R49.00
Gold Unlimited R100.00 R100.00
Platinum Unlimited R145.00 R160.00 10.3%
Platinum Bundled R199.00 R199.00
Petrol Card R14.50 R15.50 6.9%

2015/16 ATM withdrawal fees

FNB has significantly changed its withdrawal fee structure for the new banking year, from R6.70 per R500 in 2014/15, to a base fee of R3.95 + R1.30 per R100.

This change means that a R1,000 withdrawal from an FNB ATM would cost you R16.95 – on par with Absa’s current rate – up 26.5% from R13.40 using the old pricing structure.

FNB has not indicated any cap on this fee.

Withdrawals at other ATMs will also adopt this new structure, adding R6.50 to the FNB ATM fee, meaning a R1,000 withdrawal would total R23.45 – the highest rate out of all the SA banks.

FNB has long been leading the charge for South Africans to move to digital banking for a number of years, effectively discouraging the use of cash for transactions.

In a statement to BusinessTech, FNB head of consumer pricing, Jo-Ann Du Plessis said that the revised pricing would allow customers on the bank’s pay as you use options to experience reductions of up to R1.70 per transaction.

This is highly dependent on the withdrawal amount, however.

“We encourage customers to avoid using other bank’s ATM’s for withdrawals and even better, to withdraw cash at till-points in retail stores where these transactions are free of fees,” Du Plessis said.

A positive note with this change is that withdrawals (beyond the free monthly amount will now cost a minimum of R5.25 at FNB ATMs, down from the R6.70 before, and a minimum of R11.75 at other ATMs, down from R13.20 before.

These fees are applicable to FNB’s Smart, Gold Cheque and Platinum Cheque accounts.

Mid-market bank accounts in SA

Bank Withdrawal fee (Native) R1,000 withdrawal Withdrawal fee (Other) R1,000 Withdrawal
Capitec Global One R5.00 R5.00 R8.00 R8.00
Standard Bank Elite R4.00 + 1.15% of value R15.50 R6.70 + R4.00 + 1.15% of value R22.20
Nedbank R3.50 + R1.28/R100 R16.30 R10.00 plus R1.28/R100 R22.80
Absa R3.95 + R1.30/R100 R16.95 R9.95 + R1.30/R100 R22.95
FNB Gold R3.95 + R1.30/R100 R16.95 R6.50 + R3.95 + R1.30/R100 R23.45

Entry-level accounts pay more

Withdrawal fees for the markets where cash transactions remain the most vital, and sometimes only way to transact have also changed.

Notably, FNB Easy Account withdrawals at FNB ATMs are no longer capped at R9.10 – and are now charged at R4.55 per R500, from R4.55 per R1,000, before.

In 2014/15, FNB Easy clients were charged R4.55 to withdraw R1,000; under the new structure, the same withdrawal cost will double to R9.10.

Du Plessis noted that the majority of FNB’s Easy account customers withdraw less than R500, with the most popular withdrawal amount being R100.

“These customers will experience no increase in the withdrawal fee at an FNB ATM,” she said.

However, all of South Africa’s banks offer entry-level accounts that carry a flat fee for withdrawals, with the second costliest bank, Standard Bank, offering its flat rate of R6.50 up to R1,000.

FNB withdrawals at other bank ATMs previously had a flat fee of R9.10 – the new structure adds R6.50 to the FNB ATM fee, meaning a R1,000 withdrawal will balloon to R15.60.

Withdrawals at FNB Slimline ATMs are charged at a flat R4.55, while [email protected] withdrawals are still free, however.

This new fee structure now places FNB at the bottom of the affordability pile, when comparing entry-level banking accounts in South Africa – at least for amounts over R500.

Entry-level bank accounts in SA

Bank Withdrawal fee (Native) R1,000 withdrawal Withdrawal fee (Other) R1,000 Withdrawal
Absa Transact R4.45 R4.45 R7.20 R7.20
Capitec Global One R5.00 R5.00 R8.00 R8.00
Nedbank Ke Yona R6.00 R6.00 R8.00 R8.00
Standard Bank Access R6.50* R6.50 R6.70 + R6.50** R13.30
FNB Easy R4.55 per R500 R9.10 R6.50 + R4.55 per R500 R15.60

* First R1,000 only, R4.00 + 1,10% of value after | ** First R1,000 only, R4,00 + R6,70 + 1.15% of value after

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The most expensive bank in South Africa