South Africa’s cheapest and most expensive bank accounts

Solidarity has published its 2015 interim Bank Charges report, listing the country’s most affordable banking accounts across the low- and middle-income sectors.

The report is based on monthly banking fees from South Africa’s five biggest banks (Standard Bank, FNB, Absa, Nedbank and Capitec), across four client profiles.

Each profile represents a different type of banking customer, and covers a different number of transactions (from a basic 12 transactions, to a comprehensive 29 transactions).

Further, the bank accounts are separated into two groups, namely those marketed at low-income groups and those marketed at middle-icnome groups.

Low-income accounts include:

  • Nedbank Ke Yona
  • Standard Bank Access
  • FNB EasyAccount
  • Absa Transact
  • Capitec Global One

Middle income accounts include:

  • Nedbank Savvy
  • Standard Bank Elite
  • FNB Gold Cheque
  • Absa Gold Cheque
  • Capitec Global One

According to Solidarity’s findings, Capitec’s place as the most affordable low-income account has been effectively challenged by FNB’s EasyAccount.

In a 17 transaction profile, FNB’s Easy account beats Capitec, while the latter’s 12 transaction profile is only top if clients keep a R5,000 balance on their accounts.

“On the EasyAccount, FNB made two key changes which enabled it to compete much more effectively with Capitec in terms of cost.

The fee for an internal debit order was lowered from R1,50 to zero, while the fee for an internet payment (EFT) was lowered from R3,20 to R1,50,” Solidarity said.

“Certain other fees were increased by FNB, like the fees for ATM withdrawals and external debit orders, but not by enough to erode the benefits of the other fees that were lowered when measured using these transaction profiles.”

The table below shows how much each bank account costs across all profiles in the low-income group.

Bank account 12 transactions 17 transactions
Nedbank Ke Yona Bundle R74.00 R110.50
Nedbank Ke Yona PAYT R58.00 R84.00
Nedbank Ke Yona Plus R55.00 R78.00
Standard Bank Access Plus R84.20 R94.20
Capitec – R0 balance (no interest) R31.90 R47.20
Standard Bank Access PAYT R25.20 R41.70
Capitec – R2,000 balance R24.55 R39.85
Absa Transact R24.25 R36.75
FNB Easy Account R17.25 R27.95
Capitec – R5,000 balance R13.53 R28.83

With middle-income accounts, however, Capitec’s Global One account is by far the cheapest even if no interest is considered. Even at 29 transactions per month (cost of R80.50, before any interest), it remains lower than competing accounts in the category.

The table below show how much each bank account costs across all profiles in the middle-income group.

Bank account 12 transactions 17 transactions 24 transactions 29 transactions
Nedbank Savvy Plus (No cash at till) R99.00 R99.00 R99.00 R108.90
Nedbank Savvy Plus R107.00 R107.00 R107.00 R107.00
FNB Gold Cheque R102.30 R103.45 R105.75 R106.90
Absa Gold Cheque R99.60 R100.40 R102.00 R102.80
Standard Bank Elite Plus R97.00 R98.00 R100.00 R106.90
Capitec Global One (No interest) R31.90 R47.20 R65.20 R80.50
Capitec Global One (R7.35 interest) R24.55 R39.85 R57.85 R73.15
Capitec Global One (R36.75 interest) -R4.85 R10.45 R28.45 R43.75

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South Africa’s cheapest and most expensive bank accounts