Thursday, April 01, 2010

Which bank has the lowest fees?

I wrote about this in a comment on one of the articles on this site, but I've decided it warranted a whole post instead.
I've been in the UK for the last couple of years, and only recently got back. And I just used the bank that I was using before I left when I got back. And that's FNB. But I've since noticed that my bank charges are R300-R400 per month. And I'm earning almost no interest. Even my 32-day notice account only earns 4% per annum.

So, I've decided to look at the various options.
Standard Bank : Looks just as bad
Nedbank : Looks worse!
ABSA : Very confusing to work out what you charges will be

But I see that two new banks have emerged.

Capitec seems truly amazing. Their fees are really, really low. Their Saswitch fees are only R7.50. No matter how much you withdraw. And to make it even better, you earn 7% interest per annum on your regular cheque/current account. I suspect I would earn more in interest that I would pay in bank charges.

And then there is BidVest Bank. Their fees are capped at R55. If this includes Saswitch fees, then this is truly amazing. Their interest on the cheque/current account is 4% which is quite a bit lower than with Capitec. However, their fixed deposits range up to 8%, which is great.

The last problem I have is this. I want one card that I can use to pay for goods, preferably with a pin code, pay for petrol and use online to purchase items. FNB doesn't allow you to pay for petrol (That requires their Debit Card) and buy online (That requires their Cheque Card) with the same card. Does anyone know if Capitec or BidVest offer a card that can?

Please let me know your thoughts on these two new banks.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Using the USA iTunes Store in South Africa

I've been using the USA iTunes Store for a couple of years now to buy music, tv shows and rent movies. I've considered posting how I manage to do it, but have always decided against it. Until now..

Its dead simple. Since you don't have a USA credit card, you will instead have to use vouchers. There are a couple of sites where you can buy iTunes Store vouchers. The one I always use is iTunes Express. Simply pay with your South African PayPal account or Credit Card. And you get an email with the voucher code in it 10-15min later.

Then in iTunes, go to the USA iTunes Store and click Redeem. You will have to create a new iTunes Store account. Choose some random address in the USA for you location, and done. That simple. Then just keep topping up with more vouchers.

This little system keeps my Apple TV very happy. Enjoy

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Finding good deals

I've just created two new sites that hopefully people will find useful. I've created as a way for people to find what the best current deals out there are. Deals are submitted by the user (You) and voted Hot or Cold, so that the most popular deals are shown first. Deals are anything from a 40% sale at Guess, to Pick 'n Pay selling a T-Bone for R5, to your favourite pizza place doing 2-4-1 on Wed, and Coupon Codes and Discounts, etc.
You can also leave comments, or discuss any deal right there.
I've also created for our American friends to share in the love. It is exactly the same, showing deals, discounts and coupons, but for the American market.

So if you find or hear about any good deals, please add it to the site, and Vote on how good you think a deal is. Or just use the site to find a good deal. The site will be as useful the the users make it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Which South African Bank is the best?

Banks operate on a simple principle. You deposit your money with them and they lend it out to other customers at a high interest rate. They then pay you a low interest rate and pocket the difference.

SA Banks dont believe in this however. In addition to the above, they normally charge you a monthly fee (R10-R30) for the honour of belonging to them and then charge you a fee for anything you do with your money (ATM withdrawals, swiping your debit card and even going so far as to charge you a fee for inter-account transfers!)

My girlfriend is currently a student and banks with Standard Bank. Her bank charges come to about R60 a month with Standard Bank. Deciding enough is enough, we decided to see if they have a better account option for her. As it turns out, all they tried to do was to sell her an account that would have cost her even more.

We walked out of Standard Bank furious and decided to see if FNB would be any better. Even though I, myself, bank with FNB, I was doubtfull that they would be significantly better. I was horribly wrong

FNB offer an account called the Life Start Student Account. Total bank charges : R13.50

Unlimited FNB ATM withdrawals
Unlimited debit card purchases
Unlimited debit orders
Unlimited stop orders
Free Internet Banking
Free Cellphone Banking
etc, etc

The only things that cost anything are withdrawals from branches, using other banks ATM's and other unusual transactions.

The total bank charges for the month is simply R13.50

I am a big believer in rewarding any company that treats its customers fairly, and even more so when all the competitors do not. So, to every student out there that is paying bank charges in excess of R13.50, visit your nearest FNB branch and change banks.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Skype, DualPhone on the Mac and Yahoo

I recently bought the Olympia DualPhone and I am constantly amazed by it. It acts as both a regular Telkom phone as well as a Skype phone, neatly packaged in the form of a cordless phone. The Telkom calls are of normal quality, but it comes into it's own when you use SkypeOut (Or regular Skype for that matter). The quality is mindblowing. It is easily better than normal international quality, at rates that are even lower than a local call.

It does however suffer from a serious drawback : Windows Only

That being said, I have managed to get some fuctionality out of it on my Mac. The Mac picks it up as a cordless USB Phone, which you select in the Skype preferences. You then put the handset into PC mode by pressing # and the PC Dial key. You can then start or recieve a call from Skype on your Mac. You obviously loose some great features such as dialing from the handset and the ringer, but all is not lost. Hopefully Olympia will listen to their customers and make their software available on Mac so that we can enjoy all the benefits.

On the topic of Skype and VoIP, Yahoo! have released a beta version of their Messenger application that now sports features such as Yahoo Out and Yahoo In. The interesting thing is that their Yahoo Out rates to SA are much cheaper than SkypeOut. At $0.059 (Aprox R0.38) per minute, they are even cheaper than Telkom.

As I am already quite happy with Skype, and am unwilling to purchase another Handset (The DualPhone is quite pricy at R1000) I wont be moving to Yahoo!, but I do hope that Skype responds by lowering their rates. And offering SkypeIN for SA of course.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Review : Spud by John van de Ruit

In a year that has been full of uninspring books, it is exciting to come across a book as brilliant as Spud. For it to be written by a South African author is unheard of.

Spud is John van de Ruit's first novel and hopefully not his last. The book is set in journal format and recounts the first year of John "Spud" Milton at a private high school in South Africa. This book is the funniest book I have come across this year, and could very well be the best I have ever read. For everyone that went to a similar high school buy this book. For those of you that didn't, still buy it.

As always, buy this book from They are selling it at a great price of R76.00

Edit: Good deals on the two sequels have been added to : Spud - The Madness Continues and Spud - Learning to Fly. If you think they are good deals, Vote them Up. Or Down if you have found a better deal. Or better yet, if you have found a better deal, please Add the deal to so we can enjoy it too.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Google Analytics

Google today launched a new product called Google Analytics. Google Analytics is the resulting product of their purchase of the popular Urchin website tracking software.
Google Analytics provides many new features such as AdWords tracking, Goals, Funnels and a totally new user interface. Funnels are an interesting tracking tool that let you track a specific progression on your website.

As Google Analytics is still gathering data on my sites, I am unable to give further information. I will post an update as soon as the data gathering is complete.