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.


Blogger bankelele said...

It's the same in Kenya and I guess much of Africa that banks are charging an arm & a leg for everything, but they do this to recover the costs of these extra services. We too have banks that are high cost and others which are low cost - that target students and low income earners. I personaly have compromised and gone for the increasing popular 'flat fee accounts' which charge a fixed fee for a variety of services - in my case 500 shillings a month (about R50)

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Banks charging you to take out YOUR money!!! What a ridiculas idea. South Africa? What the hell is wrong with you? Why are there no free accounts. It's not like the banks don't make money from interest?

2:37 AM  
Anonymous edwards said...

lol - those SA banks! With the Barclays take over of ABSA things will start changing quite quickly over the next few years I'd imagine. I once transferred money from my one FNB account to my other FNB account at the ATM outside my branch so I could withdraw cash from the account with the lowest withdrawal fees... unfortunately the cash went into a type of "holding period" otherwise known as "let's hold this cash and make 2 days interest"... was I bitter! Even went in to say I want my money but to no avail... but I've moved on... my primary account is now in a little windswept island that purports to be British and all dealings are done through Alexa, the friendly and efficient voice of banking.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Alwyn Schoeman said...

Ok, so Barclays has taken over ABSA and it is still the most expensive bank...

Why change something if you are not forced to do so by your customers?

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Ivolution SEO said...

Not sure if anyones noticed but African Bank was removed from the Google index recently. Only just saw this now but yeah, obvoiusly did something dodgy.

Anyone know why?

4:47 AM  
Blogger wrm said...

Hah. FNB also sucks.

Around the second week of November 2008, FNB reprogrammed their ATMs so that the default amounts became R600 and R1200 instead of R500 and R1000.

I always withdraw the maximum in the bracket (In this case, R500, since it costs the same whether I withdraw R10 or R500).

I just found out they've been charging me R10.60 to withdraw R600, up from R5.30 to withdraw R500.

This is all above board, their fee structure does say that a withdrawal of R1-R500 is R5.30 and R501-R1000 is R10.60.

But changing the default on the ATMs? Sneaky. Very sneaky. And not in tune with the statement on the webpage "AT FNB we aim to help you manage your account and transact in the most cost-effective way". One would expect the default choices to be the most cost-effective, no? Short of making the default R501 or R510, this is about the most lucrative choice... for them.

I wonder how much they've been raking in. They took me for over R20...

Lately, they've added a "favourite amount" which does help. But still.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Joel Basson (JStrike) said...

Been looking into this more since coming back to SA. FNB charge me about R300-R400 a month in bank charges, and pay almost no interest.
Hell, my 32-day notice account only gets 4%!
Capitec look pretty amazing. Really low charges. But seriously low. And they pay 7% interest on your cheque/current account. I would probably make more in interest than I would pay in fees.

And there is BidVest. Fees are capped at R55! That is amazing if it includes Saswich fees for using other banks ATMs. Their interest rate on their cheque account is much lower than Capitec, I think it is 4%. But they do have great fixed deposit rates at 8%.

Any advice?

5:00 PM  
Anonymous south africa news online said...

I think that this article can help me to select a best South African bank to open an account. I think that the R13.50 will be a suitable fee for me if I can open an account in the FNB bank.

8:47 PM  

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