Ever looked at your bank statement and wondered what those ridiculous charges are for? No matter what income bracket you’re in, bank charges are the bane of anyone’s financial existence. South Africa’s banking industry is amongst the most concentrated, yet competitive and diverse sectors in the country.

Just like any sector in the world of business, banks are businesses which provide products and services at nominal rates. These range, depending on the type of accounts, benefits and transactions.

Definitively, bank fees are nominal charges for various administrative services, such as withdrawing cash, transactions and requesting account statements. Bank fees are considered to constitute a major portion of a bank’s revenue, but recently South African banks have come under fire for having some of the highest in the world, with politicians reprimanding South Africa’s biggest retail banks, First National Bank, Standard Bank, ABSA, Nedbank and Capitec.

Standard Bank, Nedbank and ABSA were the first of the major retail banks to release their annual fee structure, with a complete restructure from Standard Bank, a slight increase from ABSA and an insignificant change from Nedbank.

Capitec announced their fee structure early this year, which saw a significant increase across most of their transactions, in stark contrast with the bank’s reputation as low-base cost bank with single price transaction costs.

Late to the party is First National Bank, whose 2017/2018 banking structure came into effect on 1 July 2017.

Below is a breakdown of the fee structures of South Africa’s retail banks’ main accounts. Fees are based on pay-as-you-transact fees after bundle limits, where available.

ABSA

ABSA Gold Cheque Account2016 FeesR500 transaction in 20162017 FeesR500 transaction in 2017% change from 2016 to 2017
Withdrawal (Native)R3.95 + R1.30/R100R10.45R3.95 + R1.35/R100R10.70+2.4%
Withdrawal (Other)R9.95 + R1.30/R100R16.45R9.95 + R1.35/R100R16.70+1.5%
Withdrawal (POS)R3.95R3.95R3.95R3.95
Deposit (ATM)R3.00 + R1.30/R100R9.50R3.95 + R1.35/R100R10.70+12.6%
Debit order (internal)FreeFree
Debit order (external)R16.00R16.95+5.9%
Account fee (PAYT)R40.00R42.00+5%

Standard Bank

Standard Bank Elite Account2016 FeesR500 transaction in 20162017 FeesR500 transaction in 2017% change from 2016 to 2017
Withdrawal (Native)R4.00 + 1.20% of valueR10.00R1.80 per R100 R9.00-10.0%
Withdrawal (Other)R6.70 + R4.00 + 1.20% of valueR16.70R6.70 + R1.80 per R100R15.70-6.0%
Withdrawal (POS)R5.00R5.00R1.80R1.80-64.0%
Deposit (ATM)R4.00 + 1.30% of valueR10.50R1.80 per R100R9.00-14.3%
Debit order (internal)R4.20R4.50+7.1%
Debit order (external)R13.10R16.00+22.1%
Account fee (PAYT)R55.00R55.00

Nedbank

Nedbank Savvy Account2016 FeesR500 transaction in 20162017 FeesR500 transaction in 2017% change from 2016 to 2017
Withdrawal (Native)R4.00 + R1.32/R100R10.60R4.50 + R1.40/R100R11.50+8.5%
Withdrawal (Other)R11.00 + R1.32/R100R17.60R11.50 + R1.40/R100R18.50+5.1%
Withdrawal (POS)R4.00R4.00FreeFree
Deposit (Intelligent depositor ATM)R5.00 + R0.66/R100R8.30R5.50 + R0.70/R100R9.00+8.4%
Debit order (internal)R6.00Free
Debit order (external)R15.00Free (R5.00 on PAYT)
Account feeR100.00

Capitec

Capitec Global One2016/17 FeesR500 transaction in 2016/172017/18 FeesR500 transaction in 2017/18% change from 2016/17 to 2017/18
Withdrawal (Native)R5.50R5.50R6.00R6.00+9.1%
Withdrawal (Other)R8.50R8.50R8.50R8.500.0%
Withdrawal (POS)R1.30R1.30R1.50R1.50+15.4%
Deposit (ATM)80c /R100R4.0090c per R100R4.50+12.5%
Account fee (PAYT)R5.25R5.50+4.8%

First National Bank

FNB Gold Cheque Account2016/17 FeesR500 transaction in 2016/172017/18 FeesR500 transaction in 2017/18% change from 2015/16 to 2016/17
Withdrawal (Native)R1.85/R100R9.25R1.85/R100R9.250.0%
Withdrawal (Other)R7.00 + R1.85/R100R16.25R8.00 + R1.85/R100R17.25+6.2%
Withdrawal (POS)FreeR1.40R1.40
Deposit (ATM)R0.80 per R100R4.00R0.90 per R100R4.50+12.5%
Debit order (internal)FreeFree
Debit order (external)FreeFree
Account feeR100.00R105.00+5.0%

While you may find a bank that suits your financial needs, here are a few tips to minimise transaction costs:

• Avoid paying cheque or cash deposit fees by having money transferred into your account.

• Make use of Internet, cellphone and telephone banking and your bank’s mobile apps.

• Swipe your debit, cheque and credit card when purchasing.

• Shop online with your cheque or credit card.

• Balance enquiries are free on mobile app, cellphone, telephone and Internet banking channels.

Visit your nearest branch or website for more details.

About The Author

Chwayita January

Chwayita January, or ‘Ceejay’ for short, is an Honours student in Media Studies and our resident social media and copywriting assistant. Ceejay is a self-deprecating aspiring writer, with a twang that will make you question her nationality.

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