A new report found that FNB’s Easy PAYU is the least expensive bank account for basic banking needs in South Africa among the country’s largest banks.
The Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) published its latest Banking Charges report for 2024, showing how pricing at South Africa’s biggest banks compares based on user profiles.
Solidarity’s annual bank charges report only analyses ordinary transaction profiles – accounts available to any member of the public.
This means that accounts for the youth, students, the elderly and specific religious groups and private bank accounts are not covered.
It also does not include accounts where minimum or maximum monthly income is specified unless it is the only one in the category offered by a specific bank.
In addition, while some banks prescribe income levels for different accounts, the consumer profiles Solidarity used in its report are not compiled according to income level but according to the number of transactions for each profile.
For example, the basic banking needs category looks at bank accounts that allow 12 and 17 particular transactions, as seen in the table below.
In the 12 and 17 transactions or “fairly basic banking needs” category, FNB’s Easy PAYU account is the clear winner.
The report found that the biggest factor distinguishing this account from the others is the number of free transactions included in the monthly fee of R5.25.
This is the only account in this category where airtime purchases are free. Cash withdrawals at shop counters are also free at FNB.
Like FNB, Absa Transact also gives one free transfer of money to a cellphone number per month. Cash withdrawals from shop counters are also free from both Absa accounts.
The Absa Transact account is second for the 12- and 17-transaction profiles.
However, the report said this may be an unfair comparison because the account is only available to people who earn less than R3,000 per month – after that, it is upgraded to the Flexi account.
The Absa Flexi account is by far the most expensive in these categories.
Capitec is still the only bank in this category to offer interest on the balance. However, at 3.5%, it is not enough to outweigh the fees charged, and the report said Capitec is no longer competitive compared to the leader.
Below is the ranking of the bank accounts in the 12- and 17-transactions categories.