It really depends on your needs. Nedbank, Capitec and FNB seem to be the banks offering some of the best products. But you need to understand your banking profile first. Capitec can be cost effective if you do not do a lot of transactions in a month, but when I calculated my costs based on my typical banking behaviour I found the FNB Smart account the cheaper option. However if you maintained a positive balance of a few thousand rand a month, Capitec’s high interest rates effectively pay for your banking fees.
If you go for a bundled option where you pay one fee for a set number of transactions, you need to know at what the fee includes. FNB and Nedbank have unlimited options which include all your electronic banking transactions but Standard Bank and Absa have a cap on what transactions are included.
In terms of value add, the banks do include additional features for higher fee accounts. For example FNB’s accounts includes services like inContact SMS’s, funeral cover, eBucks, internet data and for Platinum cheque customers access to the BA Business Lounge at the airport.
So you need to decide what it is exactly you want from your bank account and what your banking behaviour costs you.
Three things to watch out for when selecting an account:
- Never use a cheque book. They are very expensive
- Stay out of branches, again a very expensive channel
- If you opt for a single fee account (which is usually the most cost effective option), understand what transactions are not included or if there are limits on the number of transactions. These can give you a nasty surprise.