Withdrawal Fees of South African Banks Compared: Are You Okay With Your Bank Charges?


While some think customers are being exploited with the high withdrawal fees charged by some big South African’s banks, some others think their money are being used to promote the fancy look of the banks. In the interest of sanity, many would move their money to banks with the greatest services and the most reasonable fees. Of course this might tell why most of the time, people tend to move from one bank to another to get the best of services at reduced bank charges. That was what brought up this research. We want to draw comparisons between the different withdrawal fees charged by different big banks in South Africa.

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While the FNB’s top-tier Platinum account has increased in price, its main middle-range account (Gold) has maintained its R100.00 per month fee. The group’s entry level Smart Account has also remained flat at R49.00.

Although banking fees have hiked, FNB’s middle-market offering still compares favorably to other South African banks, but Capitec’s Global One account remains the most affordable middle-market account in the country.

How South African Banks Withdrawal and ATM Fees Compare

The Table Below Shows FNB Account Fees For 2014 And 2015

Account 2013/12 2014/15 Increase
Smart R49.00 R49.00
Gold R100.00 R100.00
Platinum R135.00 R145.00 7.4%
Petrol Card R13.50 R14.50 7.4%

2014 ATM withdrawal fees

The withdrawal fees at FNB ATMs have hiked slightly to R6.70 per R500 (from R6.30 per R500 from 2013/14).

Also, the bank’s pricing brochure shows no withdrawal fee cap (which was R25.20 in the 2013/14 period), implying this safety barrier has been removed from its banking products.

Following the huge surprise from the consumers who were faced with high charges after withdrawing larger amounts of cash from FNB and other ATMs, the withdrawal fee cap was put into effect.

Moreover, the number of free withdrawals on FNB’s Unlimited banking plan has been minimized from 6 to 4 free withdrawals.

So, any withdrawals above the free monthly amount will cost a minimum of R6.70 at FNB ATMs (without indicating the maximum cost to be incurred by the withdrawer), and a minimum of R13.20 at other ATMs.

For a number of years now,  FNB has been topping withdrawal charges in other to encourage South Africans to change to digital banking. This is their method of effectively discouraging the use of cash for transactions.

Transaction Unlimited Plan
FNB withdrawal 4 Free withdrawals R6.70 per R500 (no maximum)
Other withdrawal R6.50 + R6.70 per R500 (no maximum)

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South African withdrawal fee comparison

FNB still stands out as one of the most affordable bank in terms of its withdrawal fees, along with Capitec bank when comparing the new structure to its competitors.

Apart from Standard Bank and Nedbank, the withdrawal fee hikes at native ATMs work out to be higher than South Africa’s CPI, which at the end of the first three months of 2014 was at 6.1%.

Capitec witnessed the biggest year-on-year increase in its withdrawal fees at 6.9%, but off of a low base (previously a flat rate of R4.30 per transaction at native ATMs and R7.00 at other ATMs).

FNB has insisted that Capitec’s Global One is nowhere to be compared as middle-market, and that it is most comparable with FNB’s entry-level account, FNB Easy.

FNB Easy charges a monthly account fee of R4.95 and charges R4.55 per R1,000 withdrawn at local ATMs (to a maximum of R9.10), effectively charging less than Capitec by 5 cents. Meanwhile, the withdrawal fees at other ATMs charges a flat R9.10.

The fee structure of Nedbank’s charges has remained untouched since last year, but a marginal hike on Absa’s fees currently place the bank in a worse situation than any other South African bank as  it costs R16.45 to withdraw R1,000 from its native machines.

Absa also had the hugest increase (4.7%) in other bank withdrawal fees, making it the most expensive rate of R22.45 for a R1,000 withdrawal.

This Table Shows The Charges When Withdrawing From Native ATMs.

Bank Native ATM fee 2015
R1000 withdrawal
2013 cost
Capitec R4.60 R4.60 R4.30 6.9%
First National Bank R6.70 per R500 R13.40 R12.60 6.4%
Standard Bank R3,50 + 1.10% of value R14.50 R14.00 3.6%
Nedbank R3,50 plus R1,25 per R100 R16.00 R16.00
Absa R3,95 + R1,25 per R100 R16.45 R15.45 6.5%

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The Charges For Using Other ATMs.

Bank Other ATM fee
R1000 withdrawal 2013 cost %change
Capitec R7.30 R7.30 R7.00 4.3%
First National Bank R6.50 + R6.70 per R500.00 R19.90 R19.10 4.2%
Standard Bank R6,70 + R3,50 + 1.10% of value R21.20 R20.70 2.4%
Nedbank R9,50 + R1,25 per R100,00 R22.00 R22.00
Absa R9,95 + R1,25 per R100 R22.45 R21.45 4.7%

The tables above compare the banks’ withdrawal fees on pay-as-you-transact rates, which are not subject to bundled products.

The fees are applicable to banks’ middle-market transactional/current accounts.

It is important to note that all the banks offer different packages with price and service plans which may be suited to individual banking habits.

Additionally, each bank – but Capitec – offers an entry-level saver-type account, which offers reduced rates.

While Capitec does not offer a current account specifically, its Global One account is a transactional account and is integrated with the bank’s other services, including saving and credit facilities.

Banking accounts (Pay as you transact)

Bank Account Monthly Fee
Capitec Global One R5.00
Nedbank Savvy R16.00
FNB Gold Cheque R31.50 (Unlimited: R100.00)
Absa Gold Current R33.00
Standard Bank Elite Gold R54.00* (Plus plan: R104.00)

Sources: businesstech.co.za, FNB, ABSA, Nedbank

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