Three of South Africa’s major banks – Absa, Nedbank and Standard Bank – have largely held monthly account fees steady for 2022.
In fact, across the 15 main accounts on offer across the three banks, monthly fees have only increased on five. Four of these, Standard Bank’s Prestige, Private Banking and Signature Banking as well as Nedbank’s Private Wealth Bundle target the higher income segment, and three are what would typically be considered ‘private banking’ products. Monthly account fees on all five have, however, risen below inflation.
It is somewhat remarkable that the banks have largely held pricing stable, given that they effectively froze (most) price changes between 2019 and 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This will therefore be the second year running that most prices have not changed.
Newcomer Bank Zero has also kept its fees frozen since launch, while TymeBank made some transactions free from January and hiked the costs of cash transactions (deposits/withdrawals).
FNB’s price changes are effective July 1, while Capitec Bank adjusts its fees at the beginning of March.
|Standard Bank – Monthly account fee||2021||2022|
|Absa – Monthly account fee||2021||2022|
|Gold Value Bundle||R109||R109|
|Nedbank – Monthly account fee||2021||2022|
|Savvy Plus Gold||R115||R115|
|Savvy Bundle Platinum||R220||R220|
|Private Wealth Bundle||R452||R468|
In the more price-sensitive segments of the market (from ‘free’ or sub-R5 accounts to those who typically have accounts that cost a maximum of around R110 per month), fees have largely been frozen for more than just two years.
Higher income customers have seen the most price movement.
There are two reasons for this: competition in the middle- and lower-income markets is intense (and Capitec, because of its popularity, has effectively set the cap for a monthly account fee at R5), and the low-growth environment means banks do not really enjoy much pricing power.
These three banks which have frozen most fees for 2022 saw non-interest revenue (or income from transaction fees) decline in 2020. Much of this was due to lower client transactional volumes because of the Covid-19 pandemic – and the hard lockdown – but the banks did not have a typical cushion of increased monthly account fees.
Nedbank saw non-interest revenue in its personal and business banking (PBB) unit decline by 11% in 2020. At Absa’s retail and business banking division in South Africa, non-interest income was down 8%, while Standard Bank reported a 4% drop in non-interest revenue in its local PBB business.
One area where banks continue to ratchet up pricing is for cash withdrawals (and deposits).
The higher costs of handling cash (in terms of security, transport and so on) must be offset. While they have managed to shift large number of customers away from cash – particularly in higher income segments – mass market customers rely on cash.
All three banks will increase the fees for withdrawing cash at their ATMs from January.
|Cash from own ATM||2021||R500 withdrawal||2022||R500 withdrawal|
|Standard Bank MyMo||R7.50/R1 000||R7.50||R8/R1 000||R8|
|Standard Bank MyMo PLUS||Free up to R5 000, then R7.50/R1 000||Free/R7.50||Free up to R5 000, then R8/R1 000||Free/R8|
|Absa Transact||R8/R1 000||R8||R8/R1 000||R8|
|Absa Gold Value Bundle||Free up to R4 500, then R2.20/R100||Free/R11||Free up to R4 500, then R2.30/R100||Free/R11.50|
|Nedbank Pay-as-you-use||R8/R1 000||R8||R9/R1 000||R9|
|Nedbank Savvy Plus Gold||Four free, then R2.20/R100||Free/R11||Three free, then R2.30/R100||Free/R11.50|
Accounts targeted at higher-income customers have been excluded from this comparison as these have bundled ‘free’ withdrawals each month.