Banking is changing. Gone are the days of standing in a queue on a Saturday morning! Yup, that used to be a thing…
When Bank Zero launched this year, they caused a stir on social media with their digital-only, no-fee offering. But is Bank Zero really the cheapest place to stash your cash? TymeBank has been around since 2019 — it’s also a digital bank, with a ‘pay-as-you-use’ model and no monthly fees.
For a long time, Capitec was the go-to ‘traditional’ bank if you were looking for cheap fees, with a monthly fee of only R5 on their Global One account. In an effort to compete, ABSA, FNB and Standard Bank all launched a basic bank account with a monthly fee of about R5. Old Mutual launched a similarly affordable bank account at R5 per month, which also allows you to save in a unit trust with no minimums. Then Nedbank took it a step further with their pay-as-you-use account, with no monthly fee.
We compared three no-fee options to see which one offers the best value.
Opening your account
To open an account and get a card, Nedbank and TymeBank are mahala.
You can open a TymeBank account using their website or app — you will be asked FICA questions to verify your identity. After registering, you need to pop into any Pick n Pay or Boxer store with a TymeBank kiosk to collect your debit card. At this point, you will need to put money into the card to activate it. TymeBank is a digital bank with no branches — it uses Pick n Pay and Boxer stores and till points.
You can open Nedbank’s pay-as-you-use account using their app or via their website, and your card will be delivered to you for free. FICA requirements also apply.
You can only open a Bank Zero account through their app. A selfie taken with either your ID or driver’s licence is used to verify your identity. Proof of residence is also required. Put some money into the account to receive your personalised debit card. Since Bank Zero is a 100% online bank, they don’t accept cash deposits, so you will need to do an EFT to fund your account. Your card can be delivered to your nearest Clicks store for R79, or to your home for between R139-R179, depending on where you live.
Other account fees
Overall, TymeBank has the most compelling and cheapest offering available in South Africa. You can use ATMs for cash withdrawals and deposits, but doing this at a Pick n Pay or Boxer store is much cheaper. Plus, if you pay using your TymeBank card at Pick n Pay, you earn double Smart Shopper points. TymeBank also offers great savings interest rates. Note that TymeBank has fixed daily and monthly transaction limits, but these limits are quite high and are unlikely to affect most people.
An incentive to open the Nedbank account is that you get access to their Greenbacks money management programme, which rewards you for making better financial choices. This could be useful to some people, but the everyday fees are higher than those charged by TymeBank and Bank Zero.
Speaking of the latter, it’s also a very compelling option, with the only real negative being that they don’t accept cash deposits — for now, at least.
Whichever bank you choose, it’s great to see that customers are no longer being forced into paying high fees. Viva, freedom of choice, viva!