Apply Now

Opening an Bank Account South Africa : Guide

Opening a bank account South Africa is an important part who living and planning to relocate to this diverse and alive country. Whether you are a South African citizen, expat, and also foreign national, having a local bank account can make financial transactions more secure and convenient.

Focus Money guide will explore all the process for opening a bank account in South Africa, the necessary documents, eligibility criteria, and various account options available to suit your needs. Find out what you need to open a bank account South Africa online.

Choosing the Right BankSelecting the right bank is crucial for the whole banking experience. Consider factors such as accessibility, fees, and the bank’s reputation. Look for a bank that offers outstanding customer service and aligns with financial goals.
Eligibility CriteriaEach bank has specific eligibility requirements for opening an account. South African citizens, permanent residents, and foreign nationals have different criteria to fulfill. Knowing your eligibility status will save you time and effort.
Online and Mobile BankingEmbrace the convenience of online and mobile banking services. Learn how to manage your accounts, transfer funds, and make payments from the comfort of your home.
ATM and Branch NetworkExplore the extensive ATM and branch network of major banks in South Africa. Having easy access to your funds and banking services nationwide is crucial.
Security MeasuresBanks employ robust security measures to safeguard your financial information and prevent fraudulent activities. Understanding these measures will help you feel confident about your financial safety.

Top Banks and Benefits in South Africa for Opening a Bank Account

When it comes to opening a bank account in South Africa, many reputable banks offer excellent services and benefits to their customers. Focus Money arrange top banks in the country and the advantages they provide to account holders:

Standard Bank

As one of the largest and oldest banks in South Africa, Standard Bank offers a wide range of account options, catering to various financial needs.

Benefits include access to a diverse selection of savings and investment products, along with personalized customer service.

Standard Bank’s extensive branch and ATM network ensure convenient access to banking services across the country.

  • CEO: Lungisa Fuzile (15 Jan 2018–)
  • Credit card support: 086 120 1000
  • Headquarters: Johannesburg
  • Customer service: 0860 123 000
  • Founder: John Paterson
  • Founded: 15 October 1862
  • Number of employees: 54,767 (2016)

Absa Bank

Absa Bank provides innovative banking solutions and has a strong presence in South Africa’s financial market.

Account holders can enjoy benefits such as competitive interest rates on savings accounts and various credit card options.

Absa’s user-friendly online banking platform makes managing finances a breeze.

  • Customer service: 0860 008 600
  • CEO: Arrie Rautenbach (29 Mar 2022–)
  • Headquarters: Johannesburg
  • Credit card support: 086 146 2273
  • Subsidiaries: Absa Bank Kenya, Absa Bank Tanzania, Absa Bank (Mauritius) Limited, Absa Bank Seychelles Limited
  • Founded: 1991
  • Formerly: Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (ABSA) (1991–2005); Barclays Africa Group Limited (2005–2018)

First National Bank (FNB)

FNB is known for its customer-centric approach and advanced banking technology.

Account holders can take advantage of FNB’s mobile app for seamless banking on-the-go and access to a comprehensive rewards program.

The bank’s personalized financial planning services help customers achieve their long-term goals.

  • Customer service: 087 575 9404
  • Credit card support: 087 575 1111
  • CEO: Jacques Celliers (Jan 2014–)
  • Headquarters: Johannesburg
  • Founded: 1838, Makhanda
  • Parent organizations: FirstRand, FirstRand Bank Limited


Nedbank is committed to sustainable banking practices and offers a variety of green and socially responsible banking products.

Account holders can benefit from innovative solutions, such as the “Pay-as-you-use” account, which offers fee flexibility based on individual usage.

Nedbank’s partnership with various organizations allows customers to participate in impactful community initiatives.

  • Headquarters: Sandton
  • Number of employees: 31 277 (2018)
  • Founded: 1 March 1888
  • Capital ratio: 11,7% (2018)
  • Key people: Mike Brown (CEO); Michael Davis (CFO); Mfundo Nkuhlu (COO); Trevor Adams (CRF); Mpho Makwana (Chairman)
  • Subsidiaries: Nedbank Limited, and others

Capitec Bank

Capitec Bank has gained popularity for its transparent and affordable banking offerings.

Account holders can enjoy low monthly fees, competitive interest rates, and simplified fee structures.

Capitec’s easy-to-use digital platforms make banking accessible to all.

  • Customer service: 0860 102 043
  • Headquarters: Stellenbosch
  • Stock price: CPI (JSE) 180 282,00 ZAC -105,00 (-0,06%)
  • 07 Aug, 11:32 SAST – Disclaimer
  • CEO: Gerrie Fourie (01 Jan 2014–)
  • Founded: 1 March 2001
  • Founders: Jannie Mouton; Michiel Le Roux; Riaan Stassen


If you are looking for personalized wealth management services, Investec is an excellent choice.

The bank offers tailored solutions for high-net-worth individuals, including private banking, investment management, and advisory services.

Account holders benefit from the expertise of seasoned financial professionals.

  • CEO: Fani Titi (01 Oct 2018–)
  • Customer service: 0860 110 161
  • Parent organization: Investec
  • Subsidiaries: Investec Bank, Investec, MORE
  • Stock price: INL (JSE) 11 255,00 ZAC +60,00 (+0,54%)
  • 07 Aug, 11:33 SAST – Disclaimer
  • Headquarters: Sandown, Sandton
  • Founders: Ian Robert Kantor, Larry Nestadt, Errol Grolman
  • Number of employees: 8 500 (2023)

African Bank

African Bank focuses on providing straightforward banking products, especially for those looking to build or rebuild their credit.

Account holders can access personal loans and credit solutions with competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms.

  • Customer service: 086 112 3456
  • CEO: Kennedy G. Bungane (14 Apr 2021–)
  • Headquarters: Johannesburg
  • Founder: Sam Motsuenyane
  • Founded: 31 July 1975
  • Number of employees: 3,886 (2019)

What is the Benefits of Opening a Bank Account in South Africa?

Convenient Banking Services: Regardless of the bank choose, expect a wide range of convenient banking services, including online and mobile banking, which make managing your finances hassle-free.

Financial Inclusion: South African banks strive to help financial addition by offering accessible accounts to various sections of the population, including low-income people and young adults.

Interest Earnings: By keeping your money in a bank account, you can earn interest on your savings, helping your money grow over time.

Secure Transactions: Banks in South Africa arrange the security of their customers’ financial transactions, providing peace of mind while leading banking activities.

Building Credit History: Having a bank account is crucial for building a credit history, which is essential for future financial endeavors, such as obtaining loans or credit cards.

Financial Planning Assistance: Many banks offer financial planning assistance and resources to help customers achieve their short-term and long-term financial goals.

Useful Information for a Smooth Banking Experience

To make the most of your banking experience, follow these tips:

Staying Informed about Banking Updates

Keep yourself updated with changes in banking policies, fees, and new services. Stay informed to make informed decisions about your finances.

Utilizing Customer Support

If you have any queries or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to the bank’s customer support. They are there to assist you with any banking-related issues.

Understanding Banking Regulations

It’s essential to be aware of banking regulations that may affect your account and transactions.

Exchange Control Rules

South Africa has exchange control regulations that govern cross-border transactions. Familiarize yourself with these rules when conducting international transactions.

Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA)

The FICA requires banks to verify the identity of their customers. Comply with the bank’s requests for information and documentation as part of this process.

What information will I need to open a bank account?

  • Your full name
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Residential address, including any previous addresses if you have moved recently
  • Marital status
  • Contact details, such as phone number and email address

What do I need for proof of ID and address?

For proof of identification and address verification, you will typically need to provide documents such as:

  1. A recent utility bill (gas, electricity, water, etc.) with your name on it, dated within the last three months.
  2. A recent council tax bill or statement.
  3. A rental or mortgage contract indicating your current address South Africa.
  4. A recent bank statement from another account, if applicable.
  5. A letter from the government or relevant authority confirming benefits or state pension payments.

How do I open a joint account South Africa

To open a joint account, follow these steps:

  • Gather Required Documents: Each account holder will need to provide proof of identification and address.
  • Decide on Account Type: Check with the bank to see what types of joint accounts they offer.
  • Complete Application: You can open the joint account online, in-branch, or over the phone, depending on the bank’s procedures.
  • Provide Personal Information: Each account holder will need to provide their personal information, including full name, date of birth, nationality, and contact details.
  • Agree on Account Terms: Before opening the account, discuss and agree with the other account holder on how you plan to use the account, including how you will manage deposits, withdrawals, and other financial matters.
  • Signature Requirements: Some banks may require both account holders to sign the account application and other relevant documents.
  • Funding the Account: Decide how much money each account holder will contribute to the joint account initially.
  • Understand Account Ownership: It’s crucial to understand that with a joint account, both account holders have equal ownership and access to the funds.

Faq’s Related Open a Bank Account in South Africa

Can I open a bank account online in South Africa?

Yes, many banks in South Africa offer online account opening services, allowing you to open an account from anywhere with an internet connection.

Is there a minimum age requirement to open a bank account?

Yes, the minimum age requirement to open a bank account in South Africa is generally 18 years old. Some banks may offer youth accounts for minors with parental consent.

What if I am a foreigner without a permanent address?

Foreigners without a permanent address may face challenges during the account opening process. Reach out to the bank’s customer support for alternative verification options.

Can I open a bank account as a non-resident with a tourist visa?

Yes, tourists and visitors can open bank accounts in South Africa with proper identification and visa documentation.

Is it safe to conduct online banking transactions?

Yes, banks implement advanced security measures to protect online transactions. Ensure you follow best practices for online security and never share sensitive information with anyone.

Can I open a bank account if I am unemployed or on benefits South Africa?

Yes, you can open a bank account in South Africa even if you are unemployed or receiving benefits. Having a bank account is essential for managing your finances, receiving benefits or payments, and conducting various financial transactions.


Melokuhle is a publisher at Focus Money with over one years of experience in the financial services industry as a marketer. Leanne has successfully completed the South Africa Securities Course (CSC®) along with the Personal Lending and Mortgages Course offered by the South Africa Securities Institute. In addition, he holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Western University.

Focus Money
Enable registration in settings - general