Find out if your bank leaves many holes in your purse

Bank charges are becoming cheaper as banks offer more options in a bid to outdo each other.
Bank charges are becoming cheaper as banks offer more options in a bid to outdo each other.
Image: 123RF/ kritchanut

Everyone who uses a bank account will know about bank fees. Whether you are transferring money, paying accounts or transacting at an ATM, the bank charges you fees based on how you use your account.

Ever thought you had R100 in your account, only to try and draw out the R100 and receive an "insufficient funds" notice? When you checked your statement you saw that you were a few rands or cents short of the R100. That's thanks to bank charges.

The annual Bank Charges Report compiled by the Solidarity Research Institute, makes it a bit easier for you to compare different banks and the accounts they offer, and how much you would be paying in fees if you had one of those accounts.

The report looks at accounts for different income earners. However, if you don't have the luxury of many thousands of rands remaining in your bank account at the end of each month, finding the most cost-effective bank account is a very important task.

It is difficult to make sweeping statements about which accounts are the cheapest or most expensive, as your costs depend on the number and type of transactions you make each month.

The low-cost banking race has been dominated by Capitec for a number of years. While Capitec is still the low-cost champion, there is a new contender in the race for the cheapest transactional account for those of us who typically don't have much money in our accounts each month.

Old Mutual's money account beats Capitec on fees alone. So too does the Absa transact account. However, when you take into account the interest paid on the Capitec global one account - on your existing balance - it may still offer you the cheapest banking option.

Solidarity tested the costs on a Capitec account for 12 common transactions and found if you didn't let the balance go below around R223, you would earn enough interest to make the account cheaper than Old Mutual's or Absa's.

If you do about 17 transactions a month and your balance does not fall below R193, you will also find Capitec the cheapest.

But if your balance typically falls below these amounts, there is now an option cheaper than Capitec.

Absa has another ace up its sleeve. Its CashSend offering allows users to send money to anyone with a cellphone, whether they have a bank account or not. They receive a code and are able to withdraw cash from an ATM.

The tables published here show how the banks stack up against each other under two scenarios with different transactions done in a month.

The costs on Capitec's accounts are shown under three different scenarios - with a minimum balance of R1000, R2000 or no minimum.

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