Are black cards worth their monthly account fee?

The monthly account fee for a black card can be quite high, depending on the black card and pricing plan […]

The monthly account fee for a black card can be quite high, depending on the black card and pricing plan selected. A black card’s monthly account fee ranges from R100.00 for a pay-as-you-go account to R525.00 for a bundle option.

In South Africa, lower-level cards can range from R0.00 to R250.00 per month. In terms of monthly service fees, a black card charges more than any other card; even the black card’s Pay As You Use option charges more than the other Pay As You Use accounts for entry-level and mid-tier accounts. 

Some banks prefer to use other colors for their premium bank accounts rather than black cards. Nonetheless, the monthly account fee for such premium bank accounts is higher than that of an average or mid-tier bank account.

A black card, as opposed to entry-level and mid-tier cheque accounts, comes with numerous benefits. As a result, paying a higher monthly fee for a black card may not be such a bad idea. There are numerous characteristics to look for in a black card. The characteristics of black cards are discussed further below.

What to expect from a black card

A black card comes with a higher monthly account fee and a lot of benefits to look forward to. Travel, banking, investing, insurance, and lending services are all included with a premium cheque account. The most important benefit of a black card is free enrollment in a bank’s rewards program.

Black cardholders receive more benefits than other account holders of lesser-level accounts. Holders of Black Card accounts can expect to earn banking rewards for making sound financial decisions and spending with the card. Furthermore, the rewards program offers the greatest discounts on travel, banking, and other purchases to black card holders. 

A black card is a private bank account, it comes with a personal private banker. The private banker assists with loan applications, wealth management channels, insurance, and other services. A private banker is typically a go-to person, and account holders can expect to receive their private banker’s cell phone number and email address.

Black cards also come with airport lounge visits. Depending on the bank used, airport lounge visits can be limited or unlimited per year. The accounts also include free travel insurance if the account holder uses the black card to purchase airline tickets. 

On some black cards, a monthly account waiver is also available. Monthly account fee waivers vary by bank, and they may be conditional on keeping a certain amount of money in the account. FNB is one bank that waives monthly account fees if an account holder maintains a certain minimum balance.

Given that these are the standard offerings for a black card, one might wonder if the monthly account fee charged by a black card is worthwhile.

Is the monthly fee worth it on a black card? 

A black card’s monthly account fee may be worthwhile for some but not for others. Since a black card comes with numerous benefits, some of the costs are examined below to see the amount of money that one could be paying. The costs of features that come with a black card are listed below:

  • Rewards program membership cost per month = R25, 
  • Private banker cost per hour = R230.00,
  • Travel insurance minimum = R54.99, 
  • Private airport lounge per visit = R250.00,
  • Foreign transaction fee = 2.5% per transaction, and
  • Monthly roadside assistance = R100.00. 

Other services associated with a black card, such as discounts, cannot be reliably quantified and thus are excluded from the above calculations. Transactional discounts for black card holders are also ignored because each bank grants a different number of transactions to black card holders.

For a frequent traveler, a black card is clearly an account to have. When traveling, there are numerous ways to save money, making the card advantageous. Travel insurance, hotel upgrades, airport lounge access, booking through a private banker, and other benefits are available when traveling.

Other black card account holders can save money on their black cards by opening a Pay As You Use account. A Pay As You Use black card is ideal for those who rarely transact or travel. They can still have access to a private banker and other services for a fraction of the monthly fee.

When opening a black card, you should prioritize selecting the right black card. A youth black card, for example, comes with great loans and investment opportunities that young graduates can take advantage of. As a result, recent graduates should open youth private accounts rather than private wealth accounts.

Can the black card monthly fee be avoided? 

A monthly fee for a black card can be avoided entirely or partially. Banks waive monthly account fees for black cheque account holders who keep a certain minimum balance in their accounts throughout the month. For instance, an account holder may be required to save R150,000.00 over the course of a month in order to have their monthly account fee waived.

Sign-up bonuses that waive the monthly account fee in part or entirely are also available. This can last up to a year, especially with black credit cards. By enrolling in a bank’s rewards program, the bank may offer to waive the monthly account fee if the account holder completes certain banking transactions each month.


The monthly account fee for a black card is justified by the value-added services and free transactions that come with a private account. When calculated at cost, the account provides many benefits and can demonstrate the value of the services that account holders receive. Pay As You Use options allow those who transact less frequently to save money on monthly account fees while still enjoying the standard benefits of a black card.

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