Top 9 Banks in South Africa 2024: Bank with the Big Five

  • Leading Banks: Discover the top 9 banks in South Africa for 2023, including the renowned Big Five.
  • Banking Insights: Learn about the services, benefits, and unique offerings of each top bank.
  • Expert Analysis: Get expert opinions on the best banking options to meet your financial needs.

Banks have been around for nearly 3 centuries, with the first formal banks established in the 1830s. Banks have been expanding their portfolio of services. Products that are now widely available in South African banks include:

  • Commercial banking; 
  • Foreign currency;
  • Exchange;
  • Insurance;
  • Investment banking;
  • Investment management;
  • Private Banking;
  • Customer Banking; and
  • Wealth Management 

Revenue has increased as banks have become more diverse. The top 5 banks in South Africa earn billions of dollars in revenue and are among the largest in Africa.

Top banks in South Africa have high revenue, excellent customer service, service availability, competitive interest rates, and a diverse product offering. Based on the aforementioned details on what makes a top-ranking bank, we examine South Africa’s top 9 banks below.

Top 9 Banks in South Africa

First National Bank

First National Bank is South Africa’s best bank in terms of customer approval. The bank has recently undergone a transformation, and it has become even easier for customers to use its products. 

FNB’s digital platforms are some of the best for South African banks. On the banking side, FNB is dominant as it provides a seamless transaction experience. The bank’s virtual cards make it easier for account holders to open new cards and block them whenever they see fit.

The biggest downside of the FNB digital platforms in 2022 is its tap-to-pay function having issues. This issue was reported by many users. Moreover, another downside of the digital platforms was them being off for hours. 

Since the bank’s makeover, the digital platforms have been working seamlessly. Transacting is simple as ever, and all transacting functionalities are found in one simple folder. 

Through its parent company, FirstRand Ltd., FNB is able to offer investment services to clients. The bank also offers some of the best-performing unit trusts in South Africa, which are managed by Ashburton Investments. 

Private banking is also prioritised by First National Bank and offers some of the most recognizable black cheques accounts for private clients and private wealth accounts. Private lending and Islamic bank accounts are also offered by the bank. 

With the services that FNB offers for banking and investing, FNB is one of South Africa’s best banks. 

Standard Bank

In terms of revenue, Standard Bank is South Africa’s largest bank. In 2021, Standard Bank earned R113 billion in revenue. In 2021, the bank’s net profit was R28 billion. In terms of revenue, this makes Standard Bank the largest bank in South Africa.

Standard Bank has been the biggest bank in terms of asset management. The bank has assets under management to the value of R2.45 Trillion this makes Standard Bank the biggest bank in South Africa in terms of assets under management. 

Standard Bank has a long history of great asset management and its roots can be traced back to the 1860s. Throughout its founding, Standard Bank has expanded and made acquisitions in Africa, South America, and Europe. As such, expanding to other territories resulted in more assets under management. 

Standard Bank offers different products to its clients which is what makes it a behemoth in banking. The bank offers the following products:

  • Foreign currency exchange, 
  • Insurance, 
  • Investment Banking, 
  • Wealth Management, 
  • Private Banking, 
  • Customer Banking, 
  • Investment Management, and
  • Commercial banking. 

Of all the products offered by Standard Bank, customer banking has lagged behind. According to the Consulta Customer Satisfaction Index, Standard Bank ranks number 3 in customer satisfaction for the year 2021. However, the bank has been slowly improving its ratings and has managed to move up from number 6 in the previous year.

Overall, Standard Bank offers the best value to its clients and has a very high acceptance rate among clients. The bank is one of the best banks to bank within South Africa. 

Nedbank Ltd

Nedbank is one of the “big 4 banks in South Africa and has maintained a presence for years as the number of banks increased in the country. With 32,000 employees, the bank is one of the largest employers in the country. The company has also managed to transition, like other traditional banks, into the 21st century and now offers the majority of its services online.

Nedbank manages R1.6 trillion in assets and has seen share growth of more than 10% over the last 3 years. Through its retail banking offerings, Nedbank provides one of the best banking experiences available. The following services are provided by the bank:

  • Travel credit cards, 
  • Home loans, 
  • Wealth Management services, 
  • Private Banking, 
  • Wallet accounts, and more. 

Nedbank has a presence in the following countries: Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Nedbank also has international offices in Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Jersey, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates for its African clients.

What distinguishes Nedbank is its service delivery diversity, as it caters to various types of individuals with varying needs. The bank also has some of the best bank charges in South Africa for bank accounts, credit cards, and travel cards.

Nedbank has a private banking division designed for high-net-worth individuals. Nedbank offers a dedicated mobile app and a dedicated relationship banker through its private wealth banking. The bank is a contender for one of the best private banks in South Africa based solely on these offerings.

Capitec Bank

Capitec bank is a retail bank that serves both individuals and businesses, but it does not offer business banking to corporations, companies, partnerships, or trusts. According to their publications, it claims to focus on simplifying the banking experience.

Capitec’s business model is centered on providing value to its customer(s) by keeping costs low, allowing customers to pay as they transact, and offering the highest interest rate on deposits.

According to the 2015 Chief Financial Officer’s Report, the bank has 850 retail branches nationwide, 3418 own or partnership ATMs, and over 6.2 million customers. 309 000 of these customers use online banking, while 3.5 million use mobile banking.

According to the annual results for the 2015 fiscal year, Capitec Bank’s asset base exceeded R53.9 billion, with R11.6 billion in equity and retail savings deposits increasing by 32% year on year to R19.3 billion and retail fixed savings increasing by 19% year on year to R10.7 billion.

Earnings and headline earnings for the 2015 fiscal year were R2.547 billion, up from R2.017 billion in 2014, and net transaction fee income was R2.6 billion.

As of August 2021, the bank was the second-largest retail bank in South Africa in terms of customer numbers, with 120,000 new accounts opened each month.

Absa

Absa is one of South Africa’s leading financial service providers and one of the country’s four major banks. The Group’s banking division provides bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, and insurance. There are also business and corporate banking options.

The bank has its own Rewards program through which bank account holders can earn rewards when they bank. Private Account holders benefit from the Absa rewards program’s best features, including special rates, discounts, and concierge services.

Absa Private accounts offer private banking to young professionals and high-net-worth individuals. In addition to private banking, the bank offers wealth management services to assist individuals in maintaining and increasing their wealth.

Business owners can get bank accounts, lending, and investment opportunities in a separate section. When starting a new business, entrepreneurs can benefit from Absa Bank’s tutorials on business checklists.

Absa Bank provides a wide range of services, from bank accounts for children to corporate banking. Absa is one of the best banks in South Africa because of the services it provides.

TymeBank 

TymeBank is a digital bank that offers its services and products fully online. Since its founding in 2015, TymeBank has emerged as one of the top banks in South Africa and has been slowly increasing its product offering. 

TymeBank offers the following services:

  • Business Bank Account, 
  • Transactional accounts to individuals, 
  • Savings accounts,
  • Credit card facility, and
  • Rewards and discounts. 

The TymeBank accounts only allow for deposits to be made at Pick n Pay and Boxer stores. TymeBank-supported self-service kiosks can be found in Pick n Pay and Boxer stores where people can make transactions. 

As the bank is still new, there are a whole lot of services that the bank is planning to roll out. Through its partnerships with TFC and the Zion Christian Church TymeBank is surely set for better clientele. 

Rand Merchant Bank 

Rand Merchant Bank is one of the best private banks in South Africa as it only caters to private clients. RMB shares a parent company with FNB in FirstRand Group. The bank has a diverse portfolio that is aimed at catering to the needs of private clients. 

Rand Merchant Bank offers the following services:

  • Transactional banking through its private banking cheque accounts, 
  • Sector banking that caters for the needs of different companies which operate in different sectors. 
  • Investment solutions for individuals and businesses. 
  • Financial risk management and hedging solutions which protect clients against interest rates, currency, liquidity, commodity, equity and credit risks. 

Through the FNB rewards program, RMB provides rewards to both individual customers and businesses. The majority of RMB’s products and services earn rewards.

RMB’s social investment program also invests in the communities in which it operates. To give back to the community, the bank collaborates with various communities and businesses.

Despite the fact that RMB only serves a small number of people, the bank has a strong presence in South Africa. RMB has grown and continues to grow as a result of its offerings.

Investec Bank

Individuals and businesses can use Investec’s private banking services. The bank is one of the largest in South Africa and the country’s largest private bank. The bank’s wealth management services are the best in South Africa, but it rarely competes for first place with RMB as the best private bank in South Africa.

Investec offers the following services to individuals:

  • Banking solutions for young professionals, medical practitioners, and others. 
  • Foreign exchange services, 
  • Offshore banking, 
  • Fixed deposit accounts, 
  • Self-managed investment services, 
  • Unit trust investment, 
  • Car, life, and mortgage protection insurance, and
  • Loans

Businesses and corporations are also well-catered for. Transactional banking, corporate and business financing, investing solutions, forex solutions, and trade and risk management services are available to businesses and corporations.

Investec, as a private bank, has some of the best offshore investment opportunities. Banking and investing through the bank is much easier because the bank assigns a dedicated banker to each business or individual that requires service from the bank.

Discovery Bank

As of 2022, Discovery Bank had over 1 million accounts and over 460 000 clients, making it one of the fastest-growing banks in the country since the Covid-19 pandemic. In  2022, the bank reported R11 billion in deposits and R4.5 billion in credit advances.

The bank provides banking services to a variety of people. Accounts available include a gold account, a platinum account, and a private bank account. Credit cards are also available to those that are looking to own a credit card. For those who want to transact and save in other currencies, a forex account is also available.

Through its money reward program, the bank has one of the best banking reward programs. Vitality Money provides rewards to Discovery Bank customers as well as discounts on certain purchases.

Conclusion 

South Africa has many banks, but only a few stand out. South African banks are among the best in Africa, with many having a global presence. Banks in the country provide various services to meet the needs of various individuals. Banking services are also accompanied by digital platforms designed to make banking more convenient.


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