Business bank accounts

Business bank accounts

If you’re read my post on how to run a side hustle you’d probably remember that I speak about opening a separate bank account for your business. This is quite easy and affordable if you’re operating as a sole proprietor (ie it’s just you and it’s not formally registered). If however you’ve registered your business on the CIPC, you’ll need a “real” business bank account, and that seems quite expensive and rather time-consuming to research. Here’s my findings on business bank accounts in South Africa.

As I am in the process of doing this research myself, I decided to share a post on it.

So, what is the best small business bank account in South Africa? Well, that depends on what you need….

My assumptions going into this exercise

My partner and I have started a small business together and although it’s very small right now, we’ve figured that we need the following from our business bank account:

  • A debit card each (although we could probably share one to save costs),
  • 30 x card swipes per month,
  • 2 x card swipes per month for fuel,
  • 2 x debit orders per month,
  • 5 x EFT payments per month (including notifications to be sent),
  • 1 x prepaid service per month.

Other things I’m looking at just for interest sake are the

  • interest rates offered on the account (without needing a separate account),
  • cost of SARS payments (as every business needs to pay SARS at some point).

My partner is a chef and part of his job is to buy ingredients for dinner parties, high teas, and catering events. Lots of swiping! Now of course you may have different needs so it’s good to draw up a list of what you believe your monthly transactions would be.

We for example don’t need to withdraw cash and we don’t envisage receiving cash. Customers pay us via bank payments so we don’t need to accept credit card payments nor online payments. We also don’t need credit, overdraft, or other features. In fact, we don’t need all that much from a business account.

Comparing business bank accounts

Using the above scenario, let’s see how various banks in South Africa compare. Remember that all banks have multiple accounts and options and it is a little tricky to fully compare like-to-like. However, the above transactions can be tallied up and a comparison figure drawn.

BankZero business account

BankZero is one of the “new kids” on the block so to speak. They operate as an app-based bank with no physical contact centres. High tech and a great competitor.

View the full Bank Zero pricing guide here

Monthly account feeR0
30 x card swipesR0
2 x fuel swipesR0
2 x debit orders to any bankR0
5 x EFT payments to any bank (with notifications)R0
1 x prepaid serviceR0
Total per monthR0
First debit cardR79
Second debit cardR100 for a second account
R79 for the card
Interest rate on balance of R10k2.2%
Cost of payment to SARSR0

BankZero is definitely the winner in terms of fees. This will do exactly what we need. The potential downsides are if a company ever requires physically stamped bank statements, although that seems to be quite a rare occurrence now days. Also, a big negative for me is that fact that cannot open a Bank Zero business account using my iPhone. This functionality is currently only available on Android.

The hack to open the BankZero business account on iOs is to pair your account with someones Android device. Open the business account, FICA, and then continue as per normal on your own device. Also obviously remove your details from your friends phone. I have not done this yet, but I may need to.

FNB Gold Business

FNB Business banking costs are quite steep and you will need at least the Gold Business account for a properly registered business. There are two options available – pay-as-you-go, or a single fee. Note that the bundle has some limitations and the comparison is based on the needs described in the introduction.

Click here for the full list of FNB Business Banking costs

Pay-as-you-useSingle fee
Monthly account fee R80R265
30 x card swipes R110.40 (R3.68 ea)R0
2 x fuel swipes R12 (R6 ea)R0
2 x debit orders to any bank R24 (R12 ea)R0
5 x EFT payments to any bank (with notifications) R40 (R8 ea)R0
1 x prepaid service R2.70R0
Total per month R269.10R265
First debit card R120R120
Second debit card R120R120
Interest rate on balance of R10k0%0%
Cost of payment to SARSR8R0 (in bundle)

FNB is significantly more expensive but the one advantage is the ability to link your account to PayPal, which is something I have. Not worth the fees though I feel.

There are also other benefits linked to the account which may be useful to you. Things such as invoicing, direct linking to Sage Accounting, accounting reports, etc. Have a look to see what you may need as these value-add features are very useful and probably worth the money if you choose a DIY approach to accounting.

ABSA Business account

Take a look here for the full ABSA Business Evolve PAYT account pricing information.

Monthly account feeR85
30 x card swipesR127
(R4.35 for first 20,
R4.00 for next 20)
2 x fuel swipesR8 (sliding scale above)
2 x debit orders to any bankR39.50 (R19.75 ea)
5 x EFT payments to any bank (with notifications)R50 (R10 ea)
1 x prepaid serviceR10 (looks like)
Total per monthR319.50
First debit cardR0
Second debit cardNot clear on pricing
Interest rate on balance of R10k0% (not clear though)
Cost of payment to SARSR19.75

The ABSA Evolve PAYT account is very expensive and not an option for us. It’s also not fully clear if the cost of debit cards is included or not.

There are also bundled options available but there are much higher fees should you exceed the limitations.

Standard Bank business current account

You can take a look at the full Standard Bank Business Current Account fees here.

Monthly account feeR85
30 x card swipesR120 (R4 ea)
2 x fuel swipesR8 (R4 ea)
2 x debit orders to any bankR37 (R18.50 ea)
5 x EFT payments to any bank (with notifications)R35 (R7 ea)
1 x prepaid serviceR1.50
Total per monthR286.50
First debit cardR0
Second debit cardNot clear on pricing
Interest rate on balance of R10k0%
Cost of payment to SARSR18.50

The Standard Bank Business Current account is priced at the average price of it’s traditional competitors. I don’t see anything outstanding here to draw me to this account.

Nedbank business account

Like other banks, Nedbank offers a bundled solution as well as a pay-as-you-go product.

Nedbank business account pay-as-you-use pricing

Nedbank business account bundle fees

Pay-as-you-goBundle 35
Monthly account feeR60R259
30 x card swipesR129 (R4.30 ea)R55 (R11 ea)
You get 35 transactions in total on this bundle
2 x fuel swipesR8.60 (R4.30 ea)R0
2 x debit orders to any bankR38 (R19 ea)R0
5 x EFT payments to any bank (with notifications)R41.75 (R8.35 ea)R0
1 x prepaid serviceR1.50R0
Total per monthR278.85R314
First debit cardR220R220
Second debit cardR220R220
Interest rate on balance of R10k0%0%
Cost of payment to SARSR19R0 (in bundle)

Like other banks listed, Nedbank charges high fees per card transaction as well as annual card fees and lost card replacement fees. Noting out of the ordinary compared to the traditional banks, but expensive based on what I need. The bundle doesn’t see to help as the out of bundle fees are higher.

Capitec business account

Capitec itself does not do business banking, but it bought out the Mercantile Bank which does. So, Mercantile and Capitec are “linked”.

Here are the full Mercantile business account fees

Monthly account feeR65
30 x card swipesR150 (R5 ea)
2 x fuel swipesR10 (R5 ea)
2 x debit orders to any bankR10 (R5 ea)
5 x EFT payments to any bank (with notifications)R25 (R5 ea)
1 x prepaid servicen/a
Total per monthR260
First debit cardR0
Second debit cardNot clear on pricing
Interest rate on balance of R10k0%
Cost of payment to SARSR10

Mercantile bank is very expensive on the debit card transaction fees. Not a good option for me.

Business bank accounts in South Africa

This is not a comprehensive list of business bank accounts in South Africa, but it should give you a feel of what is out there.

To recap, based on my own requirement of business banking as set out in the start of this article, the banks have faired as followed regarding total monthly costs:

Monthly cost for my set of transactionsInterest Rate on R10k balance in same account
BankZero Business AccountR0.002.2%
Capitec Business Account /
Mercantile Business Account
FNB Business Gold (single fee)R265.000%
FNB Business Gold (pay-as you-use)R269.100%
Nedbank Business Account (pay-as-you-go)R278.850%
Standard Bank Business Current AccountR286.500%
Nedbank Business Account (Bundle 35)R314.000%
ABSA Business Evolve PAYTR319.500%

There is clearly a huge jump from Bank Zero to the others. It is however vital that you compare these accounts based on your own requirements.

Work out whether you need cash withdrawals, overseas payments, forex, PayPal, debit orders, etc.

Also note that the majority of banks require a separate investment account in order to earn interest or grown on your money. These are often free, but not always. That requires some further research.

Hope that you find this info on business bank accounts useful. If you have queries, find errors, or wish me to add more banks, please add a comment or send me a message. I’m really trying to help you find the best small business bank account South Africa.


  1. Thank you for this article but i have one question.

    Why you didn’t include TymBank business account?

    1. Great question! The TymeBank business account however is only for a sole proprietor and not a registered business. A sole proprietor is when an individual runs a business by themselves, in their personal capacity. The TymeBank business account is actually opened in ones personal capacity and is actually a personal account, it just gives you the option to keep you money separate. A formally registered business requires a bank account registered in the business name, with FICA for owners and directors. A lot more admin involved.

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