Capitec is one of South Africa's low cost banks. File Image: IOL
Banks in South Africa offer a range of bank accounts that are suited for various transactional needs, however temporary workers or people who do not have a steady income often find themselves in limbo as regular bank accounts don’t always meet their needs.

Pieter Woodhatch, chief executive of FNB Easy says the trend is prevalent among consumers who earn income from working in farms as seasonal workers; street vendors, artisans or part-time domestic helpers for example.

“A bank account must suit your individual needs, it should never be the other way around. It’s always best to understand your banking needs before deciding on the type of account to use. The aim of choosing a suitable bank account is to ensure that you get value for money,” said Woodhatch.

Here are some important questions to ask yourself before choosing the right bank account:

Does the account meet my needs?

The last thing you want is to have an under utilised bank account, which means you may end up paying for services you don’t need. For an example, if you are a seasonal worker, you may want to consider using a pay-as-you-use or an eWallet eXtra type of account. Also be careful of having too many accounts that start to rack up the charges and you forget why you kept them open, rather put your money into a savings account.

“The main difference between the two accounts is that an account like Easy pay-as-you-use has a minimal monthly charge while eWallet eXtra is a mobile only account with no monthly fee and you do not need a bank card to operate the eWallet eXtra mobile bank account,” said Woodhatch.

Does the account give me access to a digital banking ecosystem?

Every bank claims to have digital banking but the last thing you want is a bank account which requires costly and regular branch visits for solutions you should be able to access via digital platforms. Check with your bank if your account gives you access to digital banking platforms such as cell phone banking /ATM or a banking app.

“If you can bank digitally, it means you can bank from anywhere and at any time, and it won’t dent your pocket. This means instead of going to a branch, you can simply use your mobile phone to conduct transfers, send and receive money and check balances regularly to avoid surprises as you have your statement easily accessible. Electronic banking channels are generally cheaper than in-branch banking and can save you a lot of time,” said Woodhatch

Banking digitally does not necessarily mean banking with a Smart phone, through cell phone banking even people with feature phones can conduct transactions such as cash transfers, send money and cardless withdrawals. 

Through cell phone banking consumers are also able to conduct prepaid purchases such as airtime, data and lotto. These are just some of the value adds that are easily accessible through a cheaper channel.

Does the account offer transparency?

Transparency is quite important when it comes to the fees that you pay on an account, therefore you absolutely must be aware how much the account is costing you. Both the Bundle and pay-as-you-use accounts have transparent fee structures that are straight forward. In fact, both accounts give you full control of how much you spend on your transactions.

“Ultimately as a consumer you must opt for an account that makes financial sense to you but, most importantly, it must allow a certain degree of flexibility to match your changing banking needs,” concluded Woodhatch.

PERSONAL FINANCE