File picture: Denis Farrell/AP
The profiles of 12 and 17 transactions a month are used in this comparison.

Almost all low-income bank accounts have reduced bank charges compared with last year. The accounts with higher costs are Nedbank’s Ke Yona bundle for both 12 and 17 transactions, and Nedbank’s Pay-As-You-Use account for 17 transactions.

The bank that has succeeded in offering the biggest reduction in bank charges is Capitec. It also has the cheapest option for both 12 transactions and 17 transactions. A factor that makes Capitec so competitive is that it is the only bank that offers good positive interest on any funds held in the transaction account. With all the other banks, consumers have to transfer funds to a savings account to benefit from it.

Offsetting the interest earned in a savings account against the bank charges of a transaction account does not provide a true reflection of the costs of a single transaction account. In the case of Capitec, the report therefore includes only the effect of interest on credit balances in the main transaction account.

The account in this category that offers consumers the cheapest option is also the Capitec account, maintained with a minimum balance of R2000 - for both 12 transactions and 17 transactions. The interest earned on the balance is the factor that makes the account the most competitive.

A further benefit of Capitec’s accounts this year is that they have the added option of transferring money electronically - via the send money option - whereas last year they only had the option of sending money via a branch.

Fees for 12 transactions a month: Capitec (R2 000 balance) R23.18; Capitec (R 1000 balance) R27.14; Capitec (R0 balance) R31.10; Absa Transact R36.10; Standard Bank Access R38.10; FNB Easy PAYT R38.75; Nedbank PAYU R40.20; Nedbank Ke Yona Bundle R70.20; FNB Easy Bundle R70.80.

Fees for 17 transactions a month: Capitec (R2000 balance) R36.08; Capitec (R1000 balance) R40.04; Capitec (R0 balance) R44; Absa Transact R51.65; FNB Easy PAYT R55.75; Standard Bank Access R56.80; Nedbank PAYU R59.25; FNB Easy Bundle R71.20; Nedbank Ke Yona Bundle R97.60.