How To Open A Bank Account In South Africa [Steps & Requirements]

Wondering how to open a bank account in South Africa? This article gives the needed information you need to open a South African bank account. Read through.

South Africa is no doubt one of the most favored countries in Africa. Aside having one of the best safari entertainments which makes it a top choice for tourists.

For an adult that has grown over 18 years of age with some degree of income from a business or a job, it is definitely important to have a bank account to succeed in whatever you do and also to avoid the stress of transferring money unnecessarily.

South Africa has more than 11 local banks and more than 45 foreign-controlled banks. This offers you the opportunity to choose the best choice of bank either you are a citizen or a  foreigner.

As a guide, there are 4 bigger banks in South Africa: ABSA, FNB, Standard Bank and Nedbank that provide similar services, but keep in mind that some of these “big” and more secure banks usually charge some extra fees for many services you can get it for free in other less internationally recognized brands.

A South African bank account is divided into 2 main categories: resident or non-resident and this depends on whether you reside in South Africa or abroad. It is also possible to open a bank account in South Africa as a foreigner. Meanwhile, for all bank accounts, there are basic requirements that include the following:

  • Proof of Identity: This can be in the form of an original and valid passport or other acceptable forms of official identification.
  • Proof of Address: This can be a utility bill or a previous bank statement.
  • Statement or reference: from your current bank (as a form of reference).
  • Cash or bank draft for account opening: This is the initial money that will be deposited into your account to activate it.
  • Letter from your current employer confirming that you work with them and your monthly salary.

Ideally, you should make sure you have the documents listed above with you when you go to the bank.

How to open a resident bank account in South Africa

If you are a foreigner and want to open a resident bank account in South Africa, there are some additional credentials you will need to provide, which in addition to those listed above include:

  • Complete the Foreign National Declaration and Employment Confirmation form by a South African employer.
  • Declare all foreign funds and assets brought to the country that belongs to you.
  • Submit a written statement that the foreign assets will not be released to a third party resident in South Africa.
  • Provide copies of the following:
    • Valid passport or travel document
    • Work or study permit.
    • Proof of address in South Africa usually in the form of a utility bill

These must cover all the requirements of all banks. However, some South African banks may require less than these.

How to open a non-resident bank account in South Africa

Although it is easy to open a savings bank account as a non-resident of South Africa, there are many more variations in the requirements for opening such a bank account depending on individual banks. Some banks may require one or more of the following conditions to apply:

  • Non-resident accounts can only be financed by foreign currencies.
  • Non-residents can be required to prove that they are “actually” non-residents
  • Most banks have a condition attached such that a foreign currency account for a non-resident would also require a Rand account to be opened.

Requirements to open a non-resident account:

  • Provide at least the minimum opening deposit
  • Have a certified copy of your passport authenticated at your branch abroad
  • Provide on bank statements for at least three months.
  • Provide proof of income

Bank accounts can be opened from abroad; however, the application form and accompanying statements must be accompanied by a certified signature from an attorney.

Remember that it is possible to open a bank account in South Africa, even when you do not have a current job, but depending on the bank, quarterly maintenance fees may apply. It is also normal to consent to credit checks, as these banks generally conduct checks.

In addition, you will also need to let the bank set up your internet banking for you as it is useful and makes your financial management much easier. Additionally, most transactions are made through Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

After setting up your bank account, you need to go home with 3 cards:

1. Debit card issued by the bank and linked to your account. With this, you will have access to your account through ATMs and you can also use it to shop and make payments online and offline.

2. A credit card that you can also use for your online purchases and other non-cash transactions

3. A garage card that is used for gas payments at the pump.

Read Also: 10 Richest Provinces In South Africa

Joint bank account in South Africa

If you are considering opening a joint account in South Africa, please note that South African law does not allow “joint account”, rather there is a provision for accounts that will hold all of your money to which you can grant access to your partner or spouse, but in reality, the account is in the name of one person and the other person simply has signing power.

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