Opening a back account in South Africa, advice for foreigners
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Opening a Bank Account in South Africa

Opening a bank account in South Africa is not a problem, whether you are a resident or a non-resident. It's best to open a South African bank account in person, rather than from abroad.
 
South Africa's banking system is not only the most sophisticated in Africa but also equal to that in many western countries. It is important to know that in most cases opening a bank account in South Africa relates directly to the type of permit you have been granted.
 
Whilst on a tourist visa you are only able to open a bank account in South Africa that is classified as a non resident account, with all the features of a normal banking account except for the fact that you cannot generally receive deposits in Rands. There are exceptions to the rule though, such as if you own a property and let it out, or if you are in possession of a valid South African work permit that confirms your temporary or permanent residency status then you are able to open a bank account in South Africa
 
As a general rule you must be at least 18 and provide proof of identity, e.g. a passport and your address in South Africa (a utility bill usually suffices). Before choosing a bank, it's wise to compare the fees charged for international money transfers and other services, which can be high. Most bank's website usually has details of charges, but we suggest using a website called Bank Monitor to research the bank that suits your needs best.
 
This site is a gem and has the most detailed and up to date information on all financial services in South Africa!
 
If you wish to open an account with a South African bank whilst abroad and before your immigrantion to South Africa, you will need to pick up an application form from a branch of a South African bank (either in South Africa or in your home country). If you open an account by correspondence, it is likely you will need a reference from your bank, including a certified signature (or a signature witnessed by a solicitor or lawyer). You will also probably need a photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport and a rand draft to open the account.
 
All banks provide credit cards and debit cards to obtain cash throughout South Africa and also abroad.
 
Please be aware that daily withdrawals with an ATM card are generally limited to around R2,000 (€218) and unless your ATM cash with drawl fees are included in your monthly service fees you can pay ATM fees of anything from R1.50 per cash with drawl! South African banks are notorious for their high bank charges so be aware!
 
We at Foreign Language Placements also suggest taking note of this website hello peter where you can complain to the banks about their service.