Opening a bank account
A bank account is something that we like to take for granted. Having a bank account in your country of origin is probably very simple. However, banks around the world do not all operate in the same manner, and so opening an account in South Africa may or may not be a foreign experience. Provided below is some advice on opening an account in South Africa.
The type of bank account that you will be able to open in South Africa depends on the type of permit that you have been issued with. For example, if you only have a tourist visa, you will only be able to open an account for non-residents, which is typically limited to receiving funds from abroad and withdrawals. Exceptions may be made to this rule, however. It is only once you have obtained a residence permit that you will be able to open a resident’s account.
Before you approach a bank, you should do some research on the phone. By law, South African banks are required to ask you for proof of identity and your residential address. So, you will have to provide your passport and proof of address for the bank’s scrutiny. You may also have to make an opening deposit of a significant amount.
Opening an account for your business in South Africa should not be a problem, as your company will be registered in South Africa and will be seen as its own legal entity. Make sure that you are able to provide the bank with the founding documents of the company, as well as proof of the company’s operating address. However, these documents should be on hand after obtaining your business permit.
In general, when opening an account you will need to be present in person at the bank. You cannot open an account over the phone or via e-mail, and as stated previously your documentation must be correct, as required by South African law.
The South African banking scene is dominated by five large commercial and retail banks. The purpose of this article is not to suggest a particular bank, since their product ranges and fee structures tend to be very similar. So, provided below is a list of the contact details of each bank, for your convenience.
Standard Bank (South Africa)
0860 123 000
0860 555 111
0860 008 600
First National Bank (FNB)
0860 11 22 44
0860 10 20 43