There are six foreign-controlled banks in South Africa in addition to the fifteen local chains. They include:
- Absa (http://www.absa.co.za)
- Albaraka Bank (http://www.albaraka.co.za)
- Habib Overseas Bank (http://www.habiboverseas.co.za)
- HBZ Bank (http://www.hbzbank.co.za)
- Mercantile Bank (http://www.mercantile.co.za)
- South African Bank of Athens (http://www.bankofathens.co.za)
There are also individual branches of the following foreign banks in Cape Town:
- Deutsche Bank AG
The Water Club
Call 021 419 4235
Mandela Rhodes Place
Corner of Wale and Burg Street
Call 021 405 6500
These generally operate in much the same manner as local banks.
South African banks have primarily English speaking staff, and are about as sophisticated in terms of their facilities for online banking and international transfers as those in most first world nations. Intra-bank transfers can often be transacted instantly, whereas inter-bank transfers take two to three business days to be processed.
The retail market is dominated by the so-called ‘Big Four’, which includes Absa (one of the foreign banks listed above), First Rand/First National, Nedbank/Nedcor and Standard Bank. These banks have branded ATMs installed every few blocks in most business districts, and anyone who has their account with a different bank will be forced to pay much higher charges when making cash withdrawals. Additionally, these banks tend to offer the best rates, and to compete constantly to provide the best deals and services. For this reason, it’s usually worthwhile to shop around when looking to take out a new bank account.
The big chains have branches in most areas. Here I’ve listed their contact details and provided links to their branch and ATM locators. Unless otherwise stated, their open hours are 09:00–15:30, Monday to Friday, and 08:30-11:00 on Saturdays.
FNB (First National Bank)
- Visit https://www.fnb.co.za/contact-us/locators/branchLocator/frontEndEnh.html or call 0860 11 22 44 to find your nearest branch.
- Visit https://www.fnb.co.za/contact-us/locators/ATMLocator/frontEndEnh.html to locate an ATM.
ABSA (A foreign-controlled bank)
- Visit http://www.absa.co.za/absacoza/content.jsp?/Home/Personal/Banking-with-Us/Branch/Service-Locator to find your nearest branch.
- Visit http://www.absa.co.za/absacoza/content.jsp?/Home/Personal/Products-and-Services/Electronic-Services/Location-Based-Services to locate an ATM.
- Visit http://branchlocator.standardbank.co.za/branchlocator/ or call 0860 123 000 to find your nearest branch.
- Visit http://standardbank.mobi/locators/locators_home.jsp?msisdn=&networkId=-1&network=Unknown to locate an ATM.
- Visit http://www.nedbank.co.za/website/content/contacts/index.asp or call 0860 115 060 to find your nearest branch.
- Visit http://www.nedbank.co.za/website/content/contacts/index.asp to locate an ATM.
Open Hours: 08:30-16:00, Mondays and Fridays, 09:00-16:00 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 08:30-12:00 on Saturdays.