Get Savvy on Student Banking

student bank account

Find out how to open a budget-friendly student bank account in SA.

Being a student comes with certain advantages. Flashing that student card of yours can get you a whole range of discounts, like paying less at some cinemas, or taking on a gym membership at a fraction of the normal price. Yes, your student status can be one hell of a charmer.

One of the most convenient benefits of being a student is that you can open a student bank account, which means that you have fewer restrictions and generally pay fewer banking fees each month.

So, how to move forward from that piggy bank you have at home…

Requirements for Opening a Student Bank Account in SA

Every bank has its own specific requirements that you need to meet in order to be eligible for their student account. Even though these requirements may differ slightly from bank to bank (make sure to check with each bank), they generally require you to:

  • be between 18 and 25 years old
  • be a registered full-time student (be able to provide proof of admission and/or registration)
  • be studying towards a degree or diploma
  • not be working a full-time job

When you go to the bank to open an account, you need to meet with a consultant who will set up your account. Make sure to bring along the following documents:

Local students:

  • valid proof of admission and/or registration at your tertiary institution
  • valid South African ID
  • proof of residence

International Students:

  • valid passport
  • valid study permit (and/or permanent resident certificate)
  • valid proof of admission and/or registration at your tertiary institution

To be double sure you have all the right documents, or if you have any other questions related to which documents you need, you can call the banks prior to popping in.

Choosing the Right Account

In order to find the best bank for you, you need to consider various fees, and see which student account is most suitable for your budget and general banking needs. You need to consider aspects like the monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees, electronic transfer fees, etc.

Important: When browsing the different accounts, try to think ahead! Think about which services you will be using most, and how frequently. This can have a big impact on your total banking fees!

Find out some of the specs for student accounts at SA’s leading banks below:

1. Nedbank Dezign Student AccountNedbank

  • Fixed monthly fee: R18
  • Minimum balance to have in your account: R20
  • Cash withdrawals: free
  • Cash deposits: R6 or less (for every R100 or part thereof)
  • Electronic transfers: free

For more info on the Dezign Account, follow this link or call 0860 555 111

2. FNB Student Account                                                                                                                  fnb logo

You have two options here. Either you pay a fixed monthly fee of R24.50, or you pay-as-you-go for the different services that you use (for this option, you need to have a minimum of R500 in your account, and you might end up spending over R24.50 each month).

  • Fixed monthly fee: R24.50
  • Minimum balance to have in your account: none
  • Cash withdrawals (ATM): first 4 free (thereafter R6.70 for every R500)
  • Cash deposits (ATM): R5.50 per deposit (if the total amount of the deposit exceeds R500, you also pay 0.7% of the total deposit value)
  • Electronic transfers: free

For more information on the FNB Student Account, follow this link and scroll down to the Student Account section or call 087 575 9404

3. ABSA Student Silver Accountabsa

  • Fixed monthly fee: R17.50
  • Minimum balance to have in your account: none
  • Cash withdrawals (ATM): R3 for every withdrawal + R1.30 for every R100
  • Cash deposits (ATM): R3 for every deposit + R1.30 for every R100
  • Electronic transfers: free

For more information on the Silver Account, follow this link and scroll down to page 45 or call 0860 100 372

4. Standard Bank Student Achiever Accountstandard bank

  • Fixed monthly fee: free (R59 per month if you are 23 or older)
  • Minimum balance to have in your account: none
  • Cash withdrawals (ATM): first 2 free per month (thereafter R4 + 1.15% of amount)
  • Cash deposits (ATM): first 2 free per month (thereafter R4 + 1.15% of amount)
  • Electronic transfers: first 8 free per month (thereafter R25 for another 8, and so on)

For more information on the Silver Account, follow this link or call 0860 123 000

5. Capitec Savings Accountcapitec

Capitec does not have a student account per se, but it has a great Savings Account option that is also open to students. The fees are very low, but take into consideration that Capitec is less spread out than the other banks (fewer ATMs, etc.)

  • Fixed monthly fee: R25 (R5 for maintenance, R20 for card to stay active)
  • Minimum balance to have in your account: R25
  • Cash withdrawals (ATM): R5 per withdrawal (or withdraw at Pick ‘n Pay for R1.25 per withdrawal)
  • Cash deposits (cash-accepting ATM): R0.70 per R100
  • Electronic transfers: R1.50 per transfer

For more information on Capitec’s Saving Accounts, follow this link and look at the Rates and Fees section or call 0860 10 20 43

My Tips

  • Ask your friends who have student accounts which bank they are with, and what works and doesn’t work for them about their account.
  • Stick to your own bank’s service facilities. For example, if you are with Nedbank, try to stick to Nedbank ATMs. Otherwise things can get quite pricey!
  • Get to know the world of cellphone banking and banking apps for quick and convenient ways to check your account balances or make payments.
  • Once you have opened your student account, see how you can improve your budgeting skills to avoid collecting long-lost cents from under your sofa to buy the last groceries for the month… otherwise you might be stuck with oats and water for a while…

EduConnect 2cents

It is important that you are happy with your account. Take the time to investigate which one will work best for you, and weigh out the different aspects before you make your final choice. And if you end up unsatisfied with the account you chose – don’t worry! You can always switch banks.

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