Top 7 Best Banks in South Africa for Foreigners & Residents

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Looking for the best banks in South Africa to open an account with either as a foreigner or esident? Look no further, as this post contains the top 10 banks in South Africa that you can bank with.

South Africa is a country that attracts a significant number of foreigners every year, whether for business, studies, or leisure. As a foreigner in South Africa, it is essential to know how to access financial services like opening a bank account.

Luckily, South Africa’s banking system is well-developed, and foreigners can open bank accounts with ease. In this article, we will look at the different types of bank accounts available for foreigners in South Africa, the requirements, and how to choose the right bank.

There are over 20 commercial banks operating in South Africa today. These banks are regulated by the National Credit Regulator (NCR).

The NCR was established in 1998 to regulate the activities of all financial service providers in South Africa.

Types of Bank Accounts for Foreigners in South Africa

Foreigners can open two types of bank accounts in South Africa: non-resident and resident bank accounts. The type of account you can open will depend on your visa status.

How to open Non-Resident Bank Account in South Africa

A non-resident bank account is for individuals who do not have permanent residency in South Africa. This type of account is ideal for foreigners who visit South Africa for short periods.

Non-resident accounts offer limited banking services, and the account holder cannot transact in South African Rand (ZAR). However, non-resident accounts can be used to transact in foreign currencies.

Resident Bank Account

A resident bank account is for individuals who have permanent or temporary residency status in South Africa.

This type of account is ideal for foreigners who plan to stay in South Africa for an extended period. Resident accounts offer full banking services, and the account holder can transact in ZAR and other currencies.

Requirements for Opening a Bank Account in South Africa

The requirements for opening a bank account in South Africa will depend on the type of account you want to open.

Non-Resident Bank Account Requirements: To open a non-resident bank account, you need a valid passport, proof of address, and proof of income. The proof of address can be a utility bill or a rental agreement, while the proof of income can be a salary slip or a bank statement from your home country.

Resident Bank Account Requirements: To open a resident bank account, you need a valid temporary or permanent residency visa, a South African ID or passport, proof of address, and proof of income. The proof of address can be a utility bill or a rental agreement, while the proof of income can be a salary slip or a bank statement from your employer.

Choosing the Right Bank in South Africa

South Africa has several banks to choose from, but as a foreigner, it is essential to choose a bank that meets your needs. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a bank in South Africa:

Bank Fees: Majority of South African banks charge account fees, transaction fees, and withdrawal fees. It is essential to choose a bank that offers competitive fees and charges.

Online Banking: Most South African banks offer online banking services that allow you to conduct several tasks, including checking statements, making payments, and applying for products such as foreign currency or additional accounts. Choose a bank that offers convenient online banking services.

Branch Network: South African banks have a wide network of branches that offer telephone and internet banking services. Choose a bank with a branch network that is convenient for you.

South Africa Banks for foreigners

The following are best banks for foreigners and residents in South Africa

1. Absa Bank

Absa bank is a South African based financial institution that offers banking services to individuals, small businesses, and corporate bodies.

It was established in April 1991 and is licensed by the Reserve Bank of South Africa (RBS). It operates under the umbrella of FirstRand Group Limited.

Absa bank provides its customers with various products and services including savings accounts, current accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages, home insurance, and investment services. Its headquarters are located at Sandton, Johannesburg.

Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (ABSA) was formerly known as Barclays Africa Group Limited

 2. Nedbank

Nedbank is a South African based multinational financial services company headquartered in Sandton, Gauteng. It is a subsidiary of ABSA Group Limited.

It is licensed by the National Credit Regulator (NCR) and is regulated by the Financial Services Board (FSB).

It operates in four segments namely Retail Banking, Corporate & Investment Banking, Wealth Management, and Insurance.

Its retail banking business includes savings accounts, current accounts and personal loans. Its corporate and investment banking segment includes asset management, treasury, risk management, capital markets, private equity, venture capital, and structured finance.

Its wealth management segment includes retirement planning, investment advice, and insurance. Its insurance segment includes general insurance, motor insurance, life insurance, and property and casualty insurance.

Headquarters: Sandton, South Africa

CEO: Michael William Thomas Brown (1 Mar 2010–)

Credit card support: 009 27 11 710 4330

Founded: 1 March 1888

Parent organization: NBS

Nedbank is a subsidiary of Nedgroup Investments, Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking

 3. Standard Bank

Standard Bank is one of the best banks in South Africa. It is a multi-national financial services provider providing value for many businesses and individuals all across South Africa.

Standard Bank is a subsidiary company of Barclays PLC. It is licensed by NCR and is regulated by FSB.

It operates in three segments namely Retail Banking, Business Banking, and Corporate & Investment Banking.

Its retail banking segment includes savings accounts, current account, personal loans, and mortgage lending. Its business banking segment includes trade finance, project finance, treasury, cash management, and payment solutions.

Its corporate and investment segment includes asset management, private equity, venture, and structured finance.

Headquarters: Johannesburg, South Africa

CEO: Lungisa Fuzile (15 Jan 2018–)

Credit card support: 009 27 86 120 1000

Founded: 15 October 1862

Founder: John Paterson

Standard Bank is a subsidiary of Liberty Holdings Limited, Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd

4. First National Bank

First National Bank is a South African owned financial services provider. It was founded in 1855 and is headquartered in Sandton, Johannesburg, Gauteng.

In addition to providing financial services, it also owns several companies such as First National Life Assurance Company, First National Trustee Company, First National Leasing Corporation, and First National Real Estate Investments.

FNB is licensed by RBA and is regulated by FNB Act No. 21 of 1998.

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5. Investec Bank

Investec Bank is one of the best financial services provider in South Africa. It offers a range of financial services including savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans, and insurance.

It is licensed by NCC and is regulated by FSMA. It operates in two segments namely Personal Banking and Commercial Banking.

Investec personal banking segment includes savings accounts and current accounts.

Its commercial banking segment includes loans, mortgages, and deposits.

6. Access Bank

Access Bank is one of the top rated international banks in South Africa that offers financial services to both individuals and businesses.

It was incorporated in 1995 and is headquartered in Sandhurst, KwaZulu-Natal.

It is licensed by ICASA and is regulated by FSC. It operates in five segments namely Consumer Banking, Small Medium Enterprise (SME), Merchant Banking, Asset Management, and Treasury.

Access Bank consumer banking segment includes savings accounts; current accounts; microfinance; and mobile money. Its SME segment includes loans, overdrafts, and merchant services.

Its merchant banking segment includes advisory, brokerage, and transaction processing. Its asset management segment includes fixed income, equities, and commodities.

Its treasury segment includes cash management, foreign exchange, and treasury operations.

7. Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Chartered Bank is a British multinational financial services corporation headquartered in London, United Kingdom.

It is the largest international bank in terms of assets and third largest in the world after State Street Bank and JPMorgan Chase.

It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It is a member of the Federal Reserve System and the World’s second-largest international bank.

It operates in over 50 countries worldwide including South Africa. It provides banking, securities, investments, and other financial services.


As a foreigner in South Africa, opening a bank account is essential to access financial services. Foreigners can open resident or non-resident bank accounts in South Africa, depending on their visa status.

To open a bank account, you need to meet the requirements and choose a bank that meets your needs. With the right bank account, you can easily transact and manage your finances in South Africa.

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About the Author: Femi Olawole

Femi Olawole is a seasoned blogger with interest on providing helpful Contents on online loan apps, Tech and Business.

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