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Best online Banks in South Africa

Almost 100 million people in Africa do not have a bank account. That’s a pretty big number. The banking market in Africa is starting to open up, and South Africa is not far behind. The mobile apps of traditional banks came out, and digital banks also started to pop up.

In the past few years, we’ve looked at, used, and reviewed dozens of banks to find the best ones around the world. Because of this, we can give you this overview of the digital banking market in South Africa.

Even though all of the big banks have mobile apps, that is not the same as digital banking because they are all traditional banks with hundreds of locations.

Instead, we’re putting our attention on banks that offer the best value to the people of RSA and are completely independent.

Let’s explore the best online banks in South Africa.


Best online Banks in South Africa

Bank Zero - logo

Bank Zero

  • Launches in 2021
  • Accounts for personal and business use
  • Almost no fees
  • Secure credit cards with patents

Bank Zero was supposed to open in 2019, but it has been delayed a few times and is still not available to the public. People can sign up for their waitlist because the digital challenger should open any minute now.

Bank Zero is a digital mutual bank that is run by your phone. It is owned by 45% black people and 20% women. Once it’s up and running, it will offer a bank account with no monthly fees and a unique, patented credit card that was made in partnership with Mastercard to protect customers from skimming.

“A simple and modern app-driven bank for both individuals and businesses, with a new way of looking at banking, focused on solving real banking problems you face every day,” is what they say they will offer.

Mashreq Neo is one of the best online-only banks in the United Arab Emirates. This online bank was launched in 2017 by Mashreq Bank, which is based in Dubai. It has a wide range of services to meet the needs of modern banking. In 2020, World Finance said that Mashreq Neo was the best mobile banking app in the Middle East.

With a focus on security, Mashreq Neo makes it easy and safe to bank. With a simple sign-up process and advanced security features, users of a digital bank account will be able to start using it right away. This is true for any type of account, from a current account to a savings, salary, or investment account.

Mashreq Neo customers can get up to 350 AED back in cash during their first 90 days with the bank, and a MaxSaver account can earn 1.1% interest. This digital bank isn’t just for banking. From the same digital platform, you’ll be able to invest in gold, foreign currency, and stocks. This is the best kind of digital ease!

Once a user has set up a Mashreq Neo account online, they can use the official app to manage their money digitally. Both the Apple App Store and the Google Play app store have the Mashreq Neo app.

Bettr bank - logo


  • Still in beta
  • Targets the new generation
  • No monthly charges
  • Budgeting and analytics
  • Savings account
  • Sign up via WhatsApp

In 2015, Tobie van Zyl (CEO), Andrzej Stempowski, and Angus Brown started Bettr Finance. It’s a new banking app that’s aimed at Gen Z and Millennials and will come out this year.

Bettr‘s headquarters are in Cape Town, and their goal is “to be the only account you start and finish your financial life with.”

It looks like they have already signed up more than 6,500 people through WhatsApp.

Van Zyl, who started the company and is now its CEO, is not new to fintech. He has started a number of businesses, such as the money management apps MoneySmart and Bsavi and the company that helps people improve their credit score, Credit Crunch.

SOL Wallet bank - logo

SOL Wallet

  • Simple to start online
  • No hidden fees
  • SOL card is R25 per month
  • No fees for prepaid electricity or airtime
  • Chat support is available 24/7.

A South African neobank called SOL Wallet, SOLmate, or SOL Card offers a digital account with both a physical and a digital card. It’s all done online, and you can get paid, buy prepaid electricity, and airtime without paying any fees.

There are no hidden fees with the account, but it does cost R25 per month and R9.99 per card load. Transfers between Sol Wallet users are free, as are EFT deposits to SOL accounts and swiping at any SA store.

Spot Bank - logo


  • No fees every month
  • Cashback rewards
  • Pay by scanning any QR code.
  • No monthly fees
  • Insurance
  • Loans
  • Scan any QR code to pay

Spot Money was started in the year 2020, and its main office is in Cape Town. They have digital accounts with no monthly fees and an app you can use to get a free Mastercard.

But you can also shop online safely at any store in South Africa with your virtual cards.

You can add money to your Spot account with EFT, Ozow Instant EFT, or by putting your salary in it.

Spot’s marketplace also has loans and insurance from some of the best financial service companies. Interest rates depend on your credit score, and you can pay back the loan in as little as one month or as long as seven years.

On the insurance marketplace, you can get life cover, life and funeral cover, and car insurance.

Tyme Bank - logo


  • Simple to start online
  • Low costs
  • There are no branches, but a lot of kiosks.
  • Accounts for personal and business use
  • Get paid early
  • Free Rewards with a Visa card
  • Up to 8% interest on savings

In RSA, where big banks had been in charge for too long, TymeBank brought much-needed simplicity to banking. Already, more than three million people have signed up online or at one of their well-known kiosks.

The challenger bank has an account with no monthly fees. The Visa debit card and the TymeBank app are also free. The first deposit at a till point, cash withdrawals with a TymeCode or card at PnP and Boxer till points, and transfers between TymeBank accounts are all free.

One of their best products is GoalSave, which lets you earn up to 8% interest if your paycheck goes straight into your TymeBank account and you let them know 10 days before you want to take your money out.

At any time, you can close the savings account and put the money back into your main account.

Benefits of online Banks in South Africa

There are a lot of benefits to mobile banks, which may or may not be the same for each bank on the market. Since no bank is the same in the end, some offer more benefits than others.

The main things that are good about best online banks:

  • Low fees to none
  • Convenience
  • Budgeting and analytics
  • Easy to apply
  • Travel features
  • Cashback

Challenger banks don’t charge much or anything for their personal and business accounts. Almost all day-to-day banking fees are gone, and you can go about your day using your card without paying any fees on the spot or at the end of the month.

Mobile or digital banks are also very easy to get in South Africa. You can have a digital bank account and all the benefits that come with it in just a few minutes.

You don’t have to go to a bank and wait in line to talk to a teller. You can do everything from your own home.

Because digital banks don’t have physical locations, they save money on expensive overhead costs, which they pass on to their customers in the form of higher savings rates.

Online banks are also good for traveling, as many people have found out. If you use your mobile banking app or card outside of the country, you’ll pay less to make transactions or get money out of an ATM.

It’s easy to get rewards and points from online banks when you buy groceries and gas online or in stores. To get perks, you don’t have to have an expensive credit card from a big bank.

And last but not least, there are features for budgeting and analytics. With these tools, you can see exactly where your money goes every month. Where is the most money going out of your account? See, understand, and change things to try to save more money each month for the things that really matter.

You can choose one of the best online banks in South Africa.

Drawbacks of online banks in South Africa

Digital banks aren’t perfect either, just like everything else. There are a few bad things about digital banks in RSA, such as:

Fewer financial products and better customer service
Customer service is an important part that many businesses, even ones that have been around for a long time, can’t get right. When there aren’t enough customer service reps, it’s easy to get angry. You can wait on the phone for a couple of hours to get to the front of the line.

Mobile bank apps do have a chat feature, but that isn’t always the best way to get help.

Online banks in South Africa also don’t offer their customers a lot of financial products. Most of the time, this is because digital banks are still pretty new, and making new financial products and services takes time, money, and a lot of knowledge. They also sell to younger people who don’t need products with more features.

How safe is digital banking?

Many people still think digital banks are unsafe and don’t trust them. You have to remember that cybercriminals are always trying to steal money from banks, so digital banks often have to be on the cutting edge of security and technology.

To stay safe, they have to hire the best people in the field. High-tech security features of digital banks can be seen in the signup process, where fingerprint scanning, voice recognition, and facial recognition are used to verify the identities of customers before they are approved.

They also have features that let customers freeze and unfreeze their money right away. This gives customers peace of mind about the safety of their money.

Your money is kept in a safe custody account at a bank. This account is governed by the Banks Act and supervised by the Financial Services Compliance Authority (FSCA).

South Africa doesn’t have a deposit insurance scheme (DIS) right now, but it looks like one is being made. It seems like it should cover deposits up to R100,000.

In the past, when depositors lost money, the government paid them back on a case-by-case basis. But this isn’t just a problem for digital banks; it’s a problem for all banks.

How to start using online banking

The best thing about banks that only work online is that most online accounts can be opened in 5–10 minutes or even less. Choose the best online bank in South Africa, go to the site of your mobile bank and click or tap “Get started.” You can also get the banking app yourself by going to Google Play or Apple’s App store.

To get FICA verified and have your account turned on, you need to have a South African ID. You’ll also need to write down your name, last name, ID number, job title, and address. Enter your South African cell phone number and email address before that.

Most banks only let people over the age of 18 open an online bank account. But some do let people as young as 16 in.

The bottom line

South Africa’s banking market has started to wake up, but it still has a long way to go. The more competition there is, the better for the people of RSA.

We’ve come a long way since the days when just having a bank account cost a lot. So it’s not surprising that so many people still don’t have a bank account.

Luckily, that started to change when digital banks started popping up and letting people open bank accounts with their phones that had almost no fees.

Best online banks in South Africa are needed for the well being of the banking industry. 

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