Do you plan on visiting or relocating to South Africa? Are you wondering about the banking sector in the country and which banks you can choose? What are the requirements for opening an account in the country? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, this article is what you have been looking for. South Africa has a very robust financial sector, so you need not be worried about keeping your money safe while in the country.  

What banks are in South Africa? 

So, what are some of the major banks that are in the country. Which banks are the biggest and which ones should you opt for? Read on to find out; 

Standard Bank

Standard Bank is the biggest bank in South Africa in terms of capitalization. At the moment, Standard Bank is capitalized to the tune of around 17.6 billion United States Dollar. 

The bank has over 1,143 branches around South Africa, meaning wherever you go, you will be able to find a place that can serve your needs. 

Opening an account with Standard Bank is fairly straightforward. You can do it either online or at your nearest branch. Here are the requirements for opening a Standard Bank account for foreigners.

Capitec Bank

Standard Bank may be the biggest bank in South Africa when it comes to market capitalization, but the biggest in terms of customers is Capitec. This is a bank that has really bought banking to the masses in the country. 

Wherever you go in South Africa, you will be able to find a Capitec branch. Capitec currently has over 20 million customers. That's an amazing figure, considering that Standard Bank has about 10 million customers. 

Capitec is everywhere, but the high number of customers could be a problem. As a foreigner, you may not be willing to wait in long lines to get service. So, you may wish to choose Standard Bank over Capitec. 

The good thing about Capitec is that it does have a very robust mobile platform, which virtually eliminates the need to visit a nearby branch. You can manage your phones from the comfort of your home or office using the Global One app. 


Nedbank is another major bank in South Africa. At the moment, this bank has over 7.3 million customers across the country. Nedbank has about 538 branches in various cities and towns around South Africa. 

One thing to note about Nedbank is that the bank has been placing emphasis on boosting its online operations as a way of reducing its branch footprint. But is this bank good for foreigners who are looking to open bank accounts in South Africa? 

The answer is yes. Nedbank is definitely a very good bank. You won't get the overwhelming crowdedness feeling that you get with Capitec when you open an account with Nedbank. 

Tyme Bank

TymeBank is an interesting bank. It's the only one in South Africa that's purely digital. It means you won't get physical bank branches with TymeBank. 

That may or may not be a good thing. TymeBank is confident that you will be able to get all your queries answered without having to visit a branch. 

The advantage of being solely digital is that TymeBank is a cheaper bank to bank with. They save money by not having physical branches, and they pass on the savings to their customers. 

What do I need to open a bank account in South Africa? 

Those are some of the banks that you can opt for when you come down to South Africa. But what are some of the requirements when it comes to opening a bank account? The good news is that these requirements are fairly standard across the board. 

First, you need to provide a copy of your passport. Locals are required to submit copies of their bank national IDs. You also need to have an opening fee that varies from bank to bank. Another requirement for foreigners is that they present proof that they are in the country legally. 

That can be in the form of a work permit. It can also be in the form of a residency permit. Asylum documents are also accepted. Finally, you also need to present proof of address when opening a bank account in South Africa.