Banking fees: Why they’re charged and how they’re calculated


A bank is like any business – it has to pay salaries and other overheads, and physical branches (with rent, electricity and security expenses) can be especially expensive. That’s why banking fees for an over-the-counter deposit or withdrawal tend to be higher than if you do the same thing at an ATM, online or via a banking app. Take away the building and move to a virtual environment, and a lot of those running costs fall away.

There are still a few running costs left, and the fairest way to recoup these is by charging customers fees for their transactions. Even on an entry-level bank account, many banks charge you a monthly administration fee just to keep the account open, and then you pay a transaction fee for every withdrawal, deposit and transfer to boot. Those fees can add up quickly – steadily chipping away at the amounts in your accounts.

This, combined with the emergence of digital banks, which charge lower fees, has resulted in South African banks shifting towards lower fees in recent years. TymeBank, for example, is in fact reducing fees on transactions like debit orders and payments.


As a digital bank with kiosks, till point banking services and ATMs, TymeBank doesn’t have to support the expensive physical infrastructure of branches. In line with our mission to disrupt local banking, we charge no fee for opening an account and no monthly fee.

Everyday banking activities such as balance enquiries, debit card purchases and even local online purchases are free of charge, as are business banking activities like proof of account and beneficiary payment notifications.


In most cases where physical infrastructure is involved, TymeBank charges a nominal fee (R9 per R1 000 or part thereof for cash withdrawals at ATMs, for example). Similarly, costs (and charges) are usually incurred when third parties, vendors or disputes are involved. For example, an unsuccessful debit order dispute carries a cost of R60.

These costs are cheaper than those of most other leading South African banks, but if you don’t want to pay any fees at all, there are easy ways to do so. Instead of withdrawing cash from an ATM or bank, for example, make your payment via card or EFT.


Withdrawal fees have always been a grudge payment for banking customers, which is why South African banks have changed from a formula of charging a set fee plus a percentage of the amount withdrawn to a simple formula of a fixed fee per R100.

TymeBank, for example, now charges R9 per R1 000 or part thereof. That makes things a lot easier for customers, and it’s consistent with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority’s (FSCA) regulatory push to have banks treat customers fairly (TCF).

From a customer’s point of view, the best bank fees are the ones you don’t pay at all. That’s why the industry-wide move towards online and digital banking, where charges are lower, makes so much sense.


Open a TymeBank account here to get low fees, big rewards and up to 8% interest. With a TymeBank EveryDay account, there’s no monthly fee – just low pay-as-you-use charges.

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