Please note, at the outset: this is the opinion of the author, and is based on perceptions of dealing with the five major banks in South Africa. None of this information has been endorsed by any banking group, and it is not substantiated by any facts.
Which of the major banks in SA is the best, in terms of customer service and not taking too much money from you? Well, that is often based on personal experience and perception, but here are some guidelines:
First National Bank: made a big splash with eBucks and has successfully integrated the programme with a number of partners, so you can use them everywhere; excellent customer service, usually, and a modern bank with rewards for switching accounts; can be a bit on the pricey side as far as charges go; extra points for the fact that they are linked to PayPal for international sales (great for small local businesses). Rating: 6 ½ out of 10.
Standard Bank: also a fair focus on customer service; their rewards programme U Count is still very small compared to FNB; some people have experienced that that their Internet banking can be problematic and laden with red tape; low interest rates for savings and investment. Rating: 6 out of 10.
Absa: big and bulky, and over the years their service has declined, in my opinion; the best thing about Absa is the fact that they have ATMs everywhere, so it’s easy to draw money; quick and simple Internet banking; reasonable interest rate for savings; but that bad service brings them down! Rating: 5½ out of 10.
Nedbank: the green bank, their service leaves much to be desired too; excellent interest rates for savings, also with easy-to-use Internet banking; not always that easy to find an ATM; linked to Pick n Pay Go Banking has some advantages. Rating: 7 out of 10.
Capitec: the little bank that could!; they have tried hard to grow their offering over time; fair interest rate on savings, though not as good as Nedbank; pretty good service; as they grow so more ATMs and branches are popping up, but don’t expect to find them in upmarket areas too soon. Rating: 6 out of 10.