cheapest way to draw cash

What is the cheapest way to draw cash?

Posted  January 6, 2015

While money transfers and digital payments are on the rise, cash is still king for many South Africans. As much as you might prefer to pay with cash, do you know the cheapest way to get it out of your bank account and into your wallet?

Please note that the purpose of this blog post is not to identify the cheapest bank or account, but rather to show you a comparison of the costs of withdrawing and depositing cash through the various different transaction points.

As a starting point, we’ve taken a cross-section of different accounts at three South African banks to show you the comparative costs of carrying out some basic transactions:

Absa Flexi AccountCheque deposit, branch counter: R16

Cheque deposit, ATM: no charge

Cash deposit, branch counter: R7,00 + R1,45/R100

Cash deposit, ATM: R3,00 + R1,30/R100

Cash withdrawal, branch counter: R40,00 + R1,50/R100

Cash withdrawal, ATM: R3,95 + R1,30/R100

Cash withdrawal, other bank’s ATM: Starting at R9.95, R22.45 for R1 000

Cash withdrawal, point of sale: R3,95

Standard Bank Consolidator Current AccountCheque deposit, branch counter: R23,75 per cheque

Cheque deposit, ATM: R19,00 per cheque

Cash deposit, branch counter: R9,00 + 1.25% of value

Cash deposit, ATM: R3,50 + 1.20% of value

Cash withdrawal, branch counter: R28,00 + 1.25% of value

Cash withdrawal, ATM: R3,25 + 1.15% of value

Cash withdrawal, other bank’s ATM: not listed

Cash withdrawal, point of sale: R4

FNB Easy AccountCheque deposit, branch counter: R 20.00 (per deposit)

Cheque deposit, ATM: R 20.00 (per deposit)

Cash deposit, branch counter: 1.51% of total deposit (min charge R43)

Cash deposit, ATM: R4.55

Cash withdrawal, branch counter: R43 plus handling fee calculated on value

Cash withdrawal, ATM: R4.55 per R1 000 (Max R9.10)

Cash withdrawal, other bank’s ATM: R9.10

Cash withdrawal, point of sale: FREE

The conclusions we can reach
While the fees vary considerably between the different banks and account types, we find that the order of most expensive to cheapest ways of drawing cash is always the same. We can draw the following conclusions:

  • It is always cheaper to transact at an ATM than at your branch, for both deposits and withdrawals.
  • It is always more expensive to use another bank’s ATM than your own bank’s.
  • However, it is still cheaper to use another bank’s ATM for a withdrawal than to withdraw the cash at your own bank’s branch counter.
  • The final and possibly the most surprising conclusion about the cost of cash is that it is cheaper to draw money with a bank card from a point-of-sale unit at a participating retailer than it is to draw cash anywhere else. (Participating retailers include Pick n Pay, Shoprite Checkers and Spar)
  • Note that some banks offer a limited number of free withdrawals on certain accounts, so use those first if you have the option.

Accessing your money should cost you as little as possible. Once you are aware of the relative costs of withdrawing cash, make sure that you get it the cheapest way possible, every time.

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