The best business bank for small businesses – a comparison

Which bank has the best business account for your small business? Here you will find a comparison between business banking accounts for those starting or with a frugal small business. Unfortunately, there’s not a one-size-fits-all. Small business bank accounts come with multiple options, permutations, small requirements and features. For example, my business has two shareholders and directors – me and my wife. When I opened my FNB Gold Business Account, we had to take quite some time to set up the Internet banking to our preference But once set up, it’s working like a dream. But, having the option to make changes to our account is invaluable.

But this bank account isn’t for everyone. There are many options to fit everyone’s pocket.

Understanding Your Business’s Banking Requirements

Starting out, most businesses need to have only basic features. However, as businesses grow, their demand for new features/red tape grows accordingly. For example, initially, you might do all the EFT payments yourself. But as soon as you hire an accountant, you might need to approve any payments that are loaded on Internet banking. I don’t want to focus on the complexities and added features for this article but on the simple day-to-day banking.

What are the most important features?

For this article, we will have the following features as a baseline (other than having a current account):

  • Debit cards/card swipes – You need to be able to buy stock, take out a client for dinner or buy coffee for Frugal
  • Debit Orders: Whether you need to pay a utility bill, settle a cellphone account or pay a monthly server hosting package, you have to stay afloat.
  • EFT Payments – pay invoices!
  • Deposits and (some) additional services – although most people (like me) only work with EFTs and cards, many small businesses still work in cash. Cash handling fees and deposit fees can eat into your profits.

Finding the Perfect Fit in Business Banking

I am basing my comparison on these specific requirements: individual debit cards for each team member, 20 card swipes per month, 5 debit orders per month, 5 EFT payments per month with notifications, and regular deposits.

As you might be just starting out and want to cut out all the clutter, we’ll first do a side-by-side comparison of the simplest business bank accounts in South Africa – Bank Zero, TymeBank and Capitec. We will then compare the bigger banks – FNB, ABSA, Nedbank and Standard Bank.

Simple Business Banking

Bank Zero Business Banking

Bank Zero is an exclusively digital mutual bank. It offers a business account with zero monthly fees and no charges for various transactions.

As you might need approvals in your small business, you can set it up for up to three levels within a few clicks. Debit cards, swipes and debit orders and EFTs are all free, making it a very cost-effective way to do business.

With easy integration into Xero and Ikhoka – you’ll find it easy to reconcile your transactions.

TymeBank business account

TymeBank Business Account is also mostly digital, with some ATMs scattered at big Pick n Pays. They push for businesses and individuals to work well with their finances and offer interest of up to 11% interest a year. All the expected features are also there.

Capitec Business Account

Capitec has grown fast over the last few years and therefore is not a small player in the field anymore. The Capitec Business Account is proof of this, offering a free virtual card for online transactions and Zzro fees on local card payments. However, there are minimal payments on other services and a monthly account fee.

A fee comparison of Capitec, TymeBank and BankZero

FeatureMonthly Account fee Debit Card Debit Orders EFT payments 
Bank zero R0FreeFreeFree
TymeBank Business R0FreeR3Free
Capitec business account R50 FreeR3.50R1-R2

Big banks comparison for small business accounts

Traditional banks like Absa, FNB, Nedbank, and Standard Bank also offer tailored business account options with varying features and fees. This is ideal for a growing business that needs features other than the normal card swipes and EFTs. However, it does include those too!

FNB Gold Business Account

The FNB Gold Business Account caters to businesses with a turnover of up to R5 million per annum. It provides essential banking services and features such as earning eBucks Rewards for Business, 24/7 support through the Business Desk, digital banking via the FNB app, and instant solutions like Instant Accounting and Instant Invoicing. For the first six months, there is no monthly fee.

ABSA Business Account

ABSA offers a range of business account options to meet diverse needs. These include Business Evolve Lite with unlimited internal money transfers and debit orders, Business Evolve Start offering 50 free transactions and streamlined cash flow, and Business Evolve PAYT with pay-as-you-transact pricing tiers. Monthly fees vary based on the selected package, ranging from R0 to R300.

Standard Bank Business Current Account

Standard Bank’s Business Current Account allows 24/7 money management and transactions through digital channels. Key features include secure electronic transfers, pre-paid purchases and payments, business lending solutions, and access to point-of-sale devices. The monthly fee is R85, which may vary based on the annual turnover.

Nedbank Business Account

Nedbank Business offers a variety of business accounts tailored to different needs (as they do). These include the Startup Bundle for sole business owners with less than R3 million turnover per year, Business Pay-as-you-use ideal for those starting out or with lower transaction volumes, and Business Bundle options with varying transaction limits. Monthly fees range from R0 to R450 depending on the chosen package.

Interestingly, Nedbank charges an annual card service fee of R196.

Side-by-side comparison of Nedbank, Standard Bank, ABSA and FNB Business Banking

BankMonthly FeeAirtime Purchases Feecard swipes Cash Withdrawals 
FNB Gold business account R85-R373R2.70R3.68 R2.30 per R100
ABSA business account(evolve lite)R0R12.50Limited to
15 transactions
per monthly *
3 free transactions < R3 000, then R2.40/R100 or part thereof at ABSA ATM
Standard Bank’s current business account R6.95R0.60R4.50R2.40 per R100 or part thereof at Standard Bank ATM
Nedbank Pay as you use business account R70R1,50R3,50R2,65 per R100 or part thereof at Nedbank ATM
* Total number of these transactions is limited to 15 and will incur extra fees after this.
BankCash deposits bank statements fees EFTsInternal Debit orders external Debit orders 
FNB Gold business account R4.65 + R1.20 per R100Free (up to 12 historical stamped statements)
R12.60 per statement thereafter
ABSA business account(evolve lite)R 42 – 64 minimum, plus R9.60 and 1.7%-2.35%Free eStatements, R85.00 at branchLimited to
15 transactions
per month*
Limited to
15 transactions
per month*
Standard Bank’s current business account R4.80 + R1.20 per R100R200R8.50R5.50 R19
Nedbank Pay as you use business account R9,40 plus R2,25 per R100 or part thereofeStatements free, other R 11 – R45R8,35R2R15
* Total number of these transactions is limited to 15 and will incur extra fees after this.


I cannot deny how expensive some of these bank accounts are. It’s like little fees keep compounding. However, I am surprised by the competitiveness of Bank Zero and TymeBank. Their free debit cards and cost-effective transaction options make it highly appealing for those starting on their business journey.

Happy banking!


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