September 11, 2011

The Bank We Should Have Chosen

I have Jozie Days, one of my readers, to thank for the following insight on choosing the right bank in South Africa. It sounds almost too good to be true, compared to the rather bad and expensive service we get with the bank we - not knowing any better - chose. So I'm hoping some of you future expats will read this and give Investec a try:
"We were lucky when we came to SA. I went to Standard Bank and they were very unhelpful ( like most of the banks in SA) They gave me piles of forms to fill in and were generally difficult. The thought of opening an account filled me with dread and despair. Then one of my husband's work mates told us about Investec. They are brilliant. They deliver our foreign currency for holidays and business trips. They deliver credit cards, petrol cards etc. We have a personal banker who is exclusively assigned to us, she sorts out any problems. We have a reasonable monthly bank charges fee. You can draw cash from any ATM without being charged. The only down side is that they don't have cheque books (which is actually a positive for me as I hate trying to balance my cheque book). They do not have any retail outlets - but deposits can be made at ABSA."


@injoburg said...

We have Standard Bank which - once you have gone through all the tiring paperwork - is pretty good. Foreigners should note that banks sometimes refuse services if you don't have the right type of SA visa.
By the way, I think cheque books have been eradicated from most countries by now as it's prone to fraud and is costly for admin - and in SA many places refuse cheques anyway for this reason. In my home country the Netherlands cheques were replaced by electronic payments sometime in the mid-1980s. Bringing a cheque to a bank there incurs great hilarity from the staff and very high charges to cash the damn thing!

Sine said...

Very true. I think the only country where checks are still used regularly by everyone is the United States. It's kind of funny how a country where the iPad was born also still insists on hanging on to hand-written checks. It's almost as if your milk was still delivered by the milkman, isn't it?

W. A. Jeffrey said...

Regarding checks, I think a lot of it has to do with what you know and are used to. American banks would love to phase out checks I would assume but can't because there are so many businesses using them. That is the kicker. According to a Wall Street Journal article from last year reported that businesses still use checks for about half of their transactions (down from 74% in 2007). My guess is that it is business banking rather than personal banking that accounts for the bulk of checks used in the USA.