The best bank savings account rates

Given the uncertain state of our current economic climate, the idea of saving may seem illusory but despite your earnings and how much remains at the end of the month, the motivation to save should be fundamental.

Opening a savings account allows you to earn interest on your money. That being said, you must keep in mind that banks have a range of savings accounts, each offering different fees and benefits. Moneybags writer, Alina Hardcastle compares savings account to see which of the four banks offer the highest interest rate with the lowest fees.

The comparison

In the tables below, we look at the basic fees structure of Nedbank, First National Bank (FNB), Absa and Standard Bank’s 32-day notice account and tax-free savings account offerings. We compare the monthly minimum deposit amount, the minimum balance and the interest rates.

These accounts were chosen as they are standard across all the banks compared. Keep in mind that there are other features and benefits available in addition to those compared here that are unique to each account.

Tax-free savings account offerings

As you can see below, none of the banks charge fees to manage a tax-free savings account for existing customers.

The minimum account balance required varies at each bank. FNB and Absa require a minimum deposit of R1000 with no further investment required. In comparison, Standard Bank and Nedbank offer a lower lump sum with recurring investment, at R250 a month and R50 a month respectively.

Tax-free saving account rates per annum

In respect of interest rates, if you have a high account balance of R20 000, FNB will offer you a better interest rates compared to the other banks. However, if you have lower account balance, Nedbank and Standard Bank offer a more competitive rate. Nedbank offers 6.25% with a minimum account balance of R50; and Standard Bank offers the highest interest rate for those who have account balances between R5000 and R24 999.

While Absa appears to have the highest maximum interest of 7.5%, it doesn’t accommodate those who have a lower account balance. Absa, when compared to the other banks, offers the lowest interest rate (4%) if you hold an account balance of R1000 to R14 999 in your savings account.

32-day notice savings account offerings

Like tax free savings accounts, none of the banks charge a monthly management fee on a 32-day notice account.

You’ll also notice that once again, FNB and Absa require a minimum deposit of R1000 without further investment; and Standard Bank and Nedbank offer a lower minimum deposit with recurring investments.

32-day notice savings account rates per annum

Based on the information below and above, it appears that Nedbank offers the lowest account balance limit of R250 and offers the highest interest rate earning opportunity compared to the other banks. Although, achieving the highest interest rate of 7.35% may not be that easy due to the balance that you need to attain in order to earn it.

FNB and Absa offer the same minimum interest rate of 6%, however, a higher balance of R1 000 needs to be achieved and maintained, compared to Nedbank’s balance of R250.

And while FNB and Absa both offer the same minimum interest rate, FNB provides a more competitive offering with a maximum interest rate of 7.1% for higher balances.


Ultimately, we all have different goals, income and requirements. Accordingly, it’s important to choose a savings account that caters to your specific needs. If your account balance is under R15 000 and you are looking to open tax-free savings account and 32-day notice account, Nedbank may be a more suitable choice for you with a minimum deposit of R50 and 6.25% interest rate for a savings account and minimum deposit of R250 and 4.35% interest rate for a 32-day notice savings account. However, if you have an account balance over R20 000, FNB offers the preferable interest rate.

*The above information was accurate as of 23 May 2017. The figures are subject to change at the banks’ discretion.