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Opening a Bank Account

Find out what is required to open a bank account in South Africa...

Bank accounts in South Africa can be set up as a resident or non-resident. Applicants need to be over 18 years of age in order to open a bank account in South Africa. South African nationals must provide some form of official identification to open an account. Major banks have branches in most cities and towns throughout the country.

Opening a resident bank account

To open a resident bank account as a foreign national, it is necessary to:

  • Declare all the funds or foreign assets brought into the country
  • Complete the Foreign National Declaration and Confirmation of Employment by a South African Employer form
  • Provide a written declaration that foreign assets will not be given to a third party resident in South Africa
  • Provide the bank with copies of:
    • Valid passport
    • Work or study permit
    • Proof of address in South Africa such as utility bill
    • Copies of recent statements from bank in the home country or solid evidence of banking history

Bank accounts may be opened from abroad; however the application form and any accompanying declarations must be accompanied by a certified signature (from either a lawyer or solicitor).

It is possible to open a bank account without current employment and without depositing any money, however quarterly maintenance fees may apply. Details are available from individual banks.

Opening a non-resident bank account

It is easy to open a savings bank account as a non-resident in South Africa. Some exchange control rules and regulations may apply, however. For example:

  • Non-resident accounts may only be funded by foreign currencies, and documentary evidence may be required to prove this (some exceptions to this may apply - details are available from individual banks)
  • Non-residents may be asked to prove that they are bona fide non-residents
  • When opening a multi-currency account as a non-resident a Rand account must also be opened
  • All foreign funds deposited in a South African non-resident account can be remitted abroad at any time provided the transactions are within the South African Reserve Bank (SARB)

To open a non-resident account it is necessary to:

  • Provide at least the minimum opening deposit
  • Have a certified copy of your passport authenticated at your overseas branch
  • Provide at bank statements for at least three months Provide proof of income

For more information about exchange control rules and regulations; refer to the South Africa Reserve Bank (SARB). For details: Click here.

Credit Ratings

It is normal when opening a bank account in South Africa to consent to a credit check. Private credit checks are also available for a small fee at one of South Africa's two major credit bureaus - Experian and Trans Union. The Credit Information Ombud, which is an independent association reporting to an industry council, can assist with any credit problems.

  • To contact the Credit Information Ombud: Click here
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