Bank accounts for South Africa’s wealthy – what they offer

Discovery’s recent financial results show how it is carving into South Africa’s affluent market, accounting for a 20% market share of people who earn R100,000 or more each month.

Despite some banks targeting the low to the middle-income bracket in recent years with low-cost or zero-fee accounts like Nedbank’s MobiMoney or Standard Banks MyMo Account, the country’s thinning, but high income bracket remains a lucrative pool for many banks, including Discovery.

Discovery Bank, which launched in mid-2019, has the highest barrier of entry bank account among all other retail banks called the ‘Discovery Bank Purple Suite’.

The qualifying income for a prospective cardholder is no less than R2.5 million annually, which is equivalent to a monthly salary of just over R208,000.

Discovery’s brochure outlines that the Purple Suite offers bespoke features and rewards for high net worth individuals. Rewards include up to 75% off on local and international flights, free international travel insurance, unlimited airport lounge visits, and faster security clearance at OR Tambo or Cape Town international airports.

Discovery’s interim financial results for the period December 2021 showed that the bank continued to gain traction with 385,200 clients versus 287,182 clients in December 2020 – and 830,263 accounts versus 540,252 accounts a year earlier.

Competitors to Discovery’s Purple Suite include FNB’s Private Wealth account which is for business owners or individuals earning more than R1.8 million a year or who have a net asset value in excess of R15 million and, Nedbank’s Private Wealth account, which is tailored towards individuals with an annual income of more than R1.5 million or those who have R5 million in investable assets.

What they offer clients

Bank accounts catered towards high-income earners usually provide enticing perks, focusing primarily on lifestyle, travel, and ease of business benefits such as cheaper or free flights and free access to airport lounges.

Discovery Purple

The Discovery Purple account for example requires a monthly payment of R570 and an annual payment of R2,950.

Rewards include 65% back on healthy food, 75% off fitness gear, and 100% off gym membership at a Planet Fitness or Virgin Active in South Africa.

To maintain qualification for certain benefits such as savings on business class flights, Discovery stressed that a cardholder is required to maintain a monthly salary of R208,000 for 12 consecutive months.

FNB Private Wealth/ RMB Private Fusion Account

An FNB Private Wealth account requires a monthly payment of R529, whereas the corporate and investment division of FirstRand Bank, RMB has a monthly fee of R499.

FNB and RMB share the same eBucks Reward system which allows for savings on things such as tech or travel and accommodation. Some benefits that FNB and RMB offer to their upper-income clients include:

  • Private banking advice.
  • Advice-led investments.
  • Access to specialized lending.
  • Risk and fiduciary advice.
  • Access to over 1,000 airport lounges globally, with a FNB Global Debit Card and Lounge Key.
  • Special access to a philanthropy centre.

Nedbank Private Wealth

The Nedbank Private Wealth bundle account is a transaction account with access to two cards and a cost of R468 per month.

Alongside 24-hour service all year round, some of what this account offers cardholders includes:

  • Service that can book events on your behalf or arrange flower deliveries.
  • Free airport lounge access.
  • Concierge service which includes travel booking assistance.
  • Global assistance with Visa when in need.
  • Discounts and special rates on accommodation and car rental.
  • Access to the Greenbacks programme that enables cardholders to benefit from exclusive discounts and the chance to earn double Greenbacks when you use the card.

Standard Bank Signature Banking

The Standard Bank Signature Account requires a monthly payment of R480 for bundled services and benefits, and an extra R75 to add Family Banking.

Benefits include but aren’t limited to:

  • Get in touch with your Signature banker via phone.
  • 15% off when you spend over R500 at  Wine-of-the Month Club.
  • Lifestyle offers on the Mastercard® Buy 1 Get 1 app powered by Priceless Specials.
  • Earn and spend Lifestyle Rands at over 250 Lifestyle partners.
  • Exclusive travel offers through Priceless Cities.
  • Our dedicated Signature Travel desk is available to assist you with travel bookings, visas, forex and comprehensive travel insurance.
  • 24 Visits a year* to over 900 airport lounges.
  • Up to 20% off on Emirates flights* when you book through Leisure Desk.
  • Up to 15% off Hertz car rentals plus one free car upgrade.
  • Up to 15% off luxury serviced apartments.
  • Access to an offshore bank account and qualify for UCount Rewards Tiering Points based on your offshore balances.
  • Get your monthly account fees back in Standard Bank Mobile airtime*.
  • Free access to the Microsoft Digital Literacy course.

Investec Private Banking

Investec Private Banking Account requires a monthly fee of R555, and includes the following benefits:

  • Earn one Rewards point for every R5 spent on your Investec Visa card, online or in-store.
  • A consolidated view of all your Private Banking and global Wealth & Investment accounts.
  • Preferential rates on your international transfers.
  • Market-leading rates on your cash investments at no additional cost.
  • Online share trading platform monthly fee.
  • A holistic picture of your finances, globally.
  • Upload and securely save digital copies of your important documents, such as IDs, on Investec Online and the App. Easily access these documents whenever you need to.
  • International LoungeKey lounges: unlimited access to LoungeKey lounges worldwide for Investec Platinum Visa cardholders.
  • International LoungeKey lounges: guest entry.
  • SAA-owned and Bidvest Premier Lounges (South Africa): unlimited access for Investec Platinum Visa cardholders.
  • SAA & Bidvest Premier Lounge (South Africa): guest and child.

Absa Private Banking

The Absa Private Banking account offers the lowest barrier of entry out of all the listed banks with a monthly fee of R460 or R540 if linked to a Private Bank One or Structured Loan, and rewards cardholders with:

  • Access to Absa’s Reward Programme with Automatic membership to Absa Rewards, no additional monthly fees, earnings in cash [rand for rand] and access to bonus benefits.
  • Stockbroking services including online share trading ability, waiver of annual administration fee and preferential brokerage fees.
  • Forex Multi-Currency Cash Passport with, partial waiver of first commission payable, up to four currencies onto one card and access to funds when travelling abroad.
  • 6 visits per year to airport lounges affiliated to LoungeKey.
  • Get more cash with an overdraft and pay for unexpected expenses.
  • Access to local Bidvest Premier lounges with your Private Banking Credit Card.
  • Travel insurance to the account holder and travel companions when air ticket and accommodation is bought with your Visa Credit Card.

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