You see people swiping their cards, and you’re next in line to pay cash for that pair of shoes at Mr Price. But then the cashier says, “Cards only” – and you end up waiting in a longer line to pay cash. I’ve been there. Have you? Whether you have or not, there will come a time in your life when you need to open your own bank account.

A bank account is used to store all your money. It can also be a great method of saving money, through your savings account. In this weeks ‘How To’ blog we’re going learn how to open your very own bank account.

It’s not as complicated as it looks or sounds, in fact, it’s pretty easy! Just follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Get your documents in order
In order to open a bank account, you will need to take two important documents to the bank to prove who you are, and where you live. The first is your ID book or Passport (with a valid study or work permit). (Importantly, you cannot use your Driver’s Licence to open a bank account.) The second is proof of residential address, such as a utility bill. If you don’t have one in your name, get a form from the bank for your landlord or parent to complete, confirming that you live at that address. If you live on tribal land or in an informal settlement, then ask the local chief or councillor to write a letter confirming that you live there.

Step 2: Have cash in hand
It’s best to take cash with as you will need a minimum of R50 to open a bank account.

Step 3: Investigate your banking options
You can decide on the bank you’d like to bank with. But do your homework first. Find out what kind of accounts the different banks offer and work out what bank and type of bank account would best suit your needs. Check what fees the bank charges for withdrawing or adding funds to your account (these can add up so it’s best to find out first before opening the account).

Step 4: Go in to the branch with your documents
Visit the closest branch of the bank of choice with all your documents in hand. The service consultants will help you to complete the forms and do all the paperwork. Remember these consultants are trained so if you do have questions, write them down, and make sure that these get answered when you are in the branch. If you haven’t used an ATM machine before, or would like to find out about electronic banking, be sure to ask the consultants for guidance and assistance with these.

What to expect when opening a bank account:
You can expect to have your fingerprints taken, all 10 of them. Don’t be alarmed, this is only to check your records and to have you recorded on the system.

You may be expected to fill in an electronic form with the assistant helping you.

You should have your card ready by the time you leave the door.

Now that you’ve done all the documentations, paid the fee and done the record checking, you should have your card ready for you to use… so now you’ll have the option to pay with cash or by card!

Remember to always use your money wisely and watch your spending. Generally when you first open a bank account you will be opening a savings or transaction (debit cheque card) account. This means that you won’t have access to credit (i.e. money that you can borrow from the bank) so you will only be able to pay for or withdraw the funds that are actually in your account.

Let us know if you opened your own bank account yet and how the experience was.


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