South Africa corporate banking options

business formation in South AfricaSince 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC assists multi-national Clients with multi-currency corporate bank account opening in South Africa. Dealing with South African banks can be challenging and time consuming. Our goal is to shelter our Client from any unnecessary administrative burdens, and ensure our Client does not need to travel to South Africa to open the account.

  • Summary

    • Within 5 weeks, Healy Consultants Group PLC will secure multi-currency corporate bank account approvals with at least one South African bank. There is an 80% probability the bank signatory will not have to travel;
    • All local banks in South Africa offer e-banking and telephone help lines in English;
    • Currency corporate bank accounts offered by South African banks include major currencies like US$, €, £ and the local ZAR;
    • Most banks have a minimum deposit ranging from US$500 to US$1,000. Maintaining the account is not expensive;
    • There are 10 local banks and 7 foreign-controlled banks operating in South Africa. The largest four controlling 80% of the market are i) Standard Bank Group ii) FirstRand Ltd iii) Absa and iv) Nedbank Group;
    • All four major banks have national headquarters in Johannesburg. These banks all offer i) multicurrency accounts ii) internet and telephone banking iii) checking and savings accounts iv) debit and credit cards v) fixed-term deposits and vi) wealth management services;
    • Healy Consultants Group PLC can open a corporate bank account for a South African company, and secure Internet banking approval, without our Client traveling to South Africa. Our fee for this service is US$5,950. Our Client should also budget for additional costs to legalise due diligence documents at their local South African embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in South Africa;
    • Obtaining a corporate bank account for a non-resident company is challenging and time consuming. The bank will expect you to hold a primary account in the local currency (ZAR);
    • South African banks are increasingly reluctant to open the corporate accounts for companies with complex structures involving multiple foreign beneficial owners. To increase account opening success, we recommend our Client keep the corporate structure simple.
  • Security of the South African banking sector

  • Other considerations

    • South African banks will not exclusively open a foreign currency bank account. They must be accompanied by a bank account in the local currency (South African Rand);
    • Ease of getting credit in South Africa is ranked at 60% by the World Bank Group, making it comparable to most African jurisdictions;
    • When feasible, we recommend our foreign Clients open their South African corporate accounts with a bank with which they already operate around the globe. This will reduce compliance background checks and improve their probability of opening a bank account without travel;
    • After our Client receives South African bank account numbers, the bank will directly and independently provide our Client the online banking kit required to initiate international funds transfers.
  • Bank account opening process

    • Prior to submitting the bank account application, Healy Consultants Group PLC requires detailed information on i) company’s activities (including proof of business like contracts and invoices) ii) customers and suppliers iii) details of management team and iv) company financial projections;
    • Our experts prepare a detailed business plan highlighting the above, along with reasons for opening a South African bank account. We then send the business plan to our Client for review and approval before sharing with banks;
    • Healy Consultants Group PLC approaches the local banks to obtain preliminary approvals for our Client’s company;
    • We prepare bank account opening forms for our Client’s signature. Once the Client has signed and certified the documents, they courier the originals, including legalised or apostilled corporate documents, to us;
    • Unless the documents are in English, there is an 80% probability that the bank will request attested documents to be translated by a legal South African translator. If required, Healy Consultants Group PLC will assist our Client to complete this task;
    • On receipt of the signed bank forms, the banks will complete their Know Your Client (KYC) procedures. Healy Consultants Group PLC staff will assist our Client to fulfil all bank requests with minimal inconvenience;
    • Depending on our Client’s business and nationality, there is a 20% possibility the banks will request a bank signatory to travel for a one-hour interview. Healy Consultants Group PLC will try its best to negotiate with the bank for a travel exemption. If our Client must travel, Healy Consultants Group PLC will refund our Client US$950;
    • Within four weeks of submission of the multi-currency corporate bank account opening application, Healy Consultants Group PLC will receive approval from the bank;
    • Within one week thereafter, the bank will courier Internet banking documents to our Client;
    • Following successful activation, the bank will dispatch a courier to our Client’s preferred mailing address containing ATM card and internet banking details;
    • To facilitate the opening of a high-quality corporate account on our Client’s behalf, Healy Consultants Group PLC will project manage these steps.

Frequently asked questions

Contact us

For additional information on our company formation services in South Africa, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Henry James Beck, directly:
Consultant at HC - henry
  • Mr. Henry James Beck
  • Client Engagements Manager
  • Contact me!
citibankbarclaysStandard Chartered Bank in South Africa First National Bank South Africa standard bank South Africa