However, when it comes to banking and choosing a bank South Africans are still fairly restricted since they can only choose from about five majour banks but how do South Africans compare their banks and what matters most when they compare their banks?
In a recent survey by Justmoney, it was revealed that 44% of users considered the monthly fees on their account to be the most important thing when choosing their bank. The service clients received was a close second, with 40% of users saying that this was the most important thing to them. The perception people had of the brand and the bank was only 8% while the other 8% of users opted not to answer or selected other as an option.
Despite Standard Bank grabbing the top gong for service during 2009, they were voted second favourite with 19% of users saying this was their favourite bank. FNB won the most loved bank award on the Justmoney survey - as many as 34% of people opted for First National Bank as their bank of choice. Newcomer, Capitec came in third with 19% of users opting for the emerging brand.
When it comes to comparing accounts, a staggering 75% of people said that the most important thing to them is the fees and functionality of the account which makes it no wonder that FNB and Capitec ranked so high when it comes to preferred bank. FNB's electronic account is one of the cheapest accounts around while a Capitec savings account will give you 7% on any balance below R10 000.
"The lack of competition in the local marketplace means that differentiating by product is infrequent and it follows that if a consumer has changed banks, it will most likely be because of service levels rather than pricing options or another reason," said Andy Gilder, general manager of Justmoney.co.za
"I recently read a report that claimed that 37% of South Africans polled claimed they have moved banks in the last year - while I think the number is somehow inflated, the trend is showing that competition amongst the SA banking community is increasing. It can only be good for the consumer.
"If South African are finally happy to move banks without fear of the logistics around the change we are beginning to get rid of the apathetic nature of the South African banking consumer."