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Welcome back to another DID YOU KNOW? – where we breakdown everything business and finance simply for SMEs to understand. In this three-part miniseries, we focus on the banking side of your small business so that you are well informed about how banks work and which one is best suited for you no matter what business you are running.

Let’s recap Part 1 and Part 2 if you have not read it yet please do so, we looked at how banks work as well as how they make money we looked at four of the six banks listed below to see which will be the best for your small business going forward. In Part 3 we carry on with that by once again breaking down the banks for you to see their history and what makes them uniquely suited for you and your business goals. 

List of South Africa Leading Banks:

History of Capitec Bank

Capitec Bank Holdings Limited is still a very young company in the South African market so their history is not as extensively documented as the other banking names in this miniseries. Capitec Bank was started on 1st March 2001 by Michiel Le Roux, Jannie Mouton, and Riaan Stassen who has taken the brand to a whole new level to make it one of the best banks to be with if you are an individual or small business owner.

Capitec Bank made it’s arrival into the market on the hit TV series Generations making it the first bank in South Africa to market itself and because of this partnership, Capitec saw massive growth with signing up on average 120 000 customers a month so it goes to show that Capitec from the very beginning knew who their target market was and how they were going to reach them.

Market Share

Capitec Bank today holds the fifth place on the list with a 2% market share and in numbers that is 8.3 Million customers making it the most popular bank in South Africa for personal banking and with a combined 500 branches and 11 440 employees in South Africa.

Service Offering

Loans, Investment Banking, Savings Investment, Debit cards, Credit cards, Commercial, Financing, and insurance.

Customer Satisfaction

The South African Customer Satisfaction Index measures a company on basic principles to get an overall percentage that is 0% to 100% with 0% being the worst and with 50% above being, mild, good, and excellent. Capitec Bank is second on the list of all the big banks in South Africa with a score of 84.0% so that translates to excellent but remember that The South Africa Customer Satisfaction Index method of calculating can be biased and obscured.  Capitec Bank is using advanced technology as well as digital marketing platforms to appeal to younger demographics that will improve its customer base to become future proof

Total Asset Net Worth 

Capitec Bank Holdings Limited has total assets of R162.945 billion under management over its entire portfolio of areas served in South Africa and total equity of R13.659 billion making it one of the fastest-growing banks in South Africa over the last 20 years of its incorporation and one hell of a bank to be with if you want to grow your personal money through just interest and fix depositing.

Account Fees

Capitec Global One Fees Transaction % Changes
Withdrawal (Native) R6.00/R1000 R6.00 -7.7%
Withdrawal (Other) R8.00/R1000 R8.00 -8.6%
Withdrawal (POS) R1.00 R1.00 -37.5%
Deposit (ATM) R1.00/R100 R5.00 +11.1%
Debit Orders R3.50 R3.50 -5.4%
Monthly Account Fees R5.00 -13.0%

For additional information click here:

Final Thoughts

I personally bank with Capitec Bank it is one of the best banks to use for business. Thanks to Capitecs feature of paying for one account and being able to have up to 4 more sub-accounts that you can open and name whatever you wish. Capitec Bank is very user-friendly to use when making and receiving payments from customers.

Capitec Bank pays good interest on your money as well as offers great customer service over the telephone and no matter what branch you go to they are always helpful and knowledgeable about their products and services. That is why I highly recommend Capitec Bank to small business owners to open an account for the excellent customer service, great fee structuring, as well as their great product offers, what are you waiting for open one today.

History of Mercantile Bank

The bank was founded in the Republic of South Africa in 1965. It obtained a banking license in 1989; and became a fully owned subsidiary of Mercantile Bank Holdings Limited, a holding company incorporated in January the same year.

In 1995, the bank merged with Bank of Lisbon International (BLI) – a bank established in 1965. Shortly thereafter in 1996, the bank holding company name was changed from ‘Mercantile Bank Holdings Limited’ to ‘Mercantile Lisbon Bank Holdings Limited’ (MLBH). Earlier in 1995, the Portugal state-owned bank – Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) had acquired a 27% stake in MLBH through its subsidiary Banco Nacional Ultramarino (presently Macau-based Banco Nacional Ultramarino SA).

In August 1998, Mercantile Lisbon Bank Holdings (MLBH) was listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange South Africa (now Johannesburg Stock Exchange Ltd). In March 2002, CSD’s stake in MLBH increased to 64.8%, and by September 2004 to 91.75%. In 2005, the name ‘MLBH’ was changed back to Mercantile Bank Holdings Limited and in 2012, it was delisted at 52 cents per share.

Market Share

Mercantile Bank is a private company so we do not have access to this information so we are unable to disclose what their current market share is in the banking industry but what I can say is that Capitec Banks successful business model will filter down to Mercantile and within the next 10 years it will be the best bank for small business owners to have an account with that will offer them great pricing structures going forward.

Service Offering

Retail banking, Corporate finance, Asset Management, and Capital Market Funding

Customer Satisfaction

Mercantile Bank is a private company so we do not have access to this information and are therefore unable to disclose what their current customer satisfaction is but it is still early days

Total Asset Net Worth

Mercantile Bank is a private company so we do not have access to this information and are unable to disclose what their current asset net worth under management is but it is still early days

Account Fees

For more information about Mercantile Bank business fees click here:

For more information about Mercantile Bank Investment rates click here:

Final Thoughts

I will be honest, I do not have an opinion about Mercantile Bank at present but as I said before I believe they will be successful due in part because they have Capitec Bank as their parent company and because of this the lesson that Capitec learned over its 20 years can be used to build Mercantile Bank to be the go-to business bank for all entrepreneurs in South Africa going forward that is my prediction for the Mercantile brand and you can hold me to that prediction when 10 years has passed.

Other Noteworthy Banks in South Africa:

  • Tyme Bank Limited
  • Investec Bank Limited
  • African Bank Limited
  • Discovery Limited
  • Bidvest Bank Limited
  • Ubank Limited
  • Sasfin Bank Limited
  • Imperial Bank Limited

Simply broken down for you

Banks For SMME YES NO Rating
Capitec Bank Yes 4.9/5
Mercantile Bank Yes 3.9/5
ABSA Group Limited No 2.5/5
Nedbank Group Yes 4.5/5
Standard Bank No 2.5/5
FNB Bank Yes 4.5/5
The Results

That is it, we have come to the end of our three-part miniseries about small business banking.  We have taken the time to gather basic information for you about how and who the big names in South Africa’s banking industry are and highlighting what we perceive as important knowledge that can be used to make a well-informed decision when it comes to choosing the right bank for you and your business.

This is one of the most important steps once you have registered your company because it will play a multi-functional purpose in your business from invoicing to bookkeeping to accounting so make the best choice in the beginning and you will be reward long-term. Our next three-part miniseries will be coming soon to a blog near you so stay tuned and stay smart with Did You Know?

Yvette Pugin

Yvette Pugin


A force to be reckoned with: Qualified Senior Bookkeeper with 40 years experience in Administration, both in Corporate and the SME space. Having started working in the 1980’s when computers were still a dream; her experience was gained with manual systems. After working with SME Suppliers in the corporate environment, it became apparent that there is a need for not only education, but system management for SME’s.