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Banks and banking

Most major banks in SA offer banking services to international academics, students, post graduates and post doctoral fellows. The permit or visa you have will determine what kind of banking is open to you.

Student visas entitle you to open accounts at most, but not all banks, as long as you provide proof of residence and a copy of your visa.

Visitor’s visas are more restrictive and the only bank that offers banking facilities for the extended visitors permits which most post docs are on is FNB. Post Bank which is banking with the post office also offers limited banking facilities for visitor’s visas.

Academics on work visas are entitled to open whatever bank account they find suitable. You will need to fulfil the requirements about proof of residence when you initially apply for a bank account and to provide the letter of your appointment by the University as well as your work visa.  It is advisable to create a credit history as soon as possible as banks require credit histories in order to grant bonds and other large loans.

Proof of residence

  • In order to open a bank account with any of the following banks you will need to provide Proof of residence.
  • If you are staying on campus in residence then a letter from your residence is acceptable.
  • If you are renting an apartment, cottage or house from a landlord then a letter from the landlord stating that you are a tenant, together with a bill for the property (not older than three months) registered in the landlord’s name acts as Proof of residence.
  • Proof of residence (Official Standard Bank form to be completed – obtainable at the bank only)
  • Post Bank requires a form signed by your landlord and witnessed at a police station, which states that the landlord permits you to use their residence as your Proof of residence.
  • Your Proof of residence must not be older than three months.
  • Do not lose your Proof of residence as you will need it to register your cell phone number.

Study visas and letter stating you are a bona fide student/researcher

  • Study visas which are issued with your visa are required by all banks. The letter from Wits stating that you are a bona fide researcher/student can be obtained from your Faculty Office. It needs to be on Wits stationary and should state that you are here to study or do research.

Post Doctoral Fellows on visitor’s permits

Credit Cards and Traveller's Cheques

  • Most major crdit cards are accepted in South Africa which include Mastercard, Visa, Diners Club and American Express. Foreign currency and traveller's cheques may be converted into local currency in South Africa provided the currency is accepted in South Africa. Local banks, travel agencies, airlines and Bureau de Change are some of the institutions that will assist in converting the foreign currency.

Banks on campus

ATM's on campus operate 24 hours a day. Banking hours are from 9:00 to 15:30. 

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