The table has been laid for the big banking fee war. In recent months, four new banks have launched to challenge the established big five — Absa, Standard Bank, Nedbank, FNB and Capitec. This week, African Bank launched its first transactional bank account, MyWorld, joining a list of upstarts. It’s a major competitive shift, since the new banks are either scrapping monthly charges, like TymeBank, or offering a compelling loyalty programme, like Discovery Bank. And it seems to be capturing the public’s imagination: within a few months, TymeBank alone has opened 250,000 accounts. So, which of the incumbents stands to lose the most? And which is the most insulated from the new wave of competition? FNB is the best placed to fend off competition, say analysts. The reason: it has traditionally been one of the quickest to implement innovative technologies. Wessel Badenhorst, a banking analyst at 36One, says FNB has, by far, the best rewards programme of the incumbent banks in its eBucks pr...

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