21 Best Credit Cards in South Africa 2020 (Beginners, Everyday Use & Entrepreneurs)


When looking for credit cards online usually you’ll usually find a bunch of credit cards thrown into a single list with no order.

That said, I decided to make my list a lot more organized. I understand that different credit cards suit different people, so I decided to break up my research into three different ‘personal situation groups.’

  • GROUP 01. Credit cards for beginners, students, young adults, low-income earners (below R10,000 per month), or people with bad credit.
  • GROUP 02. Credit cards for everyday use. These cards are generally suited towards medium-income earners of R10,000+ per month, and the family’s breadwinner.
  • GROUP 03. Credit cards for high-income earners (R40,000+ per month) and entrepreneurs that are always on the move.

So how should you use this credit card research guide? Well, first decide which group you fall in, then scroll down and find the section that’s dedicated to your group. I hope this helps!

Before getting started, a few notes:

  • I didn’t mention the credit card interest rates because it HEAVILY depends on your situation. However, to get an idea, the national average for credit card interest rates in South Africa ranges between 14% and 24%.
  • Only some credit cards mention maximum credit you’ll get because, again, this heavily depends on your credit history. If you have a bad credit history, banks won’t give you a cent. If you have a fantastic credit history, they’ll give you more than you need. It’s as simple as that.

Ready to find finally find a credit card that best suits your needs? Great! Start by finding your group below!

GROUP 01.
Credit Cards For Bad Credit or Beginners (Young Adults, and Low-Income Earners)

Low-income credit cards are tailored to people just starting, or for people who are trying to get a credit card with a bad credit score.

Whether you’re a young adult in your 20’s who wants to start building a credit record, or you’re a low-income earner that needs a bit of help, then these beginner credit options are for you.

What should you be looking for in a credit card if you’re a low-income beginner?

  • The credit cards monthly fee. The lower, the better. You don’t want to be spending a significant percentage of your income on just owning a credit card.
  • Monthly income that is required before applying. For this, look for a credit card that accepts amounts lower than your income. This will increase your chances of getting accepted.
  • Don’t expect significant benefits. With low-income credit cards, your goal should be to start building a credit record with as little upfront cost as possible, so ignore the benefits for now.

So, in a nutshell, please keep it simple. Get a card that you have a high chance of getting accepted, with a low maintenance monthly fee, and don’t get fussy with the benefits.

Credit Card:Monthly Fee:Min Monthly Income:Airport Lounge Access:Learn More:
01.Absa Flexi Core Credit CardR14R2,000NOVIEW
02.Absa Gold Credit CardR23R4,000YESVIEW
03. Nedbank Classic Credit CardR30R5,000NOVIEW
04.Capitec Global One Credit CardR40R5,000NOVIEW
05.Standard Bank Blue Credit CardR40R7,500NOVIEW
06.African Bank Gold Credit Card R69R5,000NOVIEW
07.Standard Bank Gold Credit CardR54R7,500NOVIEW
08.Nedbank Gold Credit CardR32R8,300NOVIEW
09. FNB GoldR51R7,000NOVIEW
10.American Express Gold Credit CardR32R5,000NOVIEW
Credit cards tailored for beginners, young adults, and low income earners.

Here’s a deeper look into the list.

01. Absa Flexi Core Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R14
  • Min monthly income required: R2,000 per month
  • Credit limit: Up to R90,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 57 days.
  • R1.5 million basic travel insurance.
  • Visa airport dining.
  • Extremely low monthly fee and income required.

Key drawbacks:

  • No airport lounge access.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

02. Absa Gold Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R23
  • Min monthly income required: R4,000 per month
  • Credit limit: Up to R90,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 57 days.
  • R1.5 million basic travel insurance.
  • Visa airport dining.
  • Access to the Bidvest airport lounge at a discounted rate.
  • Extremely low monthly fee and income required.

Key drawbacks:

  • You may get airport lounge access, however you’ll still need to pay.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

03. Nedbank Classic Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R30
  • Min monthly income required: R5.000 per month
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 55 days.
  • Basic travel insurance

Key drawbacks:

  • No airport lounge access.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

04. Capitec Global One Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R40
  • Min monthly income required: R5,000 per month
  • Credit limit: Up to R250,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): 7.00% – 17.50% depending on your credit history.

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 55 days.
  • Basic travel insurance.
  • They don’t charge currency conversion fees.
  • Low monthly fee and income required.

Key drawbacks:

  • No airport lounge access.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

05. Standard Bank Blue Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R40
  • Min monthly income required: R7,500 per month
  • Credit limit: R250,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 55 days.

Key drawbacks:

  • Very few benefits, however great for low-income earners.
  • No airport lounge visits.
  • No travel insurance.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

06. African Bank Gold Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R69
  • Min monthly income required: R5,000 per month
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 60 days.
  • Basic travel insurance
  • Credit card life insurance

Key drawbacks:

  • No airport lounge access.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

07. Standard Bank Gold Credit Card

Overview:

  • Monthly fee: R54
  • Min monthly income required: R7,500
  • Credit limit: R250,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 55 days.
  • Free global travel insurance.
  • Flight discounts if you book with emirates of up to 35% off. Book through Leisure Desk to get a discount.

Key drawbacks:

  • No airport lounge access.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

08. Nedbank Gold Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R32
  • Min monthly income required: R8,300 per month
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 55 days.
  • Basic travel insurance

Key drawbacks:

  • No airport lounge access.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

09. FNB Gold

Overview:

  • Monthly fee: R51 per month
  • Min monthly income required: R7,000 to R30,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalized interest rate

Key benefits:

  • Free interest if you pay back the balance within 55 days.
  • Free global travel insurance.
  • Cashback with eBucks.

Key drawbacks:

  • No airport lounge access.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

10. American Express Gold Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R32
  • Min monthly income required: R5,000
  • Credit limit:
  • Annual interest rate (APR): 19.65% to 20.5%

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 55 days.
  • R1 million basic travel insurance.

Key drawbacks:

  • No airport lounge access.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

GROUP 02.
Credit Cards For Everyday Use (Medium-Income Earners & family man)

‘Everyday use’ credit cards are generally tailored to medium-income earners or the family breadwinner.

So if you’re looking for a credit card you can use for a bit of home improvement, to go and take your spouse out to dinner, or to give you a bit of luxury when you do decide to go on holiday, then keep reading. This is the list for you.

Here are the credit card benefits that should be important to you:

  • Cashback. You’re constantly buying groceries and filling up your petrol tank to keep your family on the move. Credit cards that offer cash back on your purchases will be a huge help.;
  • Interest rate. If you’re looking for a medium-income earner credit card, then chances are you need to use the money. So make sure you select a card that offers a low-interest rate. Interest rates change on request depending on your credit card, so make sure you shop around before deciding.
  • Some travel benefits. If you go on holiday with your family ever now and then, then travel benefits can help. Look out for credit cards that offer lounge visits as well as travel discounts to make your holidays more affordable.
Credit Card:Monthly Fee:Min Income:Cash-back:Airport Lounge:Learn More:
01.FNB PremierR92 R20,000YESYESVIEW
02.Standard Bank Titanium Credit CardR74R25,000NONOVIEW
03.Standard Bank World Citizen Credit CardR264R25,000NOYESVIEW
04.Nedbank Platium Credit CardR57R29,000 NOYESVIEW
05.Absa Premium Banking Credit CardR59R25,000NOYESVIEW
06.American Express Platinum Credit CardR388R16,600NOYESVIEW
Credit cards for everyday use, medium income earners, the ‘family man.

01. FNB Premier

This credit card is an excellent option for everyday use because it gives you everything you need for everyday living. You’ll get cashback on most of your daily living purchases with eBucks, and you’ll get airport lounge visits for when you do decide to go on holiday.

Overview:

  • Monthly fee: R92 per month
  • Min monthly income required: R20,000 to R62,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalized

Key benefits:

  • No interest if you pay your full balance back within 55 days.
  • Free Global travel insurance.
  • Cashback with eBucks.
  • Free national and international slow lounge visits.

Airport lounge access rules:

Have access to 2 free domestic and international SLOW airport lounge if you’re at eBucks reward level 03 per year.

You can use your complimentary visits to bring in 1 guest per visit. If your visits are up, if you’re not at eBucks rewards level 03, or if you’re bringing more than 1 guest, then it costs R250 for local and R400 for international slow lounge visits per person.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

02. Standard Bank Titanium Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R74
  • Min monthly income required: R25,000 per month
  • Credit limit: R250,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 55 days.
  • Free global travel insurance.
  • Flight discounts if you book with emirates of up to 35% off. Book through Leisure Desk to get a discount.

Key drawbacks:

  • No airport lounge access.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

03. Standard Bank World Citizen Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R264
  • Min monthly income required: R25,000 per month
  • Credit limit: R250,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 55 days.
  • Free global travel insurance.
  • Get 24 complimentary visits to any national or international LoungeKey lounge, Bidvest airport lounges, Standard Bank Library Lounge, as well as the standard bank Cafe Blue Lounge.
  • Flight discounts if you book with emirates of up to 35% off. Book through Leisure Desk to get a discount.

Key drawbacks:

  • Expensive monthly fee. Only great for if you travel often.
  • You can’t use complimentary lounge visits on guests. You’ll need to pay for them.
  • Travel credit card without offering airline miles

Airport lounge access rules:

As a world citizen cold holder you get a lot of travel benefits. You’ll get 24 complimentary visits per year to international and domestic LoungeKey lounge, Bidvest airport lounges, Standard Bank Library Lounge, as well as the standard bank Cafe Blue Lounge.

The biggest drawback for me with Standard Bank is complimentary visits can only be used by the cardholder, which means you’ll have to pay for any guests.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

04. Nedbank Platium Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R57
  • Min monthly income required: R29,000 per month
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 55 days.
  • Basic travel insurance
  • Bidvest premier airport lounge access. You’ll get 12 complimentary visits per year for domestic lounges only.

Key drawbacks:

  • Only domestic lounge access offered.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

05. Absa Premium Banking Credit Card

This is a great card for a medium-income earner that travels occasionally. The card offers travel benefits such as airport lounge access without an expensive monthly fee, which is out of the norm. Generally, cards with travel benefits have an expensive monthly fee associated with it.

  • Monthly fee: R59
  • Min monthly income required: R25,000 per month
  • Credit limit: Up to R138,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 57 days.
  • R3 million basic travel insurance.
  • Visa airport dining.
  • Free access to the Bidvest airport lounges.

Key drawbacks:

  • They don’t state how many free airport lounge visits you get per year.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

06. American Express Platinum Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R388
  • Min monthly income required: R16,600 per month
  • Annual interest rate (APR): 15% to 20.5%

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 55 days.
  • R4 million basic travel insurance.
  • You get access to three different airport lounges; Priority Pass Lounge, Bidvest, and the Centurion Lounge. Altogether you’ll have access to over 1200 lounges in more than 400 cities worldwide.
  • Flight discounts with select airlines.

Key drawbacks:

  • Exremely expensive monthly fee when compared to other credit cards.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

GROUP 03.
Low Interest & High Limit Credit Cards (High-Income Earners & Entrepreneurs)

You’re a high-income earner, more than likely an entrepreneur that’s constantly on the move. High income credit cards are designed to make your past paced lifestly as easy as possible.

Here are the most important benefits you need to look for in high limit credit cards:

  • Credit card limits. If you’re looking for a credit card, you’re probably looking to get the highest limit possible to have access to credit in case you need to fund an opportunity in the near future. It’s always nice having fast access to credit on hand at all times.
  • Interest rate. When you do use the credit, you want to be charged as little interest as possible. That said, if you meet the income requirements below, then you’ll probably have a solid credit record. So make sure you shop around to get the lowest interest rate possible. You have the leverage to be fussy!
  • Airport lounge access. Chances are you’re always traveling, so look for credit cards that come with the best travel benefits. You’ll need as many complimentary airport lounge visits as possible (make sure your complimentary visits can be used on your guests.)
  • Meet and greet services. On top of that, meet and greet services are great, as well as airport fast-tracking services, so you don’t have to stand in long lines.
  • Flight miles. If you’re traveling often then it’s always nice to rack up miles so you can get a free upgrade in the future.

INSIDER TIP: While “private bankers” sounds great, in my experience, they really aren’t that valuable. I’ve had a few private bankers with FNB for years now, and nine times out of ten, they really haven’t been that helpful. So don’t place too much value on that so called ‘benefit.’

Credit Card:Monthly Fee:Min Income:Flight Miles:Airport Lounge:Learn More:
01.Standard Bank Diners Club Credit CardR80R41,000 YESYESVIEW
02.FNB Private WealthR265R125,000NOYESVIEW
03.Standard Bank Platinum Credit CardR94R58,000NOYESVIEW
04.FNB Private ClientsR209R62,000NOYESVIEW
05.Absa Private Banking Credit CardR80R62,500NOYESVIEW
Credit cards with low interest and the highest limits for high-income earners, and entrepreneurs

01. Standard Bank Diners Club Credit Card

I actually bank with FNB however I had to select this card as a winner because of two reasons. First, the monthly income required is extremely low for the amount of benefits they offer.

Apart from the obvious benefits such as airport lounge visits, they’re the only credit card in South Africa that I’ve seen mention anything about earning flight miles as you travel. Which is great to see. On top of that, I fly with Emirates all the time, and they offer up to 35% off which is huge for me.

  • Monthly fee: R80
  • Min monthly income required: R41,000 per month
  • Credit limit: Personalised
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Fixed

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 55 days.
  • Fixed interest rate.
  • Complimentary global phase 1 travel insurance.
  • Flight discounts if you book with emirates of up to 35% off. Book through Leisure Desk to get a discount.
  • Airport VIP fast track.
  • Free meet and greet transfers.
  • Access to over 1000 airport lounges worldwide.
  • Earn flight miles as you travel.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

02. FNB Private Wealth

Overview:

  • Monthly fee: R265 per month
  • Min monthly income required: R125,000 or more
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalized interest rate

Key benefits:

  • Free global travel insurance.
  • Interest-free if you pay back your full balance within 55 days.
  • Cashback with eBucks.
  • Up to 36 free national and international lounge visits (see details below.)
  • Free airport pickup with AVIS meet and greet via eBucks
  • Access to private banker.

Airport lounge access rules:

With the private wealth card you get 2 complimentary slow lounge visits at ebucks level 02, and 36 visits at ebucks level 05 per year.

You can use your complimentary visits to bring in 1 guest per visit. If your visits are up, if you’re not at eBucks rewards level 02, or if you’re bringing more than 1 guest, then it costs R250 for local and R400 for international slow lounge visits per person.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

03. Standard Bank Platinum Credit Card

Overview:

  • Monthly fee: R94
  • Min monthly income required: R58,000 per month
  • Credit limit: R250,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 55 days.
  • Free global travel insurance.
  • Get access to any Bidvest airport lounges, Standard Bank Library Lounge, as well as the standard bank Cafe Blue Lounge at OR Tambo.
  • Flight discounts if you book with emirates of up to 35% off. Book through Leisure Desk to get a discount.

Key drawbacks:

  • The 12 complimentary Bidvest lounge visits you get can only be used on domestic trips.
  • You can’t use complimentary lounge visits on guests. You’ll need to pay for them.

Airport lounge access rules:

As a platinum credit cardholder, you’ll get 12 complimentary visits per year at domestic lounges. Complimentary visits can only be used by the cardholder, which means you’ll have to pay for each guest.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

04. FNB Private Clients

Overview:

  • Monthly fee: R209 per month
  • Min monthly income required: R62,000 to R125,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalized interest rate with up to 55 days interest-free.

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your full balance within 55 days.
  • Free global travel insurance.
  • Cashback with eBucks.
  • Up to 20 free lounge visits per year (view details below.)
  • Free airport meet and greet services by AVIS through eBucks.
  • Private banker access.

Airport lounge access rules:

You get 4 free international and domestic slow lounge visits if you’re at ebucks reward level 03 and 20 at rewards level 5 per year.

You can use your complimentary visits to bring in 1 guest per visit. If your visits are up, if you’re not at eBucks rewards level 03, or if you’re bringing more than 1 guest, then it costs R250 for local and R400 for international slow lounge visits per person.

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

05. Absa Private Banking Credit Card

  • Monthly fee: R80
  • Min monthly income required: R62,500 per month
  • Credit limit: Up to R228,000
  • Annual interest rate (APR): Personalised

Key benefits:

  • Interest-free if you pay back your balance within 57 days.
  • Around R10 million travel insurance cover for international journeys.
  • Visa airport dining.
  • You get unlimited free visits to any Bivest lounge in South Africa. You also get two free visits for your guest per year. On top of that, you also get 6 free international lounge visits.
  • Absa private banker

Learn more or apply for this credit card here.

Your Turn

Wow, that was a long list. It took me forever to put it together, so I really hope it provided you with some value. That said, there’s probably a 99% chance I made a mistake or missed important information.

So if you feel that I missed something important, or if you know of any credit cards that should be on this list, then please let us know int the comments below, so we can start learning from each other!

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