'Too expensive, too much admin' – What if a forex bank account didn't have these problems?

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A recent survey hosted on News24 found that while 83% of adult respondents did not have a forex bank account, 89% would open a new account if it was quick, easy and cost-effective.

In the survey hosted on News24 in the month of February, 621 adults were surveyed. Only 17% of respondents indicated they had an active forex bank account.

Some of the major reasons that the other 83% found it difficult to open one included:

  • 33% said it was too much admin
  • 38% said it was too expensive
  • 29% said their bank didn’t offer it to them

Of the 106 respondents who owned one, 54% said it was mostly used for trading. Interestingly, the other 46% found a variety of other ways in which they mostly used it:

  • 13% used it to save for overseas holidays
  • 17% used it to hedge against the rand
  • 16% used it for overseas purchases

With so many respondents indicating they would like to open a forex bank account, but an equivalent amount saying they do not have one, what problems need to be solved for the average South African to consider foreign currency part of their everyday financial life?

Forex bank account
621 Fin24 users gave us their feedback on forex bank accounts. (

Saving on fees, ease of use and knowledge

South Africans invest 75% of their assets in South Africa, yet South African investments make up just 0.3% of total investments globally, according to the World Investment Report 2020.

In the survey, only 10% of respondents said they knew enough about foreign currency to include it in their investment plan, with 31% indicating they knew "a little bit". The overwhelming majority either knew nothing (32%) or wanted to know more (28%).

Factors that would entice newcomers to open an account included low fees and real-time transactions (34%); an easier process to open an account and to link it to different currencies (31.5%), and being able to transfer currencies between accounts at lower fees (35.5%).

Forex bank account
621 Fin24 users gave us their feedback on forex bank accounts. (

Those who owned a forex account said they would consider switching or opening a new account if it had a friendlier user experience (32%), ability to trade in an app (18%), cheaper fees (16%), better rates (21)% and real-time forex exchange (12%).

It can also revolutionise your spending when travelling abroad. Currently, when travelling overseas, only 18.5% said they use a forex account to make purchases, with the rest forfeiting fees and costs by using a debit card linked to a bank account (38%), a credit card (31%), or currency exchange in cash (13%).

The ability to lower your risk and save and transact in foreign currency used to be a luxury that was only available to the wealthy. Now, Discovery Bank makes it affordable and easy for you to save and transact in the foreign currency of your choice.

forex bank accounts
621 Fin24 users gave us their feedback on forex bank accounts. (Discovery forex survey)

SA’s only real-time forex capability

Discovery Bank launched its comprehensive, real-time forex capability on the Discovery Bank app in February, giving access to immediate foreign currency transactions.

Discovery Bank’s Forex Account allows you to experience the only Real-Time Forex Accounts, available 24/7 on your banking app, where you can open, convert, save and pay in seconds.

You can start saving in Euros, Pounds and US dollars immediately, and can make overseas payments in over 60 countries. Discovery clients will not pay foreign currency conversion transfer fees for transactions between their different forex and Rand accounts.

You will also receive a free virtual card to add to your smartphone for seamless payments when travelling outside South Africa, as well as the option of a physical debit card.

Expand your banking portfolio with Discovery Bank Forex Accounts - designed for smart, seamless foreign currency transactions.

You need to be an existing accountholder of a Discovery Bank Transaction Account, Card Account or Suite and 18 years or older to add any of our forex accounts to your banking portfolio.

To learn more, click here.

This post was sponsored by Discovery and produced by BrandStudio24.

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