Money makes the world go round: Understanding financial behaviour in South Africa

Posted by Borderless Access on Jun 24, 2020 1:01:28 PM
Borderless Access


As South Africa, along with the rest of the world, strives to jump-start the economy after its unprecedented hiatus, Borderless Access shares the financial and banking behaviour of our citizens. We provide a glimpse into how South Africans bank, what financial decisions they have made, both pre and during COVID-19, and understand where they invest their hard-earned money.

When it comes to financial decision-making, South African households are split pretty evenly between those with shared decision-making partnerships (42%) and those with sole decision-makers (44%). Our panellist information provides insights from both of these types of households.

African Financial Behaviour-1

South Africans retain strong trust in their banks

Two thirds of South Africans have any form of personal access to credit facilities, with 26% having access to a company credit card. Nearly half of the country does not own a credit card at all. On the other end of the scale, one fifth owns more than one credit card.

African Financial Behaviour-3

Savings accounts are the most common form of account, followed by current accounts. The majority of South Africans bank with commercial and retails banks, with 10% banking with investment banks.

Non-bank digital payment methods have not gained mass uptake in South Africa, with most nationals holding onto the trust and heritage that their banks provide, and hence feeling more comfortable utilising traditional payment methods. However, post-lockdown we expect to see this changing, as the world leapfrogs to a greater embrace of digitization across domains.

Despite the apparent Bitcoin mania of the past few years, only 3% of nationals claim to have a Bitcoin account.

Reasonable savings ethic prevailed pre-COVID19

Overall, our local savings habits are fairly impressive with 17% of the average monthly household income being invested in savings products – at least this is what we saw pre-COVID19.

Life Insurance is the most commonly owned financial asset with nearly a quarter of South Africans investing in this option. The next most common assets are pension schemes with guaranteed rates, and health insurance – 14% and 13% of South Africans respectively invest their money in these options.

African Financial Behaviour-2

As salaries and disposable income shrinks as a result of lockdown, we hope that savings will remain a priority, but this remains to be seen.

Pandemic hurts an already-struggling economy

We had already noticed concerns about the economy before the pandemic hit, with South Africans adjusting their budget accordingly. In February 2020, we witnessed 57% of South Africans recording a reduction in spend on non-essentials. Naturally the global crisis and lockdown have resulted in a further shift in this regard, with consumers choosing to – and, for the period of lockdown, only being allowed to – focus their spend on essentials.

South Africans are however also fairly strongly invested in loans: 30% have personal loans and 13% have home loans. Automobile loans are particularly high relative to home loans, with 10% of people nationally paying off a vehicle.

African Financial Behaviour-4

Pre-profiled panels enable targeted financial and banking surveys

Borderless Access has the largest pre-profiled online panel in South Africa and across the globe. We are able to drill down within our panels into different industry niches for understanding their behaviour across many areas, including their finances. With our deeply profiled panellists and our proprietary community management and survey platform, SmartSight™, driven by advanced proprietary technology and AI-ML, we are able to identify the right set of respondents for a survey - even before it starts - and reach out to them to at their most preferred timeslot and channel for quick and better results.

We conduct surveys for our finance clients on credit card usage, financial assets, loan investments, insurance, payment behaviour and many more related topics.

Contact us to discuss how we can help you better understand your consumers’ financial behaviour and need for actionable insights.

Topics: Africa market research, south africa market research, digital research, digital market research, south africa spending habits, south africa economy, south africa economic survey, digital payments survey, south africa banking survey

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