This is a service offering unique to South African Banks and is primarily used to establish whether a potential customer, or an existing customer, is considered “good” for a specific credit amount and specific trading terms at a specific point in time
A Bank Code is essentially an affordability assessment to determine a subject’s ability to afford a certain amount over the given terms.
A Bank Code is requested via the bank where the subject holds their account (the account holder). The bank reviews the account holder’s account and a code is generated by that banking institute, considering the current situation of the account holder in regard to the credit amount being queried.
ABC Shoes PTY Ltd, bank account number 12345678 at Bank Y is good for an amount of R 30,000 over 30-day payment terms. These details are submitted to Bank Y to supply a code, given it meets the conditions listed below under important points
- Normal bank code, also referred to as a 24-Hour Bank Code or a Standard Bank Code.
- Full and General Bank Code (Expands on the Normal Bank Code. Also assess account conduct, such as when the account was opened, previously dishonoured papers (returned cheques (RD)) and provides an overall comment on the account conduct.
Turnaround Times and Possible Delays
The service level agreement is a guideline on these products. There are many factors that can affect turn-around. The below is a guideline:
- Normal / Standard bank code usually takes 24 hours, depending on the credit amount and banking institute. It can take longer and, if referred, can take up to 5 business days.
- Full and general can be up to 5 business days.
Bank Code Types explained
|Undoubted for the amount||A firm indication of undoubted financial standing for the amount stated|
|Good for the amount||The subject has a good record of meeting their financial commitments, and the amount is well within the capacity of an ordinary business commitment|
|Good for the amount quoted, if strictly in the way of business||The subject has a good record, the amount may appear high in relation to normal transactions on the account.
Code C is most common, and the account holder is unlikely to commit themselves beyond their means
|Fair trade risk for the amount||The financial position of the subject is modest or unknown, but where the account is satisfactorily conducted, and the subject is considered ok for moderate business commitments|
|Figures considered too high||The amount of the enquiry is too high for the subject and terms given|
|Financial position unknown||This code is given when there is insufficient information to assess the position of the subject. This code is also given when the conduct of the account is such that an opinion cannot be expressed.|
|Paper occasionally dishonoured||This code is given when, on isolated occasions, cheques and other instruments like debit/stop orders were returned unpaid for lack of funds. For this purpose, each unpaid instrument has a life-span of one year|
|Paper frequently dishonoured||This code is given when, at regular intervals, cheques and other instruments like debit/stop were returned unpaid for lack of funds. For this purpose, each unpaid instrument has a life-span of one year|
- You can receive Bank Codes, for example Code C & Code G, or Code E & Code F.
In the example of Code C & Code G: the subject is good for the amount in general, but in isolated cases funds have been returned / insufficient funds.
- A Bank Code is NOT an Account Verification.
- Bank Codes are only offered by participating Banks – not all Banks offer this service.
- Bank Codes are only offered on Current / Cheque accounts. A Bank Code cannot be issued on a Savings Account.
- The default on trading terms are set to 30 days. Trading terms less than 30 days will be re-worked to 30 day terms. Banks will also round off terms to nearest 30-, 60-, 90- and 180 days.
- The Account Holder’s name must be exactly as it appears on the cheque book, statement or letter from the Bank. If it does not match 100% the code will not be issued. The un-issued code will return as “Name and Number Differ” or “Name Incomplete”. An Account holder name can be K2000/232323/23 Pty Ltd Trading as ABC Shoes Pty Ltd – it may contain special characters.
Costs are incurred even if the result is “Name and Number differ” or “Name Incomplete”.
- The Bank Code is issued at a certain point in time, and can change at any event. It does not predict any future conduct on the account.
- Turn-around times vary based on the Bank, amount and the availability of the Banker to comment on the account.