The Complete List of All Universal Branch Codes for Major Banks in South Africa

The most recent technological advancement in the South African banking sector has given rise to the use of alternative channels for transactions. Instead of commuting to a branch to make payments, customers can now complete all sorts of bank transactions from the comfort of their homes, offices, or in transit, and these can be done anytime.

However, carrying out transactions online requires the use of identifier codes called branch codes. These codes are assigned to every branch of a bank by its head office and you must endeavor to use the correct one for the branch where your account is domiciled. Along the line, the apex bank of South Africa took the responsibility of assigning each bank in the country with what is referred to as generic or universal branch code which has ultimately replaced the use of the branch codes. With the generic code, users are spared the cumbersome task of searching out the correct codes for their respective branches. The same result is achieved by using the generic code which is the same for all branches.

List Of South African Banks and Their Generic or Universal Branch Codes

South Africa
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In recent times, most South African banks have come to adopt diverse banking policies to conform with international standards and one of such policies is the use of generic code or universal branch code. The generic code fosters a smooth, quick, and hitch-free banking experience among users. Below is a comprehensive list of the top South African banks and their universal branch codes.

S/N Name of Bank Universal Bank Code
1. ABSA Bank 632005
2. Bank of Athens 410506
3. Bidvest Bank 462005
4. Nedbank 198765
5. SA Post Bank 460005
6. Standard Bank 051001
7. Capitec Bank 470010
8. FNB 254005
9. Investec Private Bank 580105

What is a Branch Code

Most people who did online transactions during the early days of internet banking would understand what a branch code means. It is simply a six-digit number telling you the exact location of the branch of a bank. This unique identification code is assigned to each branch under a particular bank or financial institution. It should also be noted that it is the responsibility of the head office to assign branch codes. In the complex world of finance, every branch of a bank can be easily recognized by its assigned branch code and in different countries of the world, the branch codes bear different names.

Though the advent of universal branch code changed the way South African banks carry out online transactions, it must be noted that branch code was used in completing transactions online in the past. A good example is when you want to pay bills on the alternative channels, you need to input the particular code of the branch where your account is domiciled, the 6-digit number is also used by the banks in the validation of online payments.

Banks and financial institutions leverage the branch codes to distinguish one branch from the other. Even before they check the name of a branch, the message is already conveyed by the branch code. The places to find branch codes are on passbooks, checkbooks, and websites. We should also note that every bank card bears the branch code. Its presence on cheque leaves and passbooks notwithstanding, the branch code is majorly for alternative channel users like mobile apps and internet banking. Using a branch code only becomes necessary when you are processing payments that are not going outside the country, thus, it is mostly used in local transactions.

Finding a branch code can be a herculean task; the reason is that banks in South Africa have established hundreds of branches all over the country, giving rise to a pool of branch codes to pick from. However, the same cannot be said for a bank’s universal branch code which is only one and very easy to find.

Generic or Universal Branch Code

Another name for the universal branch code is the generic code, it can also be referred to as common branch code. Like the branch codes, the generic codes are also six-digit numbers but that is where their similarities end. While the bank’s head office takes the responsibility of issuing all its branches with a branch code, it is the apex bank of South Africa that issues a universal branch code. Each bank gets one unique set of numbers that will be used by all branches under it, irrespective of their location.

The generic code obviously brought an end to the old days of cumbersome online transactions when users will be struggling to ensure that they are using the right code for their domiciled branch. Now, with the universal branch code, a customer can have a quick and seamless online transaction since the same code is used for every branch of the bank.

This has greatly helped in times of emergencies when you need to make urgent transfers on the internet to family and friends. Now, the regular beneficiaries of your online transfers can be set up in your beneficiary history as the generic code is already functional on the app and making transfers only require you to call up the individual from the existing history. Needless to say, the common branch code saves a lot of time and of course, it reduces stress and what’s more, it makes things easier for the banks in South Africa while processing your transaction.

When making payments on some websites, they may ask for your bank’s generic code before a transaction can be deemed completed. In banking, the use of the universal branch code is considered to be among the most user-friendly options and it is targeted towards achieving a better user experience. The present South African banking system now favors the use of generic code to give their clients a user-friendly banking experience.

What is the Difference Between a Universal Branch Code and a Branch Code?

There are a lot of differences between the branch code and the generic or universal branch code, they are listed below;

  • While it is the responsibility of a bank’s head office to issue branch codes, a country’s apex bank assigns generic codes
  • A branch code can only be used by a particular branch of a bank while a universal branch code is to be used by all the branches of a bank
  • The generic code is more user friendly and makes for the faster completion of online transactions
Chacha O
Chacha O
Chacha is a writer with a wealth of experience who has contributed across several channels. Her specialty includes celebrity lifestyle including how top movie stars, musicians, and comedians live their lives.


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