Which ATMs Work Best in SA?


The word “Big” is important in Africa: you have your Big Men, the Big Five, and, in the world of SA finance, the Big Four banks. These are: ABSA, First National, Nedbank and Standard.

Each bank has its own ATM, and each ATM has its own quirks. For instance, at an ABSA ATM, your card always comes out before your cash, which can lead to worry that your request has been rejected. And sometimes ATMs are stubbornly resistant to foreign cards, heaven knows why.

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  • The rule of thumb when choosing an ATM to draw cash from is: remember the Xmas colors, red and green.
  • Red and green ATMs work 99% of the time. (Red is ABSA’s color; green is Nedbank’s.)

Avoid blue ATMs if possible (light blue is First National’s; dark blue Standard’s) – they simply don’t work as well.