New digital banks coming to South Africa

Time to shake up South Africa’s banking market, say the aspiring challengers.

FinTech Futures has put collectively an inventory of the present challenger banks and banking providers in South Africa and the tech they’re utilizing.

We’ll be revisiting and updating this checklist regularly. You probably have any additions to the checklist, please get in contact with our editorial team.

Final up to date: 31 July 2019

Bank Zero

A brand new challenger mutual financial institution launched its first trial runs in autumn 2018 as soon as it acquired the banking licence. By spring 2019 it was in beta testing. It plans to open for enterprise in H2 2019.

Financial institution Zero was co-founded by former senior executives of FNB: Lezanne Human, Michael Jordaan and Yatin Narsai.

It’s mobile-driven, 45% black-owned an 20% women-owned.

It would deal with the financial savings marketplace for people and companies – offering transactional accounts (with a linked debit card) together with financial savings and different money funding accounts.

Financial institution Zero built-in with the nationwide funds methods of the South African Reserve Financial institution (SARB).

It has additionally been working with Mastercard to develop a “new technology of card” to ship safety and different distinctive options.

IBM offers Financial institution Zero with safety on its open-source based mostly LinuxONE enterprise server by its encryption expertise.

Jordaan describes the financial institution’s core system as “revolutionary”. It’s understood the financial institution has constructed its personal again workplace/core banking software program.

“The mutual banking idea mirrors present social media traits and advantages prospects by permitting for the help and creation of monetary communities,” Financial institution Zero says on its web site.

“In a world of numbers, citizen Zero stands tall.”

Barko Financial Services (BFS)

A microfinance establishment with HQ in Ludenburg and 170 branches. BFS has been in existence since 1996, and in 2019 it unveiled plans to use for a licence to launch a retail financial institution.

BFS says it provides “an moral and revolutionary credit score resolution to formally employed and undeserved staff”. Its goal market, it explains, is the thousands and thousands of modest-earning, however salaried South Africans, authorities staff, mineworkers and civil servants”.

For its expertise, BFS opted for front-to-back workplace software program from Temenos – Temenos T24 Transact (core banking) and Temenos Infinity (front-end supply channels) – hosted within the cloud.

Bettr Finance

An alternate banking service for on a regular basis transactional use. It provides a low-cost account and app powered by a debit card. It’s not open for enterprise but, however customers can be part of the ready checklist on the corporate’s web site.

Bettr isn’t a totally licensed financial institution, so it is going to be counting on a sponsoring financial institution.

“Bettr is a digital banking expertise powered by your smartphone,” it says on its web site.

The corporate was based in 2015 by Tobie van Zyl (CEO), Andrzej Stempowski (CTO, previously from Westpac) and Angus Brown (ex-COO, he left the corporate in March 2018). Brown left in early 2018. Ryan Brüssow is Bettr’s chief digital officer (CDO).

Discovery Bank

Discovery, a well-established South African monetary/insurance coverage providers group, acquired the inexperienced gentle from the regulators to arrange a financial institution in H2 2016. By mid-2019, the financial institution began to onboard the primary prospects.

The brand new financial institution is the “world’s first behavioural financial institution”, the group says. It’s based mostly on the “behavioural” mannequin Discovery makes use of to reward its life and medical insurance prospects for his or her life-style selections.

To the tip of December 2018, a complete of ZAR 6 billion ($432.7 million) was invested in Discovery Financial institution by its mother or father. Of this, over half – ZAR three.28 billion ($236.5 million) – was paid to FirstRand Group to amass the bulk stake within the Discovery Card bank card unit. Discovery Card has 250,000+ prospects. ZAR 1.31 billion ($94.5 million) went in the direction of regulatory capital invested within the financial institution and ZAR 1.42 billion ($102.three million) incurred in Discovery Central Companies on the construct capital expenditure, take a look at capital expenditure and hardware infrastructure.

It’s understood that SAP, Infosys and Oracle FSS bid to provide their expertise to Discovery Financial institution.


While Postbank’s roots return to 1875 (when a authorities financial institution was first established), it at present operates throughout the South African Submit Workplace group, exempt from the nation’s Banking Act, which permits it to supply solely fundamental monetary providers. The financial institution provides financial savings/deposit merchandise, digital transfers and transactional accounts with a debit card.

Since 2010, the South African authorities has been planning to arrange Postbank as an unbiased, fully-fledged financial institution – enabling it to compete with different banks in South Africa. In spring 2019, the Division of Telecommunications and Postal Companies introduced the institution of the South African Postbank Firm, which is about to take over Postbank from Submit Workplace.

The Monetary Issues Modification Invoice, adopted in early 2019 by the parliament, has paved the way in which for Postbank to get a banking licence from SARB.


TymeBank totally opened for enterprise in early 2019 and claims to be South Africa’s “first totally digital financial institution”. It’s based mostly in Johannesburg.

The financial institution was formally based in 2012 below the title of TYME. In 2015, it was acquired by Commonwealth Financial institution of Australia (CBA) and have become TymeDigital.

Three years later CBA offered it to African Rainbow Capital, which describes itself as a “totally black-owned and managed funding firm”. The bulk shareholding of African Rainbow Capital makes TymeBank “the primary majority black-owned retail financial institution in South Africa”, the brand new proprietor says.

Its principal providing is an EveryDay Account, which is takes 5 minutes to open on-line or on the kiosks in Choose n Pay and Boxer shops (that are outfitted with real-time biometric recognition), comes with a Visa debit card, and has no month-to-month charges however pay-as-you-use prices. The account additionally provides a financial savings device, cash switch performance and purchasing factors when utilizing the cardboard.

For its expertise, TymeBank makes use of Mambu’s core banking system, hosted within the AWS cloud. The financial institution is known to be Mambu’s first taker within the area.

180 IT employees labored on creating its digital platform.

Inside service orchestration, fee flows, and backend providers are developed in Java as microservices on the Netflix stack, in accordance with TymeBank’s CIO, Dieter Botha. The financial institution embraced Fb’s React framework in creating the web-based buyer channels, whereas the Android app was developed utilizing Java.

It makes use of machine knowledge platform Splunk’s cyber incident monitoring capabilities, which suggests the financial institution’s cyber-response staff “listens” to greater than 40GB of community site visitors a day.

In spring 2019 it launched Max, an AI-powered conversational assistant, to assist customers find out about private finance. The expertise was offered by Canadian tech agency Finn AI.

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