South Africa’s first digital bank is live – here’s everything you need to know

 ·26 Feb 2019

TymeBank has officially opened its digital doors to the public after a soft-launch in November last year.

The digital-only bank has launched with its EveryDay transactional account bundled with a savings tool called GoalSave, its MoneyTransfer solution and its TymeCoach App, which gives consumers free access to their credit report, supported by tips on how to make better decisions about money.

South Africa’s first fully digital bank has no branches, being hosted securely in the cloud, and says it will extend beyond the current suite of products over the coming months.

TymeBank is owned by African Rainbow Capital (ARC) Financial Services, a company within billionaire Patrice Motsepe’s Ubuntu-Botho Investments stable. It is South Africa’s first majority black owned bank focused on retail and business banking.

“We are planning to introduce credit products later this year, as well as an SME (small medium sized enterprise) proposition, but for now our focus is on getting simple and cost-effective banking solutions into people’s hands,” said TymeBank chief executive officer, Sandile Shabalala. “Our mission is to drive meaningful financial inclusion, by making banking more accessible to all South Africans.”

“We see it as our responsibility to take the complexity out of banking for consumers and to give them insights into how the financial system works.

“We believe that uncomplicated banking coupled with relevant knowledge will empower people to make more informed and responsible decisions about their own financial futures. Why shouldn’t banks be more transparent with customers about what they are paying for?”

ARC bought the bank from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in November 2018.

“TymeBank brought synergies that are complementary to ARC’s existing insurance and asset management businesses. Given ARC’s focus to, mostly, invest in businesses with established client pools, we’ll be looking for synergistic opportunities to the benefit of both the client and TymeBank,” said Tauriq Keraan, deputy CEO of TymeBank.

ARC will also be exploring the opportunity to offer affordable banking services to the client pools in the more than 40 investee companies in their portfolio as well as other business partners.

“TymeBank offers customers a unique value proposition. As TymeBank’s majority shareholder we support management to achieve their key objective of broadening access to banking for all people,” said Johan van Zyl, co-CEO of ARC.

Traditional banking in South Africa typically comes with operations that are expensive to maintain.

“We are leveraging our cloud-based technology which doesn’t come with a legacy burden and it’s one of the many reasons we’re able to pass cost savings onto the consumer. We have built an open banking platform, which allows us to move with speed with the partners we engage with,” said Shabalala.

TymeBank has created a network of partners including Pick n Pay and Boxer, with the former’s Smart Shopper programme now fully embedded into TymeBank’s technology stack.

“We’ve partnered with companies whose business ethos aligns with what we want to do in the market, which is to do good.

“The customer will always be at the centre of our banking practices and going forward we will be doing some really exciting things with our partners, it will go way beyond just occupying floor space,” said Shabalala.

By joining forces with Pick n Pay and Boxer stores TymeBank said it has access to a relatively significant distribution footprint.

“By the time we complete our bank kiosk roll-out we will have 730 points of presence where customers can open accounts inside a Pick n Pay or Boxer store – we have over 500 bank-enabled kiosks in the market today.”

Even in stores without a bank-enabled kiosk, customers can still do their everyday banking transactions, TymeBank said.

There are over 14,000 till points across the Pick n Pay and Boxer network, where customers can withdraw money free of charge and deposit money for just R4, said Shabalala.

In the run up to its official launch, TymeBank acquired over 80,000 customers.

“We have a strong proposition, which competitors will find hard to match right now and the tens of thousands of customers that have opened and are using their accounts are testament to that,” said Shabalala.

TymeBank is part of a trio of banks launching into the South African market in 2019, with the other two banks including Bank Zero, thew brainchild of former CEO of FNB, and Discovery Bank, which is expected to launch its app in March.

Signing up to TymeBank

Signing up to the bank is a simple process that requires no documents, and carries no charge.

To open an account, you need a South African ID number and a South African cellphone number, which the bank verifies through several questions and a One-Time PIN (OTP).

When registering, the group will ask you to verify your identity through questions like asking you to identify your name from a list of names, and others hinging off your information that is available from credit providers (“Is X amount of rand your average payment on your Edgars account?”), or other registries.

If the process is done at a kiosk, biometric data will be captured and compared to the data with Home Affairs, which is connected to the Tyme systems, and a free Visa debit card is issued immediately.

If done online, you will have access to your account, but it will be limited in how much you can transact until you go to a kiosk and “upgrade” your account (for free) to a full account through capturing biometric data, and registering your residential address.

You will also get a free debit card immediately.

FICA verification is done when you open or upgrade an account. Your ID number and thumbprints are checked electronically with the Department of Home Affairs. Your residential address and other personal information is confirmed against existing data when you answer a few easy questions.

Account profiles

Based on how well the bank ‘knows’ you, you will be given a banking profile. These profiles determine your account limits.

  • A “Just met” profile gives you an EveryDay bank account, access to the group’s saving tool and an account balance and transaction limits.
  • A “Getting to know you” profile is one that has biometric data captured at the kiosk, and gives you the benefits above, increases transaction limits, and gives you the free Visa card. Because of the partnership with Pick n Pay, the card also doubles Smart Shopper points earned if linked.
  • A “Good friends” profile is one that has residential address data captured. It has the benefits above, and again increases transaction limits, while offering interest of 6% interest from day 1, 7% after 30 days, 9% after 90 days. If you give 10 days’ notice after 90 days – you earn as much as 10%.


Service Fee
Registration Fee Free
Monthly Account Fee Free
Withdrawals Free at Pick n Pay and Boxer stores
R2 at other major retailers
R8 per R1,000 at all ATMs, countrywide
Deposits R4 at Pick n Pay and Boxer stores
Payments/Send Money Free to other TymeBank accounts
R2 for payments to accounts at other banks
Card Swipes Free
Balances Free


The bank limits the value of the transactions based on how well it knows you (your account profile), these are broken down as such.

Transaction Just met Getting to know you Good friends
Payment R2 000 R10 000 R100 000
Prepaid Purchase R1 000 R3 000 R3 000
Cash Withdrawal at PnP or Boxer R2 000 R5 000 R5 000
Cash Deposit R3 000 R20 000 R20 000
Daily transaction limit R2 000 R10 000 R100 000
Daily cash deposit limit R20 000 R20 000 R20 000
Monthly transaction limit R40 000 R100 000 R1 000 000
Monthly cash deposit limit R20 000 N/A N/A

The combined maximum balance for your Everyday account and GoalSave(s) for Just met is R20,000.

The combined maximum balance for your EveryDay account and GoalSave(s) for Getting to know you is R50,000.

The maximum balance for your EveryDay account on Good friends is R500,000 and the maximum balance for your GoalSave(s) is R100,000. The combined maximum balance for your Everyday account and GoalSave(s) is R500,000.

Read: Banks are at risk of becoming the new “dumb pipes”

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter