Bank Zero enters beta testing – with new details on how it will work

 ·27 Mar 2019

Michael Jordaan, the man behind Bank Zero, says that the bank is on track to launch in the second half of 2019.

The digital bank will compete with traditional banks, as well as newly launched Tyme Bank, and Discovery Bank which this week outlined how it will operate upon launch around July.

Bank Zero has been co-founded by CEO Yatin Narsai, and Jordaan, who will serve as chairman of the bank.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, the former FNB chief executive said that when customers receive a card the 16-digit card number no longer changes when the card is replaced. “This means you do not have to reset your card details for services like Netflix or Uber or online shopping,” he said.

Jordaan said that the bank is fully integrated into the National Payments System as a clearing and settlement bank. “Using our own core banking system made this quick and agile delivery possible.”

He said that the bank has officially implemented Electronic Funds Transfer capability and has started full end-to-end Beta testing by staff.

“Launch still planned for 2nd half of 2019,” he said.

He continued that business customers “will enjoy seamless integration with @Xero accounting software”, while the next steps for the bank will include: gradually inviting external Beta customers; implementing patented card technology, and full public operations in the second half of 2019.

Bank Zero said it would update potential customers ‘for the next few days’.

Bank Zero will make use of a mutual bank licence, which mirrors current social media trends and benefits customers by allowing for the support and creation of financial communities.

Mutual banks, or mutual savings banks, are banks that typically operate without capital stock, and is owned by its members who subscribe to a common fund.

This, the bank has said, will provide for a capital-efficient framework, and Bank Zero will be sharing the subsequent cost benefits with its customers (both businesses and individuals).

“Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram are the new normal for societies,” Jordaan has previously said.

“Why shouldn’t banks also innovate in this era of wider connectedness whilst still ensuring a robust banking value proposition? Bank Zero is addressing these realities while employing cutting-edge technologies and delivering state-of-the-art security.”

As such Bank Zero will not offer credit, will be entirely digital, and will handle all of its services and communications via an app.

In this way, it is going against the traditional banking grain, and targeting a younger, more tech-savvy market that wants to do their banking the same way they interact with other digital media.

The bank’s website also states the following:

  • There will be no branches.
  • To access cash, customers can use ATMs locally and internationally. Cash-out at major local retailers will also be available.
  • All processes have been designed from the ground up with digital interaction in mind.
  • All communication will be app-driven. Email communication will also be available.
  • Customers can become shareholders, based on the type of savings products they have.

Read: Discovery Bank hints at fee structure

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter