This is how Bank Zero plans to make its bank cards different to any other in South Africa

On Wednesday (13 November), Bank Zero announced that it has begun closed trials on its new debit card ahead of its planned official launch in 2020.

The bank said that this new card has been patented and includes a number of new security features.

“To protect customers from (the traumatic experience of fraud), Bank Zero has designed a new patented card which offers vital security and convenience.

“This patent will dramatically minimise the negative impact of card data theft and card skimming on Bank Zero customers,” the new bank said.

While the bank itself did not provide further information on how these cards will be different from other bank’s offerings, a 2018 patent filing by the group shows how the card may function.

The patent shows what appears to be a normal debit card, however the key difference is that the card can have three different account numbers associated with it for different payment types.

There are effectively three account numbers contained within the card:

  • The first is a set of alphanumeric numbers displayed on the front of the card;
  • The card also includes a magnetic stripe which has data within it – including a card number;
  • The card also includes a processor with an associated memory module (the chip seen on the card). This memory also has data and a card number attached to it.

Current banks typically offer one number on a card linked to one account – and different types of accounts (credit, debit, petrol) require different numbers with different cards.

However, the patent filing shows that the three different card numbers on the Bank Zero card could be three different credit card numbers, debit card numbers or private card numbers – or a mixture of these.

These cards may also be used for different types of transactions, it shows.

“For example, the first card number could be a credit card number for magnetic swipes only, the second card number could be a debit card number for online purchases only and the third card number could be a private card number for tap & dip purchases only.”

“As three different card numbers are stored on the card, the present invention enables separate processes to be implemented for each card number.

“This means that a card issuer can now process transactions based on the card implementation characteristics. Both authorisation and settlement processes are simplified and thereby better managed.”

The drawing included with the patent is posted below, along with a brief summary of the labels.

  • 10 – Bank Zero Card
  • 12 – Alphanumeric card number 1
  • 14 – Magnetic stripe card number 2
  • 16 – EMV chip card number 3


Read: Bank Zero begins countdown to opening day

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This is how Bank Zero plans to make its bank cards different to any other in South Africa