The more tech-savvy generation is geared toward using mobile applications not only for entertainment or shopping but also for banking activities. Financial institutions and digital disruptors are seeing the demand, and they’re answering the call by developing app-based digital banks.
Both incumbents and challengers in the financial industry have come up with online solutions that can be used by customers for personal banking services.
Here are the popular digital banks in South Africa you can try:
TymeBank prides itself on being the first fully digital bank in South Africa. It offers current accounts, money transfer, and savings tools, as well as free financial guidance.
TymeBank is owned by African Rainbow Capital – a fully black-owned investment company and retail bank. Their headquarters is situated in Johannesburg and they run a completely branchless business model. This allows them to greatly reduce fees passed on to consumers.
TymeBank can be accessed online or through a mobile app. There are also over 700+ TymeBank kiosks spread throughout the country where you can open an account and get your linked Visa debit card.
There are three account types you can receive, depending on how much information you’ve provided in your profile. The transaction limit, interest rate, and account limit will all depend on the level of your banking profile.
Features and Benefits:
- No monthly account fees
- Free withdrawal on Pick n Pay and Boxer stores
- Free balance checking
- Free card swipes
- Free payments and money send functions to other TymeBank accounts
Spot Money offers a digital bank account with no monthly fees. Use the mobile app to scan any QR code to pay. Setup temporary virtual cards to shop securely online. Spot Money is offered from the Virgin Money South Africa team and currently partnered with BidVest Bank.
The latest version of the Spot Money app has been developed using Distributed Ledger Technology (Blockchain). utilising the technology’s speed and security. This means that users can now use the app without needing to link to a 3D secured bank card. Using blockchain technology, all payments and referral rewards are paid into your Spot Wallet instantly (instead of going via credit or debit bank card. New and existing customers can link straight to their bank accounts to cash out money from their Digital Wallets.
Features and Benefits
- Instantly create no-monthly-fee accounts and virtual cards
- Get loans and insurance offers in the open banking marketplace
- Send cash to friends on Spot, it’s fast, free and secure
- Tap to pay with your Spot card or Android device
- Earn cash when you shop at any of our cashback partners
Discovery Bank prides itself as the first “behavioural bank”. What does that even mean?
According to Discovery Bank, they’re here not just to store your money but also to help you make better financial decisions. Their goal is to incentivise good financial behavior until it becomes a habit.
Discovery Bank is the project of the Johannesburg-based company Discovery which used to focus on providing insurance policies and investment plans. With the introduction of the digital bank, they aim to motivate people to save more by designing the app like a game.
The digital bank can be accessed through a smartphone app and is partnered with a Visa debit card. It can be used for savings, transactions, and loans.
What makes Discovery Bank different from other digital banks in South Africa is how it rewards you for managing your money better. Saving more money, for instance, will give you access to better interest rates on your savings account or dynamic discounts on select stores.
Discovery Bank makes it fun to save cash with the help of the “Vitality Money” tool which tracks the status of your financial situation against the goals you set on the app.
Every goal achieved corresponds to a certain number of points. Seeing the Vitality bar move for every good financial action you take is an effective way to motivate you to earn more points.
Features and Benefits:
- Using your Discovery Bank for shopping will also earn you Discovery Miles points.
- Earn dynamic discounts like 100% cashback when you shop at Woolworths or Pick n Pay.
- Buy airtime, data, and SMS bundles at discounted rates using the Discovery Bank app.
- A chance to get a new phone when you achieve all Vitality Active Rewards goals within 24 months.
- Pay anyone using just their cell phone number.
Capitec welcomes the tech trend with their mobile app for digital banking. It allows you to bank anywhere 24/7 once you’ve downloaded and activated the app.
With the Capitec Remote Banking app, you can make payments, do credit facility transfers, view credit rating, stop stolen or lost cards, and apply for insurance plans that the bank offers.
Features and Benefits:
- Zero data charges for Cell C, MTN, Telkom Mobile, and Vodacom subscribers when using the app
- Discounted beneficiary payments
- Personalised and customisable home screen
- Track your spending using the app
- Contactless card transactions
FNB is one of the biggest banks in South Africa and they’re riding the trend by providing a mobile app of their own.
The FNB mobile app provides a fast and convenient way to conduct everyday internet banking. Transfers, accounts and balances, payments, cardless withdrawals, and global payments are all possible through the app.
Features and benefits:
- Payments to beneficiaries
- Send money using your eWallet
- FNB Pay at contactless POS
- Cashback rewards on global transactions
- Stop cheques and debit orders
- Send or receive money with the FNB banking app even without their bank details
Standard Bank offers digital banking for both personal and business users.
Standard Bank’s MyMo app provides the usual banking functions for personal transactions like savings, payments, and money transfers.
The app for business users allows you to manage overdrafts, business loans, and revolving credits. You can also apply for payment, lending, investment, and merchant solutions with the app.
Features and benefits:
- Apply for personal loans
- Get stamped bank statements
- Change card limits
- Open new savings and investment accounts
- Get loan pre-approval
- Buy SMS or data bundles
Special Mention: Bank Zero
Bank Zero is an up and coming mobile app-based digital bank in South Africa that aims to foster collaborative savings communities across the country. The company is working on offering decent interest rates to encourage more citizens to bank with them.
The launch of Bank Zero was meant to take place in 2020. However, due the impact of Covid it has now been delayed to some time in 2021. Bank Zero is still in the beta testing phase and they continue to sign-up new customers for this beta stage.
Digital banks in South Africa are booming because of their convenience, better rates, and low maintenance level. They’re accessible 24/7 and they’re relatively more secure because you don’t have to hold on to physical cash to conduct transactions.
Digital banks introduced by incumbents provide easy access to their services, while those offered by challengers have more innovative features that traditional institutions don’t offer.
We suggest that you try both solutions to check which of them best suits your preference. It won’t hurt to give technology a try especially when the offer is free.