Stumbled upon this: https://root.co.za/
"Root is a lightweight bank account designed to be accessible through code.
With our API you can build your own interface and control your money programmatically."
But. It's being proposed by a company with no track record in software (they are a recruitment agency) and they are known for self-promotion.
Their "partner" substandard bank is the least innovative bank in SA, with a terrible fear of technology. And worse, look how well 20twenty turned out in substandard's loving hands.
I love the idea. I think RSA is a bad place to debut it: our small population of technically savvy people who would want this product (and would be willing to deal with substandard bank as well) is too small. It would really only be the developers amongst us. I see a better test market somewhere like Poland where the market is small but the proportion of tech-savvy people is much higher; alongside a similar proportion of actual developers. There, (and in other countries) the developers could use root's API to make useful apps that people actually use.
Here, you can do the same but your target market is effectively your girlfriend, your mom, her mom. And a couple of friends.
As I said, I think it's a great idea.
But until there is an actual product (not an unreleased pre-beta) I'm going to be sceptical.
Plus... The first silicon valley startup to steal the idea will overwhelm an SA dev house in terms of available cash and available developers to throw at the idea, and even though production costs here are cheap; Offerzen won't be able to compete.
Which is a shame; they are great guys and are punting something pretty innovative- for the world, not just RSA.
But JS is also tradionally a language learnt early on by beginners who a liable to terrible mistakes (apologies to the node, react, angular etc guys) and the simple examples on the website do not give me much confidence that I might not go on a drunken, ( and non-unit-tested ) experiment one evening and wind up with nothing in my bank account. And I am a programmer with 17 years in JS. Who is to know what horrors a 1st year student is going to wreak?
There's no mention of a sandbox let alone tests. Plus there's scant mention of interaccounts security. How can I be sure someone else's malicious JS is not being executed on "my" account?
I realise they've probably made exceptions and limits for security, but what about overconfident stupidity? Using their example (from the Offerzen blog) each time I transact I could round the total up to the nearest R5, putting that money away for a holiday in Thailand.
But is there any protection from my typo, and suddenly I am rounding up to R500... and my "Thailand holiday" account is a 30 day notice account?
Banks have to deal with human stupidity all the time. But allowing coders to invent their own form of stupidity, with (apparently) no safe "sandbox" seems like a bad, bad idea.