Bank Zero announced it has been integrated with the national payments system of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and is set to begin trial runs in preparation for the launch of its banking platform.
The bank’s CFO, Liné Wiid, said that settling directly with the SARB rather than through a sponsoring bank allows Bank Zero to control its own payments value chain and nurture a “savings culture”.
“Creating a savings culture means shifting mindsets from ‘I want a car; I want expensive credit now’ to ‘I have a savings goal; I’ll buy a car later’,” Wiid said.
Bank Zero CEO Yatin Narsai said that the alpha testing milestone is a major achievement, with most institutions investing billions simply to reach this stage.
The bank’s alpha testing phase will see a small team validating the bank’s end-to-end live systems and processes.
Bank Zero said its approach to building a bank uses precise, “laboratory-style testing” and focuses on a number of key areas.
These focus areas include building an integrated banking app, testing customer experience and on-boarding, completing disaster recovery tests, and complying with all regulatory reporting as required by the SARB.
A new generation of bank card
Bank Zero also announced it has collaborated with Mastercard to develop a “new generation of card” aimed at providing cutting-edge security and powerful, unique features.
“We are excited to be partnering with Bank Zero in driving payment innovation while catering to the evolving needs of today’s connected, increasingly mobile and digital customers,” said Mastercard South Africa division president Mark Elliott.
Mastercard added that it will provide the latest security protocols to protect Bank Zero customers from fraud and identity theft.
The bank also announced it has partnered with IBM to implement enterprise-grade security on its servers, although it noted that it leverages a hybrid cloud model to deliver flexibility.
“Building a bank is hard work; building an innovative bank is exponentially harder,” said Bank Zero co-founder and chairman Michael Jordaan.
Bank Zero will begin beta testing during the first quarter of 2019 and expects public operations to begin around mid-2019.