Bank Zero recently announced that it had begun trials in preparation for the launch of its commercial banking service in mid-2019.
This alpha testing phase involves a small group of users who will put the bank’s live systems and processes through their paces.
Bank Zero will be completely app-driven, and promises to offer clients lower fees, richer functionality, transparency, and better control.
The bank will not have branches, and customers can use ATMs locally and internationally to access cash.
The signup process for Bank Zero will also be completely electronic to make it easy for new clients to open an account.
Banking should be free
Bank Zero has the backing of former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan, who said the problem they want to solve is high bank fees in South Africa.
Speaking to the SABC, Jordaan said that just like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, banking should be free to users.
While Bank Zero did not announce what its fees will be yet, Jordaan said there is a hint in its name as to what consumers can expect.
Bank Zero has further partnered with Mastercard to develop a “new generation of card” to deliver “cutting-edge security and other unique features”.
Jordaan said Bank Zero’s new generation EMV (Europay Mastercard Visa) smart card will have lots of new functionality which will be revealed at launch.
EMV is a global payment standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions.
Jordaan would not divulge exactly what consumers can expect from the new Bank Zero card, but did said it will be similar to the improvements which WhatsApp offer over SMS.
“We have some nice surprises up our sleeve with the card, but it is unfortunately just too early to reveal them now,” he said.
Because Bank Zero is a smartphone-based platform, Jordaan said they made certain that the system is very secure and protected against hackers.
“We have a very secure solution which is encrypted from the server all the way to a client’s smartphone,” said Jordaan.
Bank Zero is also going to use biometric features and location-based services on smartphones to add an additional layer of security.
“It will be one of the most secure banks that has been launched – not only in South Africa but in the world,” said Jordaan.