Discovery CEO Adrian Gore and Discovery Bank CEO Barry Hore have announced the official launch of Discovery Bank at a media briefing in Sandton, Johannesburg.
The bank is set to open to customers in early 2019 and will be completely digital, with products designed to improve the money management of clients.
Discovery Bank is built around behavioural economics and leverages a similar rewards model to the company’s Vitality programme.
Gore described Discovery Bank as a “behavioural bank” which is built on a shared-value model.
Discovery Bank aims to be the first bank in South Africa that works to address behaviours leading to poor financial outcomes, he added.
“As with all Discovery products, Discovery Bank has been designed around people, not for them,” the company said.
“It can also be integrated with other Discovery products, resulting in more affordable life insurance, faster growing investments, smarter insurance, and convenient health payments.”
Integration with existing platforms
The bank will also offer a number of personalised tools, using data from various sources to deliver spend management and financial planning features to customers.
Gore said the bank would offer interest rates based on a client’s Vitality Money status, with Diamond customers having lower interest rates.
These integrations with existing Discovery products will enable users to access better interest rates, life insurance premiums, and more accessible payments to these services.
Gore reiterated that gamified rewards that have worked well for the company will be integrated with the bank.
He added that Vitality reward points can also be fully monetised and deposited into a Discovery Bank account.
“Significant progress has been made in developing infrastructure, operating processes, and the customer value proposition,” Gore said.
Discovery Bank links interest rates directly to client behaviour, allowing them to earn more interest on savings and to pay less interest on credit as they improve their financial behaviour with Vitality Money.
The bank further leverages the Vitality programme to offer clients dynamic discounts which enhance Vitality’s incentives.
Gore said that the bank’s primary target market at launch would be its existing medical aid clients, and especially its Discovery Card users.
He added that the bank’s expanded target market would include almost all income brackets along with all private medical aid clients.
Gore said that Discovery would also be constructing its own airport lounges, and that Discovery Bank customers would have free access to these facilities.
Discovery Bank will offer a basic Discovery 1 account in addition to a comprehensive Discovery 1 Plus product.
Discovery 1 will be offered as the bank’s core account, functioning as a fusion of the Discovery credit card and a transactional account.
Customers will earn an interest rate on their account balances and the product includes a Vitality savings account – into which all the cashbacks and rebates from Vitality will be paid.
The Discovery 1 Plus account will offer a more comprehensive experience, including separate credit and transactional functionality and dynamic interest rates.
There will be no set fees for the Discovery 1 account, with customers instead paying as they transact.
The Discovery 1 Plus account will include a bundled market-related fee which Discovery said it will not yet disclose, but all transactions will be free.
Additionally, all Discovery Bank payments reflect instantly and the bank offers real-time EFTs to all other banks in addition to third-party payment platforms such as Samsung Pay.
The bank’s credit card sports a unique vertical design, with the text and EMV chip arranged in a portrait orientation.
As the bank has no physical branches, customers can register by simply downloading the Discovery Bank app on their smartphone.
Users can then take a selfie to verify their identity and sign up after they are confirmed against a database.
“We have been testing the bank’s core systems for around a year,” Gore said.
He added that the bank will launch in a beta phase until March, and will not be available to the public until this phase is completed.
Tech expert Aki Anastasiou attended the event and posted several photos to Twitter of the Discovery Bank presentation, shown below.