Bank Zero has officially gone live with its debit card, which it said is the last step in completing its core value proposition.
Following this launch, the bank will conduct rigorous security and system tests by simulating card attacks and testing card fraud detection.
After this process has completed, the final countdown to starting public operations will begin.
According to SABRIC, South African card holders suffered R873 million in theft last year. Bank Zero said its patented card offers security to protect customers from this danger.
“During the development of Bank Zero, no traditional banking systems were bought nor was any outsourcing done – these are expensive yet conventional solutions,” said Bank Zero CEO Yatin Narsai.
“We wanted to create an exciting customer offering which required building our own systems.”
Narsai explained that in just over a year, three large payment rails were created, each from a clean slate:
- Direct integration into the South African Reserve Bank’s system in order to become a settlement bank
- Electronic payments (EFTs) and debit orders, establishing Bank Zero as a clearing bank
- Issuing and processing of debit cards
Path to public launch
The debit card is currently live in a beta stage, with Bank Zero planning to launch a public offering in the first half of 2020.
“Zero pricing, along with our advanced card security, are just some of the ways in which we make our customers’ lives easier. We also bring special functionality around social connectedness, transparency, control, advanced payments and a focus on savings,” Yatin said.
“Feature-rich banking must never force customers into paying exorbitant fees.”
Bank Zero said the following steps would need to be completed before it officially begins public operations:
- Add the final ‘shine’ to the Android and iOS Apps for both individuals and businesses
- Put the patented card through its paces by actively using the first cards which recently arrived
- Confirm that regulatory reporting is in order
- Perform the annual disaster recovery test
- Ensure that cards can be used internationally
- Confirm security and performance testing to ensure Bank Zero’s systems can handle massive volumes
- Implement a standby system, enabling maintenance without inconveniencing customers
- Fine-tune and complete the build-out of the customer service model
- Extend current beta testing
- Start public operations
“Open-source technology combined with a scientific design approach delivered this card in record time. Mastercard teams from South Africa, India and the USA were closely involved in validating and commissioning this card solution,” said Bank Zero chair Michael Jordaan.
“IBM’s global expertise in encrypted card security was also tapped into. Globally, banks are big spenders on such projects, often spanning multiple years, but sweat capital along with an integrated business-and-tech design approach is our strategic advantage.”
“The last mile is always the hardest. You can walk this last mile with us by following our tweets,” Jordaan added.