Bank Zero plans to launch a controlled public beta early in the second half of 2020.
This is according to Bank Zero co-founder Michael Jordaan, who told MyBroadband those who join this public beta will be selected from interested parties who supplied their details on the Bank Zero website.
“At first this will be small groups which will then be enlarged over time,” said Jordaan.
He said the Bank Zero team will use feedback from these customers to improve its processes and functionality.
“This type of beta launch is quite common in the tech world and the opposite of large, often hyped launches in the corporate world,” said Jordaan.
“We’re not planning a big launch event or media spend and our efforts will rather be to listen to and act on early customer feedback.”
Jordaan said that Bank Zero will cater both to individuals and businesses, and that in the business segment Bank Zero has two goals.
Firstly, he said the banking fees paid by businesses is extremely high and can be reduced significantly.
Secondly, Jordaan explained that business owners require a range of functionality that can be solved on a smartphone – meaning these owners will not need to go to branches or interact with bank representatives.
“We hope to make further announcements in the next few weeks on milestones that have been achieved since our last press release,” said Jordaan.
Jordaan added that Bank Zero is in the process of putting the finishing touches on its platform’s functionality, and is conducting end-to-end testing.
“The mobile-only thinking behind Bank Zero would of course be ideal in the current lockdown state, so the team is working very hard on their development sprints so that we can start the controlled public beta,” said Jordaan.
As it appears that cash can be a transmitter of COVID-19, contactless payments made on a smartphone are an “obvious answer” in the payment space.
Working from home
Jordaan said that because the Bank Zero team all used to work in a single, open-plan office, it could not afford a single COVID-19 infection at the company.
For this reason, Bank Zero staff began working from home before the lockdown was announced.
“As a large part of the team are software developers, this did not affect the nature of their work too much,” said Jordaan.
He said that as everyone in the team has a broadband connection, they switched to Zoom for interactions.
“Nevertheless, the absence of all face-to-face meetings is not ideal and in some cases resulted in slightly lower efficiency than we would have liked,” said Jordaan.