Bank Zero vs TymeBank — Battle for the best affordable digital bank

South Africa’s newest digital bank, Bank Zero, offers few features and pricing benefits over TymeBank, another digital-focused which launched more than two years ago, a MyBroadband comparison has shown.

Following Bank Zero’s launch last week, commentators pointed out that it was entering a proverbial digital banking battlefield in the country.

While its key value propositions were unique when Bank Zero was first announced in January 2018, many other banks have since introduced zero-monthly-fee accounts with similar transactional capabilities.

We compared TymeBank and Bank Zero to see which offered the cheapest fees and boasted the best features.

Bank Zero currently offers a single account for personal and business use, while TymeBank provides an EveryDay Personal and EveryDay Business account.

For our comparison, we focused on the pricing and features of EveryDay Personal, as it was suited to the more general user.

There is little that sets Bank Zero or TymeBank apart regarding the types of transactions customers can do on their accounts.

Bank Zero lacks one conventional banking feature — cash deposits.

With more retailers going cashless and a general shift towards digital transactions, this is not a major issue for affluent customers.

However, it may be problematic for small business owners who have to accept cash from customers.

Bank Zero told MyBroadband that it intends to add cash deposits, together with several other services, at a later date.

While Bank Zero does not offer cash deposits, it offers several features that TymeBank does not, such as:

  • A QR code payment system that lets customers make payments to other Bank Zero accounts.
  • Requiring in-app approvals for all online purchases made using your card.
  • New debit order notifications, with the ability to reject them.

For both bank accounts, most transactions are free, including card payments, EFTs, inter-account transfers, and debit orders.

Bank Zero does charge a once-off fee to issue customers with their Mastercard personalised card, which will set you back R79 if you opt to collect it at a Pargo pickup point at Clicks.

For R139, you can get it delivered to you if you are within a metropolitan area, while rural residents will have to pay R179 for this service.

TymeBank’s Visa debit card is free but can only be collected from Pick ‘n Pay or Boxer outlets.

The table below compares the fees for various banking services on Bank Zero and TymeBank’s EveryDay Personal account.

Banking fees comparison 
Item Bank Zero TymeBank EveryDay Personal
Basic transaction fees
Monthly account fee R0 (R5 if dormant for six months) R0
Card payments R0 R0
Online purchases (local) R0 R0
Transfer money between own accounts R0 R0
EFT payment to own bank R0 R0
EFT payment to other bank R0 R0
SendMoney to account at same bank R0 R0
SendMoney to self – cardless cash withdrawal R8.50 R0
SendMoney to someone at other bank R8.50 R6.00
Debit order fee R0 R0
Buy prepaid data, airtime, electricity on app R0 R0
Nuisance fees (insufficient funds, card locked, exceeding limits, etc.) R2.00 R3.00
Statements and notifications
Send proof of payment via email R0 R0
Send proof of payment via SMS R1.50 R0
Receive transaction notifications R0 R0
Request monthly account statement R0 R0
Request historic account statements Up to 3 months:
R0, thereafter R10.00 per statement
Up to 12 months:
R0
Transaction notifications R0 R0
Proof/letter of account R0 R0
Cash withdrawals and balance enquiries
Draw cash from ATM R9.00 per R1,000.00 R10.00 per R1,000.00
Draw cash at Point-of-Sale R2.00 PnP & Boxer: R0.00
Other retailers: R3.00
Balance enquiry POS or ATM: R2.00 ATM: R3.00
Card fees
Initial card issuing fee (collection) Clicks: R79.00 Pick ‘n Pay or Boxer: R0.00
Initial card issuing fee (delivery) Metro: R139.00
Rural: R179
Not available
Card replacement As above R60.00
Dispute fees
Dispute or stop debit order R8.00 Within 40 days, using customer care centre: R0.00
Normal: R9.00
Older than 40 days: R60.00
Dispute card transaction R30.00 R9.00
Cash deposits
First cash deposit at a till point Not available R0
Cash deposit at partner till point Not available R6.00

Interest rates for savings

For those looking to earn the best possible interest on the money in their account, a like-for-like comparison between the two banks’ savings offerings is difficult.

However, TymeBank offers higher interest rates overall than Bank Zero.

Bank Zero offers more conventional interest rates on deposits based on the amount the customer puts in and the notice period for accessing these funds.

For example, a 32-day notice account with more than R1,000 will earn 2.6% annual interest.

Interest rates vary between 2.1% on savings deposits of less than R1,000 and go up to 3.9% on a 45-day notice deposit.

The table below summarises the different interest rates you will get for various types of deposits on a Bank Zero account.

Bank Zero deposit interest rates
Amount Savings 7-day notice 32-day Notice 45-day Notice
Up to R1,000 2,10% 2,15% 2,20% 2,30%
Over R1,000 2,20% 2,25% 2,60% 2,70%
Over R25,000 2,50% 2,60% 3,10% 3,25%
R50k 2,95% 3,05% 3,40% 3,50%
Over R100,000 3,05% 3,20% 3,55% 3,70%
Over R500,000 3,10% 3,30% 3,60% 3,80%
Over R1 million 3,15% 3,35% 3,70% 3,90%

TymeBank gives customers higher interest rates based on how long they save their money with its GoalSave offering.

This interest rate can go up to 8% if you opt to have your salary paid into your TymeBank account and have been saving for more than 90 days.

Customers can create up to 10 GoalSave accounts, provided that the money being saved does not total more than R100,000.

Below are the interest rates customers get on TymeBank’s GoalSave based on the length of their investment and other optional features.

TymeBank GoalSave interest rates
Length of saving Notice period Interest rate
1-30 days 0 days 4%
31-90 days 0 days 5%
90+ days 0 days 6%
90+ days 10 days 7%
90+ days plus salary is paid into TymeBank account 10 days 8%

Now read: How Bank Zero makes money

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Bank Zero vs TymeBank — Battle for the best affordable digital bank