South Africans searching for a bank that doesn’t require branch visits for several services can opt for one of the country’s digital banks.
The country has seen the launch of several digital banks in recent years, including TymeBank, BankZero, and Discovery Bank.
These banks have established themselves as the most-prominent digital banking solutions in South Africa.
The banks differ in terms of the benefits they offer.
Discovery Bank can be linked to your medical aid and Vitality rewards account and uses a shared-value banking model.
TymeBank is supported at Pick n Pay and Boxer stores across South Africa and can be accessed without exorbitant fees.
Bank Zero offers robust security features and an entirely app-based banking experience.
MyBroadband compared the digital banks in terms of their interest rates, fees, and benefits.
|Digital banking comparison|
|Digital bank fees||Discovery Bank||Bank Zero||TymeBank|
|Monthly account fee||R90 – R325||Free||Free|
|Cash withdrawal at ATM||Free||R9 per R1,000||R10 per R1,000|
|Cash deposit||R19.95 per R5,000||N/A*||R7|
|Interest rates||2% – 4.85%||2.45% – 4.15%||4% – 8%|
|* Bank Zero does not offer cash deposits|
TymeBank offers one personal banking account — the EveryDay Account — aimed at affordability and accessibility.
The bank charges customers no monthly fees, account initiation fee, initial card issuing fee, or card usage fees.
Cash withdrawals at Pick n Pay and Boxer till points are free, but it costs R10 to withdraw from an ATM and R3 at other major retailers.
TymeBank customers can expect to pay R4 for cash deposits at Pick n Pay and Boxer stores.
The digital bank also offers a GoalSave feature, through which customers can receive up to 8% interest.
Swiping a TymeBank debit card at any point of sale will earn you Pick n Pay Smart Shopper points, and the amount received is doubled when spending at a Pick n Pay. The same applies to online shopping.
Customers can also use TymeBank’s SendMoney feature to transfer funds to anyone with a South African cellphone number, and the service is free when transferring to another TymeBank account.
When paying a non-TymeBank customer, clients will incur a fee of R7.
The fees charged by TymeBank’s EveryDay Account are summarised below.
|TymeBank EveryDay account|
|SMS transaction notification||R0.30|
|Cash withdrawal with a debit card at till||R3.00|
|Debit card balance enquiry at ATM|
|Debit card, debit order & ATM decline fee (insufficient funds or incorrect pin)|
|Cash deposit with TymeCode (Pick n Pay and Boxer till points)||R7.00|
|Cash deposit with TymeBank Visa debit card (Pick n Pay and Boxer till points)|
|Non-TymeBank customer SendMoney cash withdrawal (Cash voucher)|
|Dispute or stop debit order||R10.00|
|Dispute debit card transaction|
|Cash withdrawal at ATMs|
|AddMoney from bank card|
|Debit order dispute (older than 40 days)||R60.00|
|Unsuccessful debit order dispute|
|Unsuccessful debit card dispute|
|Debit card replacement|
|Late payment reversal to TymeBank||R160.00|
New clients had to join the bank’s waiting list to sign up, and requests to join were released in batches of a few thousand at a time.
The app-driven bank is the brainchild of tech entrepreneur Michael Jordaan and banking innovator Yatin Narsai. Both are well known for driving FNB’s digital banking transformation.
Bank Zero offers a single transactional account for personal and business use. It also offers savings accounts with interest rates ranging from 2.45% to 4.15%.
The bank offers a patented debit card complete with an image of the account holder, which can be delivered to a Clicks store for R79 or to a street address for R139 (metropolitan area) or R179 (rural area).
The digital bank says that its personalised card “provides a simple but innovative solution to ensure cutting-edge security”.
Bank Zero customers can make payments to other Bank Zero accounts via a QR code payment system, reject new debit orders they do not recognise through its notifications, and approve purchases made online from within the app.
Customers can also lock their card temporary from within the Bank Zero app if they have misplaced it.
The fees charged by Bank Zero are summarised below.
|BankZero transactional account|
|Send proof of payment via SMS||R1.50|
|Draw cash at till point||R2.00|
|Balance enquiry at ATM or till point|
|Nuisance fees (insufficient funds, exceeding limits, locked card)|
|Dispute or stop debit order||R8.00|
|Cardless cash withdrawal||R8.50|
|Send money to non-BankZero customer|
|Draw cash at ATM (per R1,000)||R9.00|
|Reset app login pin||R50.00|
|Card personalisation and delivery to a Clicks store||R79.00|
|Open additional cheque account||R100.00|
|Card personalisation and delivery to a street address (Metro)||R139.00|
|Card personalisation and delivery to a street address (Rural)||R179.00|
Discovery Bank offers several accounts based on the customer’s income, and different fees apply to each tier.
The minimum income levels for each account are:
- Gold — R100,000 to R350,000 per year
- Platinum — R350,000 to R850,000 per year
- Black — R850,000 to R2.5 million per year
- Purple — More than R2.5 million per year
The bank offers features such as shared-value banking and Vitality Money.
Its shared-value banking model aims to reward its customers who manage their money efficiently, and rewards include interest and credit rates upgrades, discounts on travel, and Discovery Miles.
Discovery says that to take full advantage of its shared-value banking model, customers “need to unlock the power of Vitality Money” — a feature that offers up to 75% back on HealthyFood spending at Pick n Pay or Woolworths, and up to 50% HealthyCare products at Clicks or Dischem.
Each customer can opt-in to the feature to receive a Vitality Money Status – which provides an overview of their financial wellbeing and determines whether they are eligible for dynamic interest rates.
Customers can also earn more Discovery Miles by linking their Vitality Active Rewards account with their bank account.
Discovery previously offered a Discovery Card product, which it has now migrated to Discovery Bank – moving existing customers onto its new digital banking platform.
Discovery Bank’s Gold, Platinum, and Black banking suite fees are outlined below.
|Discovery banking suite||Black||Platinum||Gold|
|Monthly account fee||R325.00||R135.00||R90.00|
|Monthly Vitality Money premium||R55.00||R45.00||R35.00|
|Monthly single credit facility fee||R60.00||R60.00||R60.00|
|Total monthly account fees||R440.00||R240.00||R185.00|
|Cash withdrawal at local ATM||Unlimited||8 free||4 free|
|Cash withdrawal at local till point||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Cash withdrawal at international ATM||Unlimited||R65.00||R65.00|
|Discovery Instant Pay||Unlimited||R10.00||R10.00|
|Prepaid airtime, data and SMS purchases||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Card swipes at till points||Free||Free||Free|
|Cash deposits (Pick n Pay and Boxer stores)||R19.95 per R5,000||R19.95 per R5,000||R19.95 per R5,000|
|Balance enquiry at ATM||Free||Free||Free|
|Own account notifications||Free||Free||Free|
|Returned debit order||Free||Free||Free|
|Secondary card (monthly)||R30.00||R30.00||R30.00|
|Single credit facility initiation fee||R165.00||R165.00||R165.00|
|Currency conversion fee||2.75%||2.75%||2.75%|
|Card replacement (one free per year)||R150.00||R150.00||R150.00|
|Health Banking (monthly)||Free||Free||Free|