South African digital banks compared — TymeBank vs Discovery Bank vs Bank Zero

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%
Currency conversion 2.75% 1% 2%
Declined transactions Free R2 R3
* Bank Zero does not offer cash deposits

TymeBank

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.

TymeBank’s GoalSave interest rates

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
Action Fee
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)
Immediate EFT
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


Bank Zero

Bank Zero was first announced in January 2018 and went live in August 2021.

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).

Bank Zero’s interest rates

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
Action Fee
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

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 Bank’s interest rates

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 Bank
Discovery banking suite Black Platinum Gold
Monthly fees
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
Transaction fees
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
Debit orders Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Payments Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Discovery Instant Pay Unlimited R10.00 R10.00
Discovery Pay Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Prepaid airtime, data and SMS purchases Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Other fees
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
Inter-account transfers Free Free Free
Balance enquiry at ATM Free Free Free
Payment notifications Free Free Free
Own account notifications Free Free Free
Returned debit order Free Free Free
Decline transactions 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


Now read: Cheapest banks in South Africa

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South African digital banks compared — TymeBank vs Discovery Bank vs Bank Zero