Bank Zero beats TymeBank and Discovery Bank in digital banking price comparison

Bank Zero is the most affordable digital bank in South Africa, while Discovery Bank is the most expensive, a MyBroadband analysis has revealed.

Digital banks offer a great alternative to traditional banks for those who don’t want to visit branches and want to do all of their banking online.

MyBroadband compared fees for three prominent digital banks in the country, including TymeBank, Bank Zero, and Discovery Bank, to determine which is the cheapest.

We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of each banking product using a hypothetical basket of monthly transactions, which includes:

  • The monthly account fee
  • One cash deposit of R1,000
  • Two PoS cash withdrawals of R1,000
  • Two external debit orders
  • Three payments
  • Two prepaid airtime purchases
  • Two prepaid electricity purchases
  • 15 SMS notifications

Bank Zero was the cheapest by R9.50 with a total basket cost of R23.95 per month.

TymeBank was the second-most affordable, with a total basket cost of R33.45.

Both Bank Zero and TymeBank don’t charge monthly account fees, while Discovery Bank does. As a result, Discovery Bank is the most expensive by quite a large margin.

Discovery Bank’s Gold pay-as-you-transact (PAYT) account’s monthly maintenance fee is R25.

Bank Zero sets itself apart from TymeBank due to its lower withdrawal and transaction notification fees.

The latter charges R3 per withdrawal and R0.50 per transaction notification, while Bank Zero charges R2 per withdrawal and provides in-app and email transaction notifications free of charge.

While Discovery Bank is the most expensive — and by some margin with a total basked cost of R64.70 — it offers several benefits that aren’t available through other banks.

For example, the Discovery Bank Gold PAYT includes the Vitality Money premium. These account holders can access dynamic interest rates, discounts, and Discovery Miles rewards.

The bank tasks customers with improving their Vitality Money statuses to receive lower borrowing rates and better interest on savings.

Regarding discounts, Discovery Vitality Money customers can receive up to 75% off on local and international flights, up to 20% off fuel at Shell and BP, and up to 75% off on healthy groceries from Woolworths and Pick n Pay.

TymeBank customers can get attractive interest rates of up to 11% annually by signing up for its GoalSave product.

Account holders earn 5% interest on savings from day one, 6% after 30 days, and 7% after 90 days.

It also allows customers to provide it with a “Heads-Up” before withdrawing to earn higher interest rates.

“Give us a 10-day heads up before taking your payout, and earn yourself a Bonus on all the interest earned on your GoalSave. This takes the maximum rate you’ll earn to 8%,” it says.

“Earn the 11%* ‘Kicker’ when you perform 10 or more transactions for 3 consecutive months, and give 10 days’ notice on a payout.”

The interest rate is further increased if your salary or other regular monthly income gets paid into your TymeBank account.

Bank Zero offers interest rates ranging from 6.95% to 8.50%, depending on the account balance and account type.

The banking fees for entry-level accounts from TymeBank, Bank Zero, and Discovery Bank are compared in the tables below.

Basic costs
Bank Monthly fee SMS notifications PoS deposits
TymeBank R0.00 R0.50 19.95**
Bank Zero R0.00 R0.00* R19.95**
Discovery Bank Gold PAYT R25.00 R0.00 R19.95 per R5,000***
*Bank Zero doesn’t offer SMS transaction notifications. However, app and email notifications are free.
**Point-of-sale deposit fees for Bank Zero and TymeBank vary per retailer. We used the fee charged at Checkers to make the comparison.
***Discovery Bank only specifies point-of-sales deposit fees for Pick n Pay and Boxer stores.
Withdrawals/Payments/Debit orders
Bank Withdrawal (ATM) Withdrawal (PoS) Payments External debit order
TymeBank R10/R1,000 R3.00 R0.00 R0.00
Bank Zero R9/R1,000 R2.00 R0.00 R0.00
Discovery Bank Gold PAYT R5.00 + 2.50% of withdrawal value R0.00 R2.75 R3.75
Prepaid airtime and electricity
Bank Prepaid airtime (online/app) Prepaid electricity
TymeBank R0.00 R0.00
Bank Zero R0.00 R0.00
Discovery Bank Gold PAYT R0.00 R0.00

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Bank Zero beats TymeBank and Discovery Bank in digital banking price comparison