Digital banks have been on the rise in South Africa for some time. From TymeBank placing consoles in supermarkets to Discovery launching its own virtual bank, there has been no shortage of new innovations in this sector.
One of the most interesting by far, Bank Zero, has officially gone live, although only with a small group of clients.
Bank Zero's big thing was that it is an app-based bank.
Unlike other banks which have their app as an added benefit, with some banking functionality, Bank Zero have built their entire model around being able to do absolutely everything you want to via their app.
This really is the future of banking, as visiting a branch is always something that requires carving out part of your day and only happens for those small things that are available on the app.
South Africa has impressive mobile network and smartphone penetration. While feature phones are popular, the rise in low-spec, low-cost smartphones means having a banking app will be accessible for most of the country.
A unique card
The biggest draw, and source of the name of Bank Zero, is that it will charge no banking fees. This will make it extremely low cost and a great entry for the country's unbanked.
In addition it is offering a unique banking card that it claims has improved security because of its patented design.
The bank card features not one bank number and a cvv like others but rather three unique identifiers. The classic embossed number on the front, a number allocated to the mag strip and a microchip.
Bank Zero has also teamed up with Mastercard, meaning it is backed by their card security which is constantly updating to help users avoid scams and heighten authentication and security.