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Spot Money, South Africa's new open bank

Spot Money
(Image credit: Spot Money)

Virgin Money South Africa has come back with a new and improved app: Spot Money. 

While this isn't the arrival of Spot Money to South Africa, it is a new imagining of banking and money. Called an "open bank" Spot Money is not aligned to any actual bank. 

The company explains that this gives the user the freedom to interact with financial products and providers of their choice for different aspects of their lives. In a standard banking situation, you are often pushed to use the banks offerings as this is more integrated and easier. 

To make it open, the app works off a blockchain ledger, making it truly decentralised. Since forex can't be housed on a blockchain ledger, this bank has its own cryptocurrency token which is pegged to the Rand. 

Much like other digital banks, there are no physical banks or locations of interaction. This helps keep costs low, which is the goal of most of these newer banks, competing with longstanding institutions.

How it works

When signing up, Spot gives you a free mobile transactional account from which you can apply for financial products from anyone. 

They also send you a debit card to use in store. Backed by Mastercard, you can also pay via a QR code at participating stores. 

A big draw is their 'low-to-no' fees model. Purchases made with the app or debit card are free, transfers on through its app are free. The only fees are found in cashing out and EFTs out of the account.