It's About TYME! South Africa's New Digital Branchless Bank

TYME (TymeDigital by Commonwealth Bank SA, Australia) has been granted a banking license in South Africa. This comes after TYME announced in August 2017 that Patrice Motsepe's African Rainbow Capital (ARC) is close to acquiring a 10% stake in the FinTech company.

This will be the first banking license to be issued by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) since 1999.

“Supporting technology which can be used to provide access to financial services is one of the ways we plan to broaden and deepen financial inclusion in South Africa and other emerging markets,” said Patrice Motsepe, Chairperson at ARC.

TYME kiosk
TYME's Innovation via partnerships (February 2017).

TYME, which is an acronym for Take Your Money Everywhere, was founded in South Africa in 2012 and later acquired by Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) in 2015 for a rumored sum of ZAR 365 million (approximately $ 30 million). The FinTech company uses a branchless banking model in partnership with the South African retailer, Pick n Pay, to allow customers to open bank accounts and have banking services.

“This is an important milestone for CBA. We believe that we have an opportunity to contribute to the financial wellbeing of South Africans, through a business model that uses the potential of new technologies to make life better for customers. We aim to build a sustainable business in South Africa and to work in an open and cooperative way with the SARB and other relevant regulators. We also hope to see TymeDigital become a source of broader research and development for CBA,” said Ian Narev, CEO at CBA.

The bank is scheduled to market its first banking product to the public by the middle of 2018. Already, TYME operates Money Transfer, in partnership with Pick n Pay (PnP) and Boxer stores in South Africa. In its existence so far it has secured more than 200,000 customers for the service.

“This is a key milestone in our plans to launch a full-service digital bank and disrupt banking in South Africa. We will offer South Africans the ability to open accounts and transact securely, within minutes. Through our innovative technology and financial education we aim to get more people using banking services to enhance their lives and increase economic participation,” said TymeDigital by Commonwealth Bank SA CEO, Sandile Shabalala.

PnP is making strides into becoming or offering financial services as it also recently announced a credit facility for some of its customers to be able to buy from their stores on credit.

“We have set up a partnership with TymeDigital by Commonwealth Bank SA because we share a commitment to giving customers better value and more convenient banking services, together with simple, clear and accurate financial information so they can make the best use of them. We believe the market is ready for a new bank which will offer consumers better value and more competition,” said Richard van Rensburg. Deputy CEO at PnP.

Motsepe also added that ARC's investment in TYME is an essential part of their plans to build an empowered, pan-Afrikan financial services group.

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