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African Bank makes entry-level bank account play

Will compete on ‘shared’ banking, savings and fees.

African Bank has become the latest financial services provider to enter the increasingly competitive entry-level transactional bank account space. With no monthly fee, it is clear the bank is competing very strongly on price, and it contends that its new MyWorld account is the “cheapest transactional account” in the country (based on the same methodology used in Solidarity’s bank charges report).

The other differentiator is that MyWorld allows account holders to transact and save together with family and friends through a concept it calls “shared banking”. This serves a need the bank identified by researching the market. Up to five additional accounts can be opened under the main account, with no monthly fees on any of them.

Read: African Bank is being beaten back into shape with digital plan

The account also has two types of pockets: a power pocket and a savings pocket. The former is a pocket account (similar to the ‘wallet’-type ‘accounts’ being offered by some banks, although African Bank says this is the first such account in SA “to offer full transaction capability”). The savings pocket is similar to the one offered by Old Mutual on its Money Account.

Targeting stokvels

The primary account holder can also add people to each of the pockets, which allows them full access. In other words, they can then transact and/or save along with the account holder. Fees can be allocated to either the pocket’s user or primary account holder. It also allows primary account holders to add an additional 10 members to any pocket. These members will only be able to deposit funds. African Bank included this functionality with “informal savings clubs, church groups and any collection of people wishing to save together for a shared trip or activity” in mind.

The bank is positioning saving as a big driver behind the account, with interest of 5.5% per annum paid on positive balances, and 6.5% per annum on the savings pocket. Capitec, for example, pays 5% on balances up to R24 999, 5.4% on balances up to R99 999 and 5.65% on those above R100 000.

Fees are largely comparable to those of similar accounts offered by rivals.

Monthly fee

ATM withdrawal

R6 per R1 000

Cash at till

R2

Deposit via cash acceptor machine

2% of amount

Card swipe

Free

EFT/electronic payment

Free

Debit order

R4

Prepaid top-up (airtime/electricity)

Free

Opening an account can be done on any of the bank’s digital platforms, with account holders only needing to visit a branch to collect their debit card.

African Bank has made its entry into an already crowded and competitive transactional banking market, particularly at the lower end.

Capitec has had runaway success with its Global One account, leading the four other major banks that are attempting to compete on both cost and simplicity. At R5 a month, this is among the cheapest bank accounts in the country. At the end of February, Capitec had 11.39 million active customers.

Old Mutual launched its Money Account in 2015, using Bidvest Bank’s licence, and has opened more than a million accounts to date, of which 211 000 are active.

TymeBank officially went live with its product – which has no monthly fees – in February, and has already opened over 250 000 accounts.

Bank Zero is expected to launch later in 2019.

Hilton Tarrant works at YFM. He can still be contacted at hilton@moneyweb.co.za.

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I have just signed up with TymeBank. What a smooth, simple process! And no fees combined with between 6 and 10% interest. A very attractive entry to mid level banking option.

Why didn’t African Bank do this in the first place instead of charging 160% plus interest on its loans which in themselves were fraudulently given.
Would have saved a lot of time and heartache.
I agree with the former comment re TymeBank – a simple and efficient banking option.

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