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Discovery finally launches its own bank

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The long awaited launch of Discovery Bank has arrived.

Yesterday the financial services company revealed that its fully digital, behavioural bank will launch in March 2019.

Okay so what the hell is a behavioural bank?

Simply put, the better financial health a customer has the more rewards and benefits they will net.

Discovery Bank touts a rather unique selling point – dynamic interest rates.

“This innovative benefit design links interest rates directly to clients’ financial behaviour; enabling them to earn more interest on savings and to pay less interest on credit as they improve their financial behaviour with Vitality Money. The Bank further leverages the Vitality partner chassis to create an attractive ecosystem of rewards for clients in the form of dynamic discounts that deepen Vitality’s incentives,” the firm explains in a press release.

Making South Africa healthier as relates to our finances is a hard task and the firm addresses this in its press release announcing Discovery Bank.

There are more credit active South Africans than there are employed South Africans, 40 percent of South Africans struggle to make debt repayments, less than four percent of South Africans are prepared for retirement.

We’re not done yet.

During the second quarter of this year the economy shrank by 0.7 percent quarter-on-quarter according to Statistics South Africa. There are also fewer jobs with the total number of jobs in the formal non-agricultural sector shrinking in Q2 by 69 000.

Beyond that, average monthly earnings clocked in at R20 176 for the formal non-agricultural sector in May of this year.

In terms of financial health then South Africa is in dire need of medical attention.

Whether Discovery Bank will be the doctor South Africa needs remains to be see but Barry Hore, chief executive officer at Discovery Bank, appears confident that the firm will have an impact.

“Discovery Bank is building a banking system from the ground up; incorporating the latest in banking technology to create a mobile-first bank, to meet the sophisticated, personalised banking needs of individuals through a branchless structure, supported by an omni-channel service capability,” he said.

“Our ambition is to create a new category of banking – behavioral banking – through which we dramatically impact the landscape of financial health and resilience in the country,” Hore added.

At time of publication there is no word on banking fees and we think that, along with the rewards on offer will influence who switches from their current bank to Discovery Bank.

With the promise of higher interest rates for savings we can see a possibility that folks use the bank for savings.

Sign ups will be done via a paperless FICA process where a selfie will be used as your identifier.

This is certainly a disruption for the banking sector that was sorely needed and Discovery Bank’s ambitions are commendable.

As we mentioned Discovery Bank will launch in March 2019.

Oh and most importantly, you get a vertical card.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.