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Inside TymeBank’s success story

Half of the digital bank’s 3-million customers joined after a long relationship with other banks, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.



The age range of TymeBank’s 3-million customers – a landmark announced this week – provide the real clue to the digital bank’s success story.

In a recent presentation by CEO Tauriq Keraan, it was revealed that 50% of the newcomers; customers are over 35 and 25% over 46. This, he said, points to them having had a relationship with other banks lasting 20 years or more before joining TymeBank.

At the same time, over 50 % of SME customers are younger than 35 years old, pointing in turn to the bank’s appeal to young entrepreneurs. 

According to Keraan, the bank’s Strong proposition appeals to young entrepreneurs and sole proprietors of small businesses.

TymeBank achieved the 3-million milestone in 24 months, having launched in February 2019. Its big appeal lies in having no monthly banking fees and most transaction costs 30% to 50% lower than at other banks. The result is that the bank signs up an average of 110,000  customers a month – or almost 4,000 new customers a day.

Of the 3-million customers, 60% have transacted in the past 30 days. Deposits have increased steadily every month, raising from R800,000 in February 2020 to R2-billion in February 2021.

“Financial institutions need to be responsive to consumer preferences,” Keraan said this week. “Banking customers are sensitive to costs impacting adversely on their financial health, particularly in these tough times. They also want to know exactly what they’re paying for and TymeBank’s simple, transparent, affordable banking offering is giving our 3-million customers what they want and need.

“We have enabled 100-million free transactions to date, which is timely given the current climate. This, plus the fact that we have never asked a customer to complete any paperwork, saves our customers money and makes their banking experience quick and convenient, right from the start. In addition, customers earn up to 8% with our GoalSave product, which is the highest interest rate they can earn with immediate access to their savings and without any penalties.”

While TymeBank has no branches, it provides kiosks in 800 retail outlets around South Africa, mainly in Pick ‘n Pay and Boxer stores. Transactions take place mainly at point-of-sale terminals in the stores. Customers can deposit or withdraw money at more than 14,000 of these till points.

“We may not look and act like a traditional bank, but the fact that we are fully regulated is important to give our 3-million customers peace of mind. Over the last year, we have added an average of four new features monthly to our customer interfaces, including extending our app availability, upgrading our website and enabling e-commerce locally and internationally to cater for customer behaviour during COVID-19.”

TymeBank provided the following statistics this week:

  • It has 700 kiosks at Pick ’n Pay and Boxer stores across South Africa, staffed by ambassadors (service assistants) from local communities.
  • It takes less than five minutes to open a fully regulated bank account, either online or at a TymeBank kiosk. No forms or supporting documents are required.
  • The majority of accounts to date (85%) have been opened at kiosks, while 15% are opened online.
  • Cash deposits at Pick ‘n Pay and Boxer stores average over R5-million per trading hour.
  • Customers have deposited more than R10-billion into their TymeBank accounts in the past six months.
  • GoalSave pays up to 8% interest – customers can therefore double the amount they save in six months.
  • It takes nine seconds to send money to any cellphone in South Africa using TymeBank’s SendMoney application.
  • TymeBank was named 2nd best bank in South Africa by Forbes, 18 months after launch.

“In a country where banking fees and data costs are high and the levels of digital and financial literacy are low, we have re-imagined digital banking to make it accessible to all South Africans across the economic spectrum,” says Keraan. “While our technology allows for exponential customer growth, our priority is to broaden our offering to include innovative credit and insurance products plus a variety of value-added services.”