Voice of the Industry

TymeBank, the first digital-only bank in South Africa

Tuesday 10 September 2019 08:23 CET | Editor: Melisande Mual | Voice of the industry

A new approach to banking required stringent compliance, the ability to juggle stakeholders and a robust and flexible technology platform

TymeBank is the first digital-only bank ever to launch in South Africa and its aim was to use banking technology for disruption. On top of that, it was the first South African bank since 1999 to receive a new banking licence.

vspace=2It offers banking services without charging customers monthly fees, many banking transactions are free and there are low charges for other transactions. Customers can open a bank account in under 10 minutes and get their cards issued to them instantaneously from a TymeBank kiosk. Customers can also earn discounts and rewards when they use their debit card at partner retailers.

Because it is the first new bank built in South Africa in more than a decade, TymeBank was particularly keen to find reliable and experienced payment partners who could commit to this significant undertaking. Its customer-focused corporate culture and SmartVista product suite meant that BPC proved to be the partner TymeBank was looking for to assist it in building a new bank from the ground up.


The scale of the challenge

The objective of TymeBank was to disrupt the local banking industry by offering a pure digital banking experience to its customers. Meeting a challenge of this scale was going to be no mean feat.

Building a new bank is a significant undertaking and being able to comply with stringent South African banking regulations and PCI DSS required careful planning and analysis. With requirements from stakeholders throughout South Africa, Australia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and the Russian Federation, continuous follow-up and prioritisation were key requirements during project implementation.


TymeBank offers some unique services to its clients, as the first digital challenger bank in South Africa. It issues debit cards instantaneously via a kiosk, and the bank uses a card UID (unique ID) number to replace the PAN (primary account number) in all transaction messages to the bank’s IT systems, such as the core banking system. This allows those systems to be hosted in non-PCI DSS compliant environments.

A self-service solution

Because it is a new digital bank, TymeBank has no bank branches. As a result, it services its clients through self-service channels. Bank customers on-board via kiosks which are located at retail stores nationally and clients can perform a quick and easy KYC process based on their South African ID and mobile phone number. In addition to opening an account, customers can apply for a debit card at the kiosk, which is issued to them instantaneously.

The bank followed a rigorous vendor selection process at the initiation phase of this project, and BPC was awarded the contract to implement SmartVista as the interoperable payments solution that seamlessly integrates to TymeBank’s unique and innovative kiosk channel. The solution includes instant debit card issuing, acquiring and fraud management. By using a phased approach, TymeBank initially went live with debit card issuing in the final quarter of 2018 and will be adding additional capabilities such as acquiring and ACS for online payments in a next stage.


TymeBank’s aim to disrupt banking in South Africa meant that it needed a technology partner that could help build a modern, digital bank from the ground up.

A successful launch

BPC brought its considerable payments industry experience to bear in ensuring the bank launch was successful. Both the remote and on-site BPC project resources were able to immediately support the bank with any queries related to the SmartVista modules, networking issues, the Hardware Security Modules, cryptography, card manufacturing, payment transaction flows and international payment scheme certification for card issuing. Working in a true partnership model, TymeBank and BPC managed to build an entire banking infrastructure from the ground up to support TymeBank’s ambitions to deliver a unique, innovative service to their clients.

About BPC

vspace=8BPC was founded 20 years ago and as true ‘globetrotters in fintech’ it is now active in 78 countries. For more than 200 clients, BPC powers payments across the globe by supplying software and creating ecosystems in which banks, processors, merchants and other ecosystem players, such as governments, can thrive. BPC is bridging real life to digital. Banking, Payments: Context – this is what and who we are about at BPC. It’s all about creating relevant services for the customers of our clients, fitting in the context of their business or daily life.

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Keywords: TymeBank, bank, digital-only bank, South African bank, banking technology, disruption, BPC, case study
Countries: World

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