Discovery Bank reaches million accounts milestone

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Discovery Bank says it has seen strong growth since its public launch in 2020, garnering over one million bank accounts, held by over 450 000 clients.

In a statement, the digital-only bank says it has witnessed “considerable traction” of its shared-value banking model among South African customers, noting it has firmly established itself as one of the leading digital banks locally.

Owned by Discovery Group, SA’s largest health insurer, the bank says its service offering has seen it gain strong growth in bank deposits, hitting over R11 billion in deposits and R4.5 billion in credit advances.

Its competitor TymeBank last month announced it was close to reaching five million customers, while Bank Zero in October told ITWeb it had seen a rapid uptake in customer sign-ups, although its numbers were not disclosed.

Billed as the “world’s first behavioural bank”, Discovery Bank also revealed new products today, including a Discovery Account – available to clients of the Discovery Group, with zero monthly fees.

“The bank has scaled quickly and built a uniquely powerful digital banking and technology capability,” says Hylton Kallner, CEO of Discovery Bank.

“This is now being deployed as the de facto operating system for the Discovery Group in South Africa. Discovery Bank’s digital payments technology, advanced security features and shared value rewards capabilities represent a unique opportunity to deliver new products and digital services to all of our clients.”

The digital bank was first announced in November 2018 and went into beta-testing phase in March 2019, when it touted its new offering as revolutionising banking clients’ behaviour.

Through its app-based services, the bank says it hopes to not only transform banking services and client behaviour to manage money well, but is also connecting different components of Discovery’s products and services for a seamless client experience across the Discovery Group.

In September, the bank posted an operating loss of R1.094 billion, which it said was in line with its expectations, as it is on track to break-even by 2024.

Its new product offerings include:

  • Discovery Pay: A digital payments service for real-time payments.
  • Discovery Account: Targeted at clients who don’t already have a bank account.
  • Vitality pay-as-you-gym: Allows clients to access more than 170 Virgin Active and Planet Fitness clubs nationwide.
  • Discovery Miles Account: Clients can save the Discovery Miles (rewards) they earn across their Discovery products.
  • The Vitality Travel booking platform: Allows clients to book all domestic and regional flights.

“Our first million accounts provide us with a strong foundation to continue to disrupt the market,” comments Kallner.

“With all of the new services and capabilities announced today, our goal is to do just this and further enhance our clients’ banking, travel and payments journeys, and enable Discovery Bank as the operating system for all Discovery clients and products.”

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