Slow migration leaves Discovery Bank clients frustrated

Read time 3min 30sec

New digital bank Discovery Bank is moving at a snail’s pace in onboarding existing clients to the banking platform, leaving some customers frustrated.

Discovery first announced its digital bank in November last year. It then launched in March this year, touting the new offering as the “world’s first behavioural bank” and a fully digital bank that can be joined by anyone with a smartphone.

Discovery Bank is one of the digital banks that are believed will shake up the South African retail banking sector because they are not stuck with legacy technologies and have cheaper fee structures. The other players are TymeBank and Bank Zero.

When it launched in March, Discovery Bank said roughly 2 000 enthusiasts will be signed up in the first month, with tens of thousands more by June.

However, this has not gone down well with the anxious customers. A frustrated client, who opted to remain anonymous, informed ITWeb on the delays in getting switched over to the digital bank.

“I am just about to blow a fuse with Discovery. They launched their digital bank last year and people have been signing up to join the bank. People with Discovery credit cards (like me) were supposed to be switched over to the bank months ago.

“I know I was supposed to be switched in April, and I even got a call to say they would be contacting me on 20 May (as I had requested) to finalise it all.

“Anyway, I got a letter from Barry Hore [Discovery Bank CEO] stating that I must be patient a little longer and giving some lame excuse about testing their services as they go along or something. That was a month ago. When I contacted Discovery, all I got were more form letters filled with platitudes,” the client said.

“Why did Discovery launch their bank with such fanfare before they were ready to take on customers?” the client asked.

A copy of Hore’s e-mail sent to the client that ITWeb is in possession of reads: “Discovery Bank is here, and we know you’re excited to move over and become one of our very first clients to learn how behavioural banking can help you become financially healthy and unlock unique rewards.

“Since our public announcement, we’ve said that we’ll be onboarding new clients slowly and responsibly to give us the opportunity to take a step back after each milestone to see where things can be done better. Many of our digital processes are real firsts in the market. That means that as we bring on new clients each day, we’re able to continuously optimise and improve so that each client who follows has an even better experience.

“While we’ve given you a date to join Discovery Bank, we’d like to ask you to be a little more patient with us so that we can make further enhancements to ensure that your full digital experience is truly special. We can’t wait to welcome you as a new Discovery Bank client.”

Asked about the delays, Discovery Bank’s response to ITWeb reads: “Discovery Bank was launched as announced in March 2019. We have begun onboarding existing Discovery Card clients in a controlled manner to ensure each and every migration is a dazzling client experience.

“Many of our digital processes are real firsts in the market (such as a fully digital application process that takes less than five minutes) and that means as we bring on new clients each day we’re focusing on continuously optimising the client experience.

“We’re keen to keep you in the loop on all things Discovery Bank and will share more news as soon as we’re able to.”

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