Behind Tech-Driven Bank Zero’s First Trial with Partners, IBM and Mastercard

Updated on 30 October 2018

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FNB ex-CEO Behind New App-based Bank

Bank Zero, South Africa’s first digital only bank on Tuesday announced that it had started its first trial runs with two strategic partners, multinational tech company IBM and financial services firm, Mastercard.

Last month, Bank Zero integrated with the national payments systems of the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) as government officially announced that the bank had been registered as a mutual bank effective 17 August 2018.

The app-driven bank is the brainchild of tech entrepreneur Michael Jordaan and banking innovator Yatin Narsai – who together built First National Bank into the most innovative bank in the world under their decade-long leadership. Driven by smartphones and associated digital technologies, it’s a disruptor in the traditional banking industry.

Bank Zero’s scientific approach to building a bank uses precise laboratory-style testing and includes Alpha testing, which validates the end-to-end live systems and processes of customer experience, security and regulatory processes, as well as confirming the fully automated regulatory reporting as required by the Sarb, among others.

Narsai, co-founder and chief executive, said they remained prudent with the bank’s capital.

“Sweat equity is our single largest investment and leverages off a combined 250-plus years of detailed ‘know-how’. Experiencing a coming together of such experts in the context of modern agile interpretations is a great privilege,” Narsai said.

“This enables Bank Zero to solve real-world challenges like painful fraudulent payments harming many businesses and individuals. Criminals are innovating, so should banks. It’s an imperative.”

New gen tech

Mastercard and Bank Zero are currently developing a “new generation of card” to deliver cutting-edge security and other unique features and multi-layered security protocols to protect users against fraud and identity theft.

IBM will be dealing with high-volume secure computing by providing Bank Zero with enterprise-grade security on its open-source based LinuxON enterprise server through its pervasive encryption technology.

Jordaan, acknowledged the professionalism, skills and world-class systems of the Sarb and the newly created Prudential Authority.

“Building a bank is hard work; building an innovative bank is exponentially harder.. The stringent licencing process, the high standards, and their skilled and professional approach clearly demonstrates that South Africa has a world-class regulator,” Jordaan said. (via African News Agency)

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