Discovery Bank leads the pack

Adrian Gore

Daily Investor’s 2024 South African Investor and Banking Report revealed that Discovery Bank is maintaining its lead in the new digital bank sector.

This was revealed in Daily Investor’s 2024 South African Investor and Banking Report, based on responses from 2,013 South Africans.

The survey was conducted in January 2024, and most respondents were high-income earners and high-net-worth individuals.

Discovery Bank launched on 14 November 2018 and is marketed as the world’s first fully digital behavioural banking platform.

It uses Vitality Money to incentivise banking clients to make healthier financial decisions and work more responsibly with their finances.

After launch, Discovery CEO Adrian Gore said Discovery Bank was expected to grow to 700,000 clients by 2024, which is projected to be their breakeven point.

However, excellent marketing and cutting-edge digital services helped the digital bank perform much better than expected.

Last year, Discovery revealed that the bank increased its user base by 49% year-on-year to over 700,000 clients. It grew accounts by 59% to 1.6 million.

Gore said Discovery Bank is performing ahead of expectations and is on track to meet its target of 1 million clients by 2026.

Discovery Bank’s effective marketing was also shown in the Daily Investor survey, with 59% of respondents selecting it over TymeBank and Bank Zero.

Although Discovery Bank has a substantial lead over its competitors, it should not rest on its laurels.

TymeBank, aimed at working-class South Africans, has increased its brand awareness over the last year.

35% of respondents said it is the best new digital bank, up from 30% a year ago. It shows that the TymeBank brand is gaining momentum among richer South Africans.

Bank Zero, backed by Michael Jordaan, is well-known for being innovative and offering affordable personal and business banking services.

However, it does not enjoy the same mass-market awareness as Discovery Bank and TymeBank.

Digital bank brand awareness

The chart below shows the brand awareness ranking among the three main new digital banks in South Africa.