Why Capitec has no *asterisks in its advertising

Capitec CEO Gerrie Fourie said there are no *asterisks in their advertising because simplicity and transparency are what their offering is built on.

Fourie said by focusing on simplicity and transparency, Capitec empowers clients to control their banking services.

“When I see an asterisk on an advertisement, I get agitated. Capitec has no asterisks – what you see is what you get,” he said.

Fourie explained his dislike for asterisks in advertising during his speech at the Biznews Conference in Hermanus.

He gave an overview of how they started Capitec and what helped them become the largest bank in South Africa.

Fourie joined Capitec Bank in 2000 as head of operations. At the time, the bank had fewer than ten employees, all founders.

Fourie said he was always attracted to entrepreneurial endeavours. This made Capitec an obvious choice for him.

“When Capitec founder Michiel le Roux asked me to join them, I had very little hesitancy,” he said.

He said although they were keen to jump in and launch the bank, they stepped back to ensure they did it right.

“We took nine months to write a detailed business plan. At the time, 60% to 70% of South Africans were unbanked, and banking was expensive and complex,” he said.

To serve this segment, Capitec focussed on affordability, accessibility, personal service, and simplicity. “Today, those fundamentals still guide our decisions,” he said.

He said Capitec’s product ensures everyone gets the same offer. Whether you are rich or poor, you get the same card and the same service.

Capitec Bank’s simple and affordable banking service was a winner. Although their business plan predicted only 2 million clients, they now have 22 million.

Capitec app and advanced digital platform

Fourie said they went digital with the launch of the Capitec app. It was a hit and has 15 million users and handles 1.3 trillion transactions yearly.

“In 2019, we realised the need to move faster. We shifted our IT division to platform-based systems,” he said.

“We became an AWS/Salesforce/SAP/Microsoft company. This allowed us to meet changing demands more effectively.”

During the Covid pandemic, Capitec used the opportunity to grow its digital offerings when others were downsizing.

“We launched several value-added services, such as airtime, electricity, cash send, vouchers, and Capitec Pay, boosting our bottom line by a billion rand,” Fourie said.

In 2019, Capitec simplified business banking after acquiring Mercantile Bank and offering one product and one pricing model.

“We’re focusing on the emerging market, aiming to unlock its potential by transitioning people from cash to digital payments,” he said.

Another innovation is Capitec Connect, which offers banking clients affordable mobile data through an MVNO partnership with Cell C.

Fourie said they want to disrupt the South African telecommunications market through Capitec Connect.

He added that they use the data they collect from their Capitec Connect clients to score them and add value to them.

“People ask how you use the data. It is easy – when you phone five good people, you score well. When you phone five criminals, you score badly,” he said.


Top JSE indices