TymeBank Case Study: The Customer Impact of Inclusive Digital Banking

This case study presents insights from customer research with TymeBank clients that bolsters CGAP’s hypotheses around how digital banks can support the mission of financial inclusion. As a fully digital South African bank that disproportionately serves low-income rural customers, TymeBank has created a suite of basic products that cater to the essential financial needs of those customers, namely a low-cost transactional account and a high-yield savings account. Judging from product uptake and client testimonials, these products add to a compelling value proposition that not only resonates with customers but improves their lives.

TymeBank’s distribution network, which is based on its partnerships with the nationwide Boxer and Pick n Pay (PnP) grocery store chains, helps to keep operational costs low and passes cost savings onto customers in the form of more affordable services. A clear majority of the bank’s customers cite affordability as a key source of value and the reason they opened a TymeBank account. The distribution network also extends the bank’s reach to areas that are underserved by traditional players. The affordability and accessibility likely explain why underserved segments, such as low-income women and rural customers, are over-represented in TymeBank’s (active) customer base as compared to the overall banked population in South Africa.

Despite having access to other banking options, TymeBank customers overwhelmingly see no compelling alternatives in the market. Crucially, the value customers see in the bank appears to be inversely related to income, with poorer customers reporting higher levels of satisfaction.

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