Patrice Motsepe. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Patrice Motsepe. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

The stage is set for further disruption in SA’s banking sector, with billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital Investments (ARC) announcing on Wednesday that the group had reached a deal to secure a controlling interest in fintech provider TymeDigital.

The 100% ownership of TymeDigital by ARC’s subsidiary, FinHoldCo, would give the group significant options in terms of new management partners and capital raising, ARC joint CEO Johan van der Merwe said on Wednesday.

TymeDigital aims to roll out transactional banking in the fourth quarter of 2018, intending to become a fully fledged digital bank for those who cannot afford or cannot easily access formal banking services.

TymeDigital‚ which allows customers to access funds via their mobile phones‚ was granted a provisional licence by the Reserve Bank in 2016, the first issued since 1999.

Provisional licences have since been issued to Discovery and app-driven BankZero.

TymeDigital is part of the International Financial Services division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).

CBA acquired Tyme in 2015, but is in the process of withdrawing from international markets to focus on its core banking operations in Australia and New Zealand.

ARC had decided to fast-track its acquisition of TymeDigital due to this withdrawal, Van der Merwe said.

The bank already operates Money Transfer‚ in partnership with Pick n Pay and Boxer stores, aiming to roll out transactional services in the fourth quarter of 2018.

TymeDigital had technology that enabled it to bring in new clients more easily and cheaply than its rivals "and keep bank charges more affordable than what SA banking clients pay in general", ARC said.

"It will be a bank that has very good black economic empowerment credentials, so that should open a lot of doors for them," said PSG Wealth portfolio manager Adrian Cloete.