OfferZen, Standard Bank to introduce programmable bank account

Root, an OfferZen initiative, and Standard Bank have teamed up to launch a lightweight bank account, which comes with a programmable credit card, online banking interface, mobile app, and APIs.

A Root account enables any software developer to build a FinTech product without special access to the banking world. The Root credit card is developer friendly and allows a user to write code that interacts with transactions in real-time and is then securely stored in the cloud.

Coders can share their work with other developers on the platform and Standard Bank will supply both the underlying framework an opportunity to launch apps to clients and the broader market. Beta apps that have already been developed include Uber and Google Sheets budgeting programs and a dieting one that limits access to funds on certain days.

South African FinTech entrepreneur Louw Hopley will lead the new startup with the aim of eliminating the barrier to entry for innovation in the financial sector.

"Developers are able to create solutions to problems in almost any industry, but are severely limited in the FinTech space by massive starting costs and barriers to entry," said Malan Joubert, co-founder of OfferZen. "Root is our experiment to change that fundamentally."

Root is currently operating in private beta and while there is no firm release date as yet, the company hopes to launch it to the public before the end of June this year.

"It is like a 24/7/365 hackathon that allows any developer to build life-enabling apps or solutions," said John Campbell, Head: Standard Bank EDGE.

"Instead of relying only on people who work for Standard Bank, we are giving any developer the power to create opportunities or solve problems they experience."