TymeDigital, a South African online money transfer firm acquired by Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) in 2015, has secured a banking licence from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

The licence is the first issued to a new bank by SARB since 1999. The bank, which is expected to launch its first offering in the second quarter of 2018, will focus on under-served small businesses and emerging middle class consumers.

TymeDigital CEO Sandile Shabalala said: “This is a key milestone in our plans to launch a full service digital bank and disrupt banking in South Africa. We will offer South Africans the ability to open accounts and transact securely, within minutes.

“Through our innovative technology and financial education we aim to get more people using banking services to enhance their lives and increase economic participation.”

CBA owns a 90% stake in TymeDigital, with the remaining stake being owned by African Rainbow Capital.

TymeDigital currently operates its money transfer in collaboration with Pick n Pay (PnP) and Boxer stores.