It’s Vitality meets banking as Discovery gears up for launch

Clients with high Vitality health and wellness rewards programme points are likely to be people who manage their credit well and are therefore low-risk customers from a banking perspective.

Identifying correlations like this has informed what Discovery chief executive Adrian Gore believes is a “powerful proposition” from Discovery Bank. Discovery is expected to launch its bank on Wednesday.

For now, prospective customers will, however, have to take him at his word as Discovery Bank would, for competitive reasons, reveal little of its plans before launch.

What Gore was willing to say, is that the Vitality model has been shown to work, “by using financial incentives and other behavioural interventions to ‘nudge’ changes in individual behaviour”.

And that Discovery’s experience with Discovery Card (it has about 300 000 customers) has indicated that the same model that uses financial incentives and behavioural interventions to change people’s behaviour – and which has been successfully applied in the health and wellness space – can also be applied to banking.

When Discovery, in September, announced its plans to buy out FirstRand’s 25% stake in Discovery Card, it said the bank would still launch in 2018 despite the “slight” delay that this development would cause. 

Discovery Bank is expected to compete directly with the Big Five banks.

The bank would not confirm reports that it would initially target consumers and might expand into the corporate and investment sectors; that it would be a full-service bank without branches and ATMs or that the bank would be card-driven. 

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