Wizzit Bank was created as a (Pty) Ltd. company in order to bank the unbanked. The organisation started by offering transactional banking capability and then went on to offer other financial services such as loans and micro insurance. The organisation is based in Johannesburg and has international operations in sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. It makes use of field agents called Wizz Kids who promote and sell the bank’s products in communities.
A casual conversation over dinner in 2002 between businessman and former politician, Cyril Ramaphosa, Charles Rowlinson and Brian Richardson, a banking industry stalwart, about how frustrating it was to open a bank account for Ramaphosa’s son, sowed the seed that led to the start of Wizzit Bank. Brian left that conversation thinking that if it was difficult for a person from a privileged background to open a bank account, what would be the experience of the billions of people who are from disadvantaged backgrounds?
Five billion people around the world are unbanked. Between R12-18 billion in cash is estimated to be currently stored underneath mattresses in South Africa.
The impact on the economy if even a small portion of this amount could be saved more securely would be significant. It is for these reasons that Brian, together with friend and fellow businessman, Charles Rowlinson, developed the Wizzit Bank model to reach the unbanked.
Wizzit is a Proudly South African bank operating as a division of The South African Bank of Athens Ltd. It has been the recipient of many national and international awards.