Back in the day, it was said of retailers who demanded immediate payment from their shoppers while keeping their suppliers on the leash for three months and more, that they were no better than common banks, living off the interest of the cash they were sitting on. Shoprite, said the wise, was in fact a property developer too, but that’s a story for another day. Now, as it happens, some of the retailers actually are banks, and, it turns out, quite good ones. Take Shoprite for example, whose Money Market Account has recently become South Africa’s lowest-cost bank account, with a R5 flat fee for cash withdrawals, and every other transaction totally free, and with no monthly charges – an offer unmatched by any other South African bank. And the account is, make no mistake, a fully-fledged, transactional bank account, allowing salaries and wages to be paid into it and with almost two million banked and otherwise unbanked customers signed up since it launched in 2020.
Comment: Vertical integration of the financial supply chain? Or just giving the shoppers what they want?