Our heritage

BankservAfrica has a proud heritage and has served as the trusted distributor of much of the wealth and currency of a thriving, vibrant and diverse nation for over four decades.

Our story was founded on the financial needs of a growing country, built on the willingness of institutions to work in purposeful harmony and completed with all the ingenuity, innovation enterprise and commitment of the people who are its central and most important asset.

Our beginning

The seventies was an age of discovery and new expression worldwide, after a prolonged period of international tensions and economic uncertainty. The ideal platform for the inception of South Africa’s first payment clearing house – ACB or the Automated Clearing Bureau.  

Established on 21 June 1972 to meet the needs of South Africa’s growing economy and to find a way of implementing a system that would allow a flow of information, verification and the reliable transferring and balancing of funds between the four major banks at the time. Interoperability became key to allow different  banks, working with disparate systems of their own,  to speak to each other in a way that would allow for  the quick and accurate transfer of funds.  Based on a set of standards, the resultant settlement could be verified and distributed on a daily basis  by the South African Reserve Bank.

The eighties

The eighties was an era of tremendous growth in all facets of life. It was a time when technology started coming to the fore and BankservAfrica established innovative partnerships within the South African banking sector.  The company made history with the release of Saswitch in 1983 and ZAPS in 1986, both reliable services that became intrinsically interwoven into the fabric of South African society. 

The information age

The nineties was a decade known as the start of the information age and the birth of BANKSERV. Email became popular, the internet came into being and the world as we knew it became vastly more connected. Connections were also greatly increased in the world of BANKSERV as trusted partnerships went from strength to strength, building on an established innovation base.

In 1993, the banking industry in South Africa jointly owned several companies that provided shared services to the banks through a variety of different payment channels. As these companies followed their own direction and operated in separate silos, the need arose to consolidate them into a single structure.  An interbank task group was appointed to investigate the feasibility of this proposal and in March 1993, the banking industry reached agreement and founded BANKSERV.

A new era

The turn of the century was an uncertain time as booms were quickly met with crippling losses in markets around the world. Technology managed to continue its sharp progression though, with BANKSERV using this to provide more certainty to clients in largely uncertain times. In 2002 the need for a CEO to drive growth, productivity and sustainability was identified and in 2003 a CEO was appointed with mandate to focus on self-funding through commercialisation. 

The first decade of this century saw a lot of change within the organisation with strategic frameworks being implemented, new products such as RTC, AEDO, ICMS and NAEDO being launched and in 2009 a full complement of independent directors and the first independent, non-executive chairman were appointed.

In 2010 BANKSERV was rebranded to BankservAfrica, to reflect the organisations extended  activities and product offering into Africa. The change and refocus of the brand along with a new company structure served to strengthen the core business offering and further entrench BankservAfrica as a facilitator of trusted payment transactions for the financial sector.

In 2012 we celebrated four decades of interoperability.  

2013 saw us continue to concentrate on making simplicity work, with dedicated staff and the latest technology – to ensure the stability of South Africa’s NPS for the next 40 years.







40 Year illustrated history of Bankservafrica