New TymeBank study reveals what customers do with their credit cards

By TymeBank - 03 February, 2022

3 February 2022

While some 6,9 million[1] South Africans own a credit card, what we do with our cards, and the reasons why, varies considerably depending on our age, income, and life stage. This is according to TymeBank’s new online survey, which coincides with the launch of the bank’s first credit card. What is clear from the research is that 74% of South Africans are using their card to shop online more than ever before, triggered in large part due to the pandemic.

Experience counts

The survey shows that age, rather than income, has the largest influence on purchasing and repayment behaviour.  For example, the overwhelming majority (71%) of respondents in the 50+ age group use their card for convenience, while 42% pay off their cards monthly, regardless of their financial circumstances. This prudent behaviour points to the benefit of experience and potentially some hard-won lessons about the importance of paying off credit card debt as soon as possible. Just under a third (31%) of respondents pay as much as they can each month, while 30% pay the minimum required and only 22% are disciplined enough to pay off their cards in full each month. Sixteen percent reported paying the same amount off every month, regardless of the balance.

Earning more doesn’t necessarily influence repayment behaviour - only 29% of those with a household income (HHI) of R30k+ pay off their cards monthly in full.   

What we buy with our credit cards

According to the survey, most respondents (63%) use credit cards for big purchases like appliances, furniture, and renovations, while 46% pay for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and funerals. Forty one percent use their cards to pay for holidays and to travel, although this is far more likely among those earning over R30k (65%) and those older than 50 (52%). Just under a quarter of respondents (24%) use their cards for most of their purchases – from big ticket items, to clothing and treats like dinner and drinks.

TymeBank study infographic

How Generation Z uses their credit cards

The survey revealed some interesting insights into the purchasing behaviour of cardholders between the ages of 18 and 24. Card ownership amongst survey respondents in the 18-24 age group is surprisingly high at 46%, with the popularity of online shopping among the younger generation a likely contributing factor. The overwhelming majority (70%) indicate they are more likely to use their card to manage their money and monthly transactions and less likely to rely on it to access credit (21%).  This compares favourably with the overall sample, with 32% claiming they need access to the credit. When it comes to purchases, they tend to pay for entertainment using their cards (37%), whereas 81% buy clothing above all else. 

What we look for in a credit card

When choosing a credit card, low fees are the most important feature for 77% of the sample, while 61% look for a good loyalty programme.  Competitive interest rates rank high for 60% of respondents, followed by additional benefits at 56%. Interestingly, the card’s design is an influencing factor for 16%, while 6% said they liked the status that comes with having a credit card.

Whether it is for online payments or instore purchases, there are definite benefits to having a credit card, provided it is used responsibly. It is a secure, convenient method of payment that can add value to your budget and lifestyle.  Cardholders can bolster their credit scores if they make payments on time and in full, which may even help with securing lower interest rates on other forms of credit.

That said, simply due to the circumstances we find ourselves in economically, not everyone is able to pay their card off monthly, which is why it is really important to think carefully before using your credit card.  Use it for those unexpected costs, big ticket items and special occasions to better manage your payments, which if paid on time and in full do not incur any interest,” says TymeBank CEO Tauriq Keraan.

Here are some helpful FAQs on how to use the TymeBank Credit Card:

[1] TransUnion Industry Insights Report

[1] SA Online Retail leaps to R30-billion | Middle East/Africa Hub (


Notes to Editor:

The TymeBank credit card survey is based on 1000 respondents. The sample was made up of 72% female and 28% male. 12% were 18-24 years old, 37% were 25-24 years old and 35% were 35-49 years old. 16% were over 50 years old. 56% of the sample identified as Black, 20% as White, 14% as Coloured, 9% as Asian and 1% as ‘Other’. 39% came from Gauteng, 22% from the W.Cape, 16% from KZN, 7% from Limpopo, 5% from E.Cape, 4% from Mpumalanga, 4% from F.State, 4% from the North West and 1% from the N.Cape. 50% had a HHI of less than R10k, 33% had an HHI between R10 and R30k and 17% had a HHI of over R30k. The study was commissioned by TymeBank and undertaken by ovatoyou during December 2021 and January 2022.

About TymeBank

TymeBank is currently one of the world’s fastest-growing digital banks, forecasted to hit 4,5M customers at the end of February 2022, 3 years since launching in February 2019.  The bank is founded on simplicity, transparency and affordability and is designed to make digital banking accessible and affordable to all South Africans across the economic spectrum.

TymeBank is majority owned by Dr Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital (‘ARC’). Recent investors include Tencent, an internet and technology company based in China and CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor.

Others include UK based Apis Growth Fund II (‘Apis’), a fintech private equity fund based in the UK, JG Summit Holdings (JG Summit) a Philippines based conglomerate owned by the Gokongwei family, African Fig Tree (AFT), a ring-fenced vehicle established by the founders along with key individuals, and the Ethos AI Fund.

TymeBank is a member of the Tyme Group of companies with headquarters in Singapore.

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