1. Our service

  1. Root offers a fully functional bank account (“account”) through its site (https://root.co.za, the “Website”)
  2. Additionally, you can program your account to function, and generate reports, the way you chose it to, by using the code and the other features of our Website (the “Code”).
  3. You can also subscribe for vendor products - which are programs created by users to provide specific functions with respect to your account (“Vendor Products”). You can even create your own Vendor Products for your own use, or to make available for other users to subscribe to.
  4. In addition, you can transact on your account using physical card which we issue, or virtual cards which you can create yourself (each defined as a “Card”).
  5. Each of the account, website, code, client apps and card are referred to as our “Services”.
  6. While the accounts are supported by Standard Bank Ltd, they are operated entirely by using the Website, the code and your card.

2. What are these terms?

  1. These terms and conditions apply to any holder of a Root account , every holder and/or user a card, and the users who create Accounts and otherwise chose to use the features available on the Website.
  2. By applying for an account, transacting with the card or using the Website features you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.

3. The account

If your application is accepted, then registering for an account on our Website will enable you to program open-ended functionality relating to the way in which you use, control and manage your funds.

4. The code

The Code together with the features available on the Website give you the freedom to program functionality which applies only to your account and will be owned by you, subject to clause 17 (Ownership) allowing you to develop your own intellectual property, as well as to participate in a forum of other Users with whom you can seek out for assistance.

5. The card

  1. The card is a prepaid debit card only - you can only spend funds which you deposit or “charge” your account with in advance.
  2. The card is issued by The Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd (“the Issuing Bank”).
  3. You can request a copy of these terms and conditions at any time. An up to date version of these terms and conditions will be available at https://root.co.za/terms.

6. Depositing funds

  1. Your card can be loaded with a Rand amount by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).
  2. The time that it takes for your card balance to be updated and reflect on your account depends on the method that you use to load it and the time that it takes for the funds to be received by the Issuing Bank.
  3. If the Issuing Bank receives the funds on a business day, your card will be updated with the amount on the same business day.
  4. If the Issuing Bank receives the funds on a nonbusiness day, your balance will update on the next business day. You can check the transfer time with your bank if you pay from a bank account.


  1. We are required by the FICA (Financial Intelligence Centre Act) to request certain information about you and any persons related or associated to you, and to verify that information with documents which we will request from you when we believe it is necessary or appropriate.
  2. If you do not comply with our requests or if you do not furnish the information or documents, we may refuse any application which you have made to us, or we may immediately close your Account.
  3. If at any time, we suspect that your Account is no longer compliant with FICA, we may prevent transactions from being initiated or processed until your Account is fully compliant with FICA.

8. Use of the card

  1. The card is a prepaid debit product which can be used to pay for goods and services at retailers that display the card scheme (Mastercard / Visa) symbol found on your card. To use the card, present it at the time of payment.
  2. You can use the card to buy in-store, on the internet or over the phone. You can use your card to draw cash from an ATM.
  3. The Root card is not a guarantee card, charge card or credit card.
  4. You will not earn any interest on any funds loaded onto the card.
  5. You may not use the card for any transactions for cash other than ATM withdrawal, including cash back, cash from a bank or money orders. You may not use your card for illegal purposes.
  6. Your balance will be reduced by the amount of each purchase you make.
  7. You will only receive your card once your identity has been verified, as per FICA requirements set out in section 3, and your application approved. After that, your account can be loaded with funds.
  8. When you receive your card, you must follow the instructions included with the card to activate it, or visit https://root.co.za/activate
  9. You may not make purchases that exceed the balance of funds available on the card. If any purchase takes you over your available funds or over the card limit in force at the time, or trigger any RootCode rules on the card which request a decline, the transaction will be declined.
  10. We may stop, suspend or restrict your card or PIN on reasonable grounds relating to:
    1. the security of your card, card number or PIN; or
    2. the suspected unauthorised or fraudulent use of your card or PIN.
  11. If possible, we will inform you before stopping, suspending or restricting your card or PIN. If we are unable to do so then we will inform you immediately afterwards. This requirement does not apply where it would compromise reasonable security measures or it would be unlawful to do so.
  12. We are not responsible for the quality, safety, legality, or any other aspect of any goods or services purchased with the card.
  13. We will not issue the card under these terms and conditions to anyone under the age of 18 years old.

9. Transactions

  1. You agree that any use of your card, card number or PIN constitutes your authorisation and consent to a transaction.
  2. The time of receipt of a transaction order is when it is received by us. If a transaction order is received after 6pm on a business day then it will be deemed to have been received on the next business day. If receipt does not fall on a business day then it will be deemed to have been received on the next business day.
  3. You cannot stop a transaction after you have consented it and it has been transmitted to us, or once you have given your consent to the supplier for a pre-authorised payment.
  4. We hold the right to refuse a transaction or suspend or terminate the right to top up your card. We may do this if:
    1. the relevant phone or computer link is busy;
    2. a transaction might take you over your available funds on the card;
    3. a transaction might take you over any of your card limits;
    4. we reasonably believe that we need to do so to keep to the rules of the payment system under which your card is issued; or
    5. we reasonably believe that we need to do so to comply with any law or as a matter of good practice

10. Foreign currency transactions

  1. The card can be used for transactions that are not in the currency of the card.
  2. If you make a transaction in a currency other than the currency of the card, we will convert the amount into the currency of the card at the current bid or offer exchange rate determined by us at our sole and absolute discretion.
  3. Exchange rates may change over time, and the exchange rate that applies on the date that you make your transaction may not be the same as the exchange rate we use on the date that we convert the transaction and deduct it from your balance. The exchange rate will be determined on the date the cleared funds are received or the payment is made.

11. Checking your balance and reviewing transactions

  1. To check the available balance on your card, you can use the Root application interface or the Root web application.
  2. Using your login details, you can access your transaction data via the Root web application interface, via the Root web application by downloading it in CSV format, or via an application programming interface in JSON format.

12. Lost or stolen card

  1. If your card is lost or stolen or someone else finds out the PIN, or, if you think your card, card number or PIN may be misused, you must:
    1. without undue delay, lock the card within your Root web application (if you do not have access to the web application, email us at hello@root.co.za so that we can stop your card and PIN)
    2. stop using the card, card number and PIN immediately
  2. If you find the card after you have temporarily locked it, you can re-enable it via the web and continue using it. If you find the card after you have contacted us and reported it permanently lost, stolen or misused, please cut it up and dispose of it.
  3. If your card is lost or stolen, you can order a replacement by emailing us at hello@root.co.za. We will charge a fee for replacement cards, although we may choose to waive the fee at our discretion.
  4. If your card is used without your permission, or is lost, stolen or if you think the card may be misused, we may disclose to law enforcement agencies any information which we reasonably believe may be relevant.

13. When your card expires

  1. The card’s expiry date is printed on the card. You may not use the card after its expiry date.
  2. If you do not want your card to be renewed contact us via email at hello@root.co.za.
  3. If your card has not been used in the eight weeks prior to its expiry date, you will be sent an email asking if you want to replace that card and keep any existing balance on it. If you request that we do this, you will be issued with a replacement card within two weeks. A replacement card fee may apply.
  4. If you renew your card his agreement will continue to apply.
  5. If you request that your card not be renewed or do not request a replacement, you can redeem any outstanding balance on the card up to 6 years after the expiry date by following the process in condition 21. If any balance remains on the card for more than 6 years after the expiry date, it will not be refunded.

14. Responsibilities of the users of the services

  1. Your access to, and all of your use of the Website, Account and other Services must be lawful and must be in compliance with these Terms, and any other agreement between you and Root.
  2. When accessing or using the Website, the Products, and/or the Services, you must behave in a civil and respectful manner at all times. We specifically prohibit any use of the Website, Products, and/or Services, and you agree not to use the Website, for any of the following:
    1. Engaging in conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, giving rise to liability or otherwise violate any national or international law or regulation that would fail to comply with accepted Internet protocol;
    2. Attempting to interfere in any way with the Website, or our networks or network security, or attempting to use our Website to gain unauthorized access to any other computer system;
    3. Accessing data not intended for you, or logging onto a server or account, which you are not authorized to access;
    4. Attempting to probe, scan or test the vulnerability of a system or network or to breach security or authentication measures without proper authorization (or succeeding in such an attempt);
    5. Attempting to interfere or interfering with the operation of the Website, Products, or Services, or our provision of services to any other users of the Website, our hosting provider or our network, including, without limitation, via means of submitting a virus to the Website, overloading, “flooding”, “mail bombing” or “crashing” the Website;
  3. If your access keys are lost or stolen, delete them immediately from the developer section in the Root web interface.
  4. Should you find an unresolved issue with the service that allows for manipulation or access of material data please report it via an email to hello@root.co.za. Please see our bug bounty program for more details at: https://root.co.za/bug-bounty

15. Third Party Applications

  1. The Root platform is integrated with third party applications, websites, and services (“Third Party Applications”) to make available content, products, and/or services to you.
  2. If you chose to use any Third Party Applications, then your use will be governed by that Third Party Application’s terms and conditions of use and privacy policies. Your use of these Third Party Applications will be governed by and subject to those terms and conditions and privacy policies.
  3. You understand and agree that Root does not endorse and is not responsible or liable for the behavior, features, or content of any Third Party Application or for any transaction you may enter into with the provider of any such Third Party Applications.

16. Vendors Products and Client Applications

  1. The Root platform allows users and third parties to create Vendor Products. These Vendor Products may be made available for subscription by other users - who can grant access to their Root accounts and cards to those Vendor Products through Client Apps, an Oauth2.0 implementation on the Root platform (“Client Apps”).
  2. Vendor Products are to be treated as Third Party Applications for purposes of these terms, and are governed by the provisions of clause 15 (“Third Party Applications”) as well as the provisions of this clause.
  3. The Root website will clearly indicate if a Vendor Product is trusted by Root.
  4. We do not guarantee the behaviour or intent of Vendor Products and/or their third party owners as per section 15(c), even if they are marked as trusted.
  5. You can explicitly grant access to a Vendor Product, giving the owner access to your account and card with clearly indicated permissions.
  6. The use of Vendor Products are done at your own risk and your discretion should be used.
  7. Vendor Products can be created by any Root user and will be in a limited-access state until reviewed and marked as trusted by us. This might include only being available to a predefined list of Root users.
  8. We can review a Vendor Product on request and mark it as trusted if we consider it responsible and safe at our own discretion.
  9. If you chose to create a Vendor Product, then it must comply with Root’s terms and conditions, as the terms evolve from time to time.
  10. We can remove the trusted mark or the entire Vendor Product from the Root platform without prior warning if we deem a Vendor Product unfit. This might include not complying to our community standards, being inappropriate, unlawful or for any other reason. We will disclose the reason for removal to the Vendor Product owner at a reasonable time.
  11. Owners of Vendor Products are responsible for being clear about the functionality of the Vendor Product and are not allowed to mislead users.
  12. Your Vendor Product should not contain functionality which would be deemed as unexpected to a user, especially when involving transacting with the account.
  13. You should provide an easily accessible and understandable Privacy Policy for your Vendor Product.
  14. We may analyse your Vendor Product, content, usage and data, for any purpose, including commercial.
  15. We may use your Vendor Product in our promotional and marketing material.

17. Ownership

  1. General: As between you and Root, we exclusively own and reserve all right, title and interest in and to our Services. This means that you absolutely agree that all right, title and interest in, and to, any of our intellectual property (in its widest possible, legal and commercial sense) is proprietary to us, and will remain so. You will not acquire any rights of any nature in respect of that intellectual property by using our Services.
  2. As between you and Root, you exclusively own and reserve all right, title and interest in the programmed functionality which you create using the code (i.e. “Your Applications”). Our goal is to enable all users to create programming functionality, whether for their own use or as Vendor Products.
  3. Please remember that mere ideas are not property, and are not protected in law. The ideas behind Your Applications are not your intellectual property and are not protected. You may therefore not bring any legal action against any Users of our Services or against us, the provider of the Services as you do not have a monopoly over your ideas in this context.
  4. Where you share your ideas and/or Code on the service forums you relinquish any right in and to such ideas and Code. We therefore suggest not sharing your Code with anyone, unless you’re agreeing to waive your rights to it. However, we encourage you to share your ideas with other Users of our Services through the service forum as it is a safe space in which to develop your ideas and Code and to help others in this community.
  5. Suggestions & Contributions: We welcome your feedback on our Services. But please know that by submitting suggestions or other feedback about our Services (“Contributions") you agree that:
    1. we are not under any obligation of confidentiality with respect to your Contributions;
    2. we may use or disclose (or choose not to use or disclose) your Contributions for any purpose and in any way;
    3. you irrevocably, non-exclusively license to us rights to exploit your Contributions; and
    4. you are not entitled to any compensation or reimbursement of any kind from us under any circumstances for your Contributions.

18. Warranties

  1. We give no guarantee of any kind concerning the content or quality of our Services or any Third Party App. We do not give any warranty (express or implied) or make any representation that our Services or any Third Party App will operate error free or without interruption or that any errors will be corrected or that the content is complete, accurate, up to date, or fit for a particular purpose.
  2. We make no representations to you, either express or implied, and we will have no liability or responsibility for the proper performance of our Services, any Third Party App and/or the information, images or audio contained in our Services or Third Party App. Our Services and any Third Party App are used at your own risk.

19. Liability

  1. To be clear Root will not be liable to you for any loss caused by the use of our Services, or use of any Third Party App, or your liability to any third party arising from those subjects. This includes any interruption, malfunction, downtime, off-line situation or other failure of our Services, the Third Party App, system, databases or any of its components, any loss or damage with regard to your data or other data directly or indirectly caused by malfunction of our Services, any third party systems whatsoever, power failures, unlawful access to or theft of data, computer viruses or destructive code on our Services or third party systems or programming defects. The remainder of this section amplifies this theme.
  2. We will not be liable for:
    1. any abnormal or unforeseeable circumstances outside our reasonable control (for example, a failure of computer systems which happens for reasons outside our reasonable control or any industrial action which happens for reasons outside our reasonable control) if this prevents us from providing its usual service;
    2. any person refusing to accept or honour (or delays in accepting or honouring) your card, card number or PIN;
    3. any cash dispenser failing to issue cash;
    4. the way in which you are told about any refusal or delay; and
    5. any losses obtained through sharing access to your account to other persons or 3rd party products or software.
  3. You must always make sure that you:
    1. sign the back of your card as soon as you receive it
    2. keep your card safe
    3. do not reveal your PIN and never write down your password(s), PIN or any security information you have given us unless you do this in a way that would make it impossible for anyone else to recognise any of that information
    4. only release the card, card number or PIN to make (or try to make) a transaction
    5. keep access keys and tokens for your account to yourself and secure.
  4. Root does not guarantee bank transfer disbursement times and will not be liable for any delays.
  5. Root will not be liable for any errors/inaccuracies in the API Reference Documentation and Guidelines (for example, documentation being out of date). We will do our best to keep documentation up to date and inform you of changes, however we cannot guarantee its correctness.
  6. In the event of a change in the API functionality/schema, Root is not liable for any adverse effects this may cause you. We will do our best to inform you of changes to our API, but we do not guarantee this will always be done.
  7. You are responsible for your own use of the API and Root is not liable in the event of:
    1. accidental transfer of funds from your account;
    2. endpoints not working as expected (we will do our best to keep documentation accurate and up to date); and
    3. downtime, which leads to hinderance of your usage.
  8. Root is not liable for any misuse of keys that have been lost/stolen.
  9. In case of errors or disputes about transactions, please email us at hello@root.co.za.
  10. Finally, our limited liability applies to all and any kind of loss which we can possibly contract out of under law, including direct, indirect, consequential, special or other kinds of losses or claims which you may suffer.

20. Altering these Terms and Conditions

  1. We may change any of these terms and conditions, including fees and charges, or introduce new terms. If we make any changes, we will give written notice to you by email.
  2. You will be deemed to have accepted any change to these terms and conditions by your use of the Root service after we have provided notice. Should you have an issue with the changes you can email us at hello@root.co.za.
  3. If you notify us that you do not accept the change, this agreement will terminate immediately and you will be deemed to have cancelled your card per section 16.

21. Redemption

  1. You can redeem all or part of your balance by emailing us at hello@root.co.za up until the date that is 6 years after the expiry date shown on your card.
  2. We will transfer any redeemed funds into a bank account which is in your name. We may request proof from you of the account name.
  3. You will not be charged a redemption fee.

22. Cancellation and termination

  1. If you change your mind about having the card, you can cancel it at any time without charge. We will refund any balance remaining on the card to you as per section 15.
  2. We will reimburse you in the same currency as that of your Root card.
  3. We may terminate this agreement at any time. Unless there are exceptional circumstances we will give you 2 month’s written notice.
  4. You can terminate this agreement by emailing us at hello@root.co.za, and we will refund any balance remaining on the card to you as per section 15.
  5. If you do not redeem your full balance within 6 years of your card’s expiry date, this agreement terminates.

23. General

  1. By entering into this agreement you agree:
    1. that we may use your information in accordance with our Privacy Policy and clause 23 “How we use your information” below;
    2. that you are able to enter into a contract (you have full contractual capacity) and no court has declared you mentally unfit to do so;
    3. that you have given us correct and accurate information; and
    4. that you have read and understood these Terms before entering into this agreement.
  2. We may monitor and/or record telephone calls between you and us or service providers.
  3. You must provide us with an email, postal address and phone number and keep us up to date with any changes.
  4. We may transfer our rights or obligations under this agreement or arrange for any other person to carry out our rights or obligations under this agreement. You may not transfer any of your rights or obligations under this agreement.
  5. We can delay enforcing our rights under this agreement without losing them.
  6. If we cannot enforce any paragraph or condition, or part of a paragraph or condition under this agreement, it will not affect any of the other paragraphs or conditions or the remaining parts of those paragraphs or conditions in this agreement.
  7. This agreement is governed by the law of South Africa. The language of this agreement is English and all notices and information given under this agreement will be in English.

24. How we use your information

  1. We will search your record at credit reference and fraud prevention agencies. These searches are to check your identity and we do not carry out full credit reference checks or credit scoring for this purpose. We will use an automated decision-making system to assess your application and verify your identity.
    1. If we are unable to verify your identity adequately, we may ask you to provide some documentary evidence to help confirm your identity and address.
  2. Credit reference agencies may check the details you supply against any particulars on any database (public or otherwise) to which they have access. An unrecorded enquiry will be made. An unrecorded enquiry is a search that was not made for lending purposes. It cannot affect your credit rating or score when you apply for credit. It is not seen by other lenders. It is included on your credit report to indicate the search was made but does not affect your credit rating, or score, when you apply for credit.
  3. If you give us false or inaccurate information and we identify fraud, we will record this with fraud prevention agencies. Law enforcement agencies may access and use this information.
    1. The fraud prevention agencies will share records with other organisations. We and other organisations may access and use the information recorded by fraud prevention agencies overseas.
    2. You have certain rights to receive a copy of any information we hold about you. Please email us at hello@root.co.za. We may charge you for this service.
  4. Some information held by credit reference and fraud prevention agencies will be disclosed to us in order to prevent fraud and money laundering, by checking applications for credit, credit-related or other facilities, proposals and claims for all types of insurance, job applications and employee records, and to verify your identity.
  5. When you have an agreement with us we may use the following types of information about you:
    1. information you give us or we already hold about you, including any phone number you call us from;
    2. information available about your usage or configuration of your mobile device, including the presence of other applications, unique device-identifying information, and any identifying cellular network, IP, wifi or bluetooth data;
    3. information you give us explicit permission to access from your mobile device, including your address book, photos, geolocation, data from your cameras or microphones (You may choose not to give permission to share this data, but it may restrict the usage of certain features of the Root platform);
    4. information from any social network or other online accounts that you choose to share with us;
    5. information we receive when making a decision about your application or agreement, including information we receive from enquiries and searches made in your name with credit reference and fraud prevention agencies;
    6. information (including details of payments and transactions) we may hold about any managed account or policy which you hold with or through us, and
    7. information we receive from anyone who is allowed to provide us with information about you.
  6. We will process, use, manage, control, release and record information about you to:
    1. search credit reference and fraud prevention agencies’ records (including information from overseas);
    2. manage your accounts and policies, and manage any application, agreement or correspondence you may have with us;
    3. carry out, monitor, analyse and improve our business;
    4. contact you by post, by phone or in another way about other products and services which we consider may interest you – unless you tell us that you prefer not to receive direct marketing;
    5. fight fraud, money-laundering, terrorism and other crimes;
    6. keep to any laws or regulations in any country;
  7. We may reveal information about you:
    1. to any person working for us or our co-brand partner
    2. to fraud prevention agencies;
    3. to any organisation which backs any of our products which you hold;
    4. to any payment system under which we issue your card;
    5. if a payment is processed through a worldwide payment system, to certain authorities in order to detect and prevent terrorism (including authorities outside South Africa);
    6. to any person to whom we transfer any of our rights or obligations under any agreement we may have with you, and
    7. to anyone you authorise us to give information about you to.
  8. Processing your information, as described above, may involve sending it to other countries outside of South Africa, including Europe and the United States of America. In such circumstances we are responsible for making sure that your information continues to be protected.
  9. We will keep information about you for only as long as we need to or is required to meet legal obligations.