Smartcard users continue to enjoy banking services
Initiatives such as the recently introduced Smartswitch card by Nampost aid in the easy access to finance to people in rural areas and those that are under-banked.
According to Felicia Jooste Manager: Operations Savings Bank NamPost Ltd, in order to address the financial inclusion vision,the introduction of the Smart Card has resulted in many Namibians who were previously unbanked to now enjoy the qualities of banking.
SmartSwitch recently merged with NamPost to offer Savings Bank book clients with SmartCards. The merger provides numerous opportunities to clients who can now choose to have their entire salary or wage paid into the card or to have it split between the wage and the card. Once the wage is on the card, interest is earned on the savings wallet on the card.
The 2012 Finscope survey revealed that the under-banked population in the country has decreased from 50 to 30 percent and according to Jooste, this is due to the introduction of the Smart card.
With over 135 post offices country wide, more than 400 000 banked clients are now using the Smart card through the services offered by Nampost.
Cash is withdrawn from any of NamPost’s branches country wide as well as from participating merchants. Since cash withdrawals are performed offline, Smart Card clients do not experience similar problems encountered to that of offline Automatic Teller Machines (ATM’s).
Card holders also have access to a wide array of services such as 3rd party payments, card to card transfers, card to commercial bank transfers as well as deposits without a card. The threat of robbery is minimised as one requires a fingerprint identification when using the card. Also, no Personal Identification Number (PIN) is required.
“Our fees are competitive, the clients do not experience any hidden costs. We provide accessibility, where other Financial Institutions cannot,” said Jooste.
She added that the growth of NamPost banking business is growing. She added that clients will in future enjoy more electronic channels of transacting and will be provided with a variety of products and services to choose from.
Smart Card users are also eligible for loans from Nedbank through PostFin. Loan amounts from N$750 up to a maximum of N$ 40 000 are repayable over 3 to 48 months.
“Growth is evident, as the Namibian population is growing and our people get more educated about the benefits of banking, business will grow. Initiatives like the Financial Literacy Initiative, are sure awareness raisers that prompt people to want to save or bank,”she said.