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Social distancing-friendly SASSA payments ahead

Written by More Matshediso

Social grant beneficiaries near Rustenburg in the North West were the first to use the cashless ATMs recently unveiled as additional payment points for South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grants.

The cashless ATMs were launched by the South African Post Office (SAPO) to mark the commencement of the rolling-out of over 10 000 cashless ATM devices within spaza shops, townships and in rural areas.

This initiative aims to bring financial services closer to where people live as well as address digital, economic and social divides in communities.

According to Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Pinky Kekana, the SAPO cashless ATM solution responds to the department’s mandate to foster economic inclusion through technology innovations.

How do cashless ATMs work?

According to SAPO, SASSA beneficiaries making use of the new ATMs need to do the following:

  • Insert your SASSA card into the ATM card slot and use your SASSA card pin to initiate a transaction (in the same manner you would draw cash at bank ATMs).
  • Select the amount you want taken off your SASSA card.
  • If the debit is successful, the cashless ATM will print out two slips (a merchant slip and a customer slip), confirming the debit.
  • The customer will exchange the merchant slip for cash or goods to the same value, at their local spaza shop or another participating local retailer.

North West Social Development MEC Boitumelo Moiloa says the new system will stimulate local economic activity as SASSA beneficiaries will be spending their grant money at merchants within their localities, and the initiative will assist beneficiaries to stretch the rand value of each social grant disbursement as they will no longer have to travel long distances to reach grant payment points.

Chairperson of the Post Office Board Colleen Makhubele says bringing financial services to the people is one of the most important goals of the SAPO.

“We are proud to announce a product that takes South Africans one step further away from cash, and which will benefit local economies. Moreover, the strategy adopted by SAPO to place these cashless ATMs right where the people are, enables vulnerable members of society to make the absolute most of their grant,” she says.

SAPO says that in addition to accessing social grants, customers will be able to use the cashless ATMs to perform the following transactions safely, without the need to withdraw cash:

  • Purchase pre-paid electricity
  • Pre-paid airtime purchases
  • Bill payments (for municipality and other bills)
  • Insurance activations and payments
  • Money transfers
  • Ticketing
  • Transport solutions (loading of contactless transport cards)
  • Balance enquiries.