Ten Million SASSA MasterCard Cards Issued to South African Social Grant Beneficiaries

  Ten Million SASSA MasterCard Cards Issued to South African Social Grant

Electronic programme helps government minimise fraud, reduce costs, and extend
                       financial inclusion to millions

To tweet this news, copy and paste #MasterCard and #sassagrants celebrate the
   issuing of 10 million SASSA Debit MasterCard social grant payment cards

Business Wire

PRETORIA, South Africa -- August 20, 2013

MasterCard and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) today
announced that there are 10 million active SASSA Debit MasterCard cards in
South Africa, following the introduction of the new biometric grant payment
disbursement system that commenced in March 2012.

Ann Cairns, President of International Markets, MasterCard (right) presents
Virginia Petersen, CEO o ...

Ann Cairns, President of International Markets, MasterCard (right) presents
Virginia Petersen, CEO of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA),
with an award to acknowledge SASSA's world-leading social grants payment
programme at an event held in Pretoria, South Africa on 20 August 2013. The
award commemorates the milestone of reaching 10 million active SASSA Debit
MasterCard cards in South Africa, which has significantly increased financial
inclusion in that country. (Photo: Business Wire)

This milestone marks the conclusion of the re-registration phase of the
project, with social grant beneficiaries having received their new Debit
MasterCard cards with biometric functionality, issued by Grindrod Bank in
association with SASSA and Net1 UEPS Technologies (Net1).

Since March 2012, just under 22 million social grant beneficiaries^1 have
re-registered onto the new system introduced by SASSA to minimise fraudulent
grant applications and collections and reduce grant administration costs by
distributing all grant payments electronically.

A crucial feature of the SASSA card’s biometric functionality is that it
positively identifies social grant recipients using unique identifiers such as
fingerprints, voice and other personal information, which means that the SASSA
cards cannot be used by any person other than the approved beneficiary to
collect his/her grant.

“A key driver of the new system was to put stringent measures in place for
SASSA to ensure that only qualifying grant recipients – those really in need –
are authorised to receive one of seven grants that SASSA offers. Between April
2012 and June 2013, over 150,000 grants were cancelled, which has led to a
saving of R150 million (about US$15.1 million) per annum,” explained Virginia
Petersen CEO, SASSA.

By simply moving all grant payments from largely cash payments, which were
costly, cumbersome and riddled with inefficiencies, to electronic payments,
the new system has already saved SASSA a considerable amount in grant
administration costs. Before March 2012, it cost SASSA on average R33
(US$3.33) per grant to pay beneficiaries. Under the new system, disbursement
costs have been capped at R16.44 (US$1.66) per payment.

To mark the occasion, Ann Cairns, President of International Markets,
MasterCard presented SASSA with a commemorative award to acknowledge SASSA’s
world-leading social grants payment programme on her visit to South Africa to
celebrate the milestone achievement.

“By supporting the South African government in the implementation of a
cost-effective electronic payments programme, we are helping them save money,
improve efficiencies and prevent fraud,” said Cairns. “More importantly, we
are opening up a world of financial inclusion to millions of South Africans
who haven’t previously had access to traditional financial services.”

Between March 2012 and July 2012, the SASSA Debit MasterCard card was cited as
the main contributing factor to the 4% growth in the country’s banked
population from 63% in 2011, to 67% in 2012 according to the FinScope South
Africa 2012 survey. As at July 2012, 2.5 million SASSA MasterCard cards had
been issued to grant recipients. Since then an additional 7.5 million cards
have been issued to grant recipients which should further increase financial
inclusion in South Africa.

“Millions of South Africans lack access to the most basic financial tools.
They don't have secure places to save money or reliable means to transfer it
and use it for transacting. Through the introduction of the SASSA Debit
MasterCard card, nearly one fifth of the South African population now benefits
from having a formal banking product, helping them build a stronger future for
themselves, their families and their communities,” said Cairns.

As part of the SASSA re-registration process, each recipient has a bank
account opened for them, which is offered free of monthly charges by Grindrod
Bank. Recipients can deposit funds into their bank account via electronic
funds transfer (EFT) or third party bank transfer.

The SASSA Debit MasterCard card can be used anywhere MasterCard cards are
accepted, and grant recipients can make purchases, check their account
balances and withdraw cash at till points without incurring transaction
charges at selected South African retailers. Recipients can also withdraw cash
at any ATM, which does however attract transaction charges.

“Ten million cards distributed to grant recipients in just 17 months is an
outstanding achievement. What is more remarkable, however, is the impact that
the SASSA Debit MasterCard card has had, and will continue to have, on the
lives of the grant beneficiaries, and on the national economy in general,”
said Cairns

“It is our goal to continue to introduce innovative payment solutions that
help make transacting quicker, safer and more convenient for everyone,
everywhere and whenever needed, and to realise MasterCard’s vision of creating
a world beyond cash,” she concluded.

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a global payments and technology
company. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network,
connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and
businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products
and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling,
running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more
efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the
discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest

^1 Multiple grant beneficiaries can be loaded onto a single SASSA Debit
MasterCard card

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:



For further information or media queries directed for the Department of Social
Development or SASSA:
Ms Lumka Oliphant
083 484 8067
For media queries directed for MasterCard:
Birgit Fawkes, Tribeca Public Relations
082349 4894
Sami Lahoud, MasterCard
+971 56 216 9273
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