Absa and Visa has launched the first reloadable prepaid cards in South Africa, bringing an affordable financial service to the unbanked and underserved consumer segments.
The Absa Prepaid Debit Card is designed for use by a wide range of consumers, including: people with irregular income (for example contract and part time workers), those who cannot access traditional banking products, those who want to replace cash or cheque payments with a suitable alternative, or want to receive electronic payments without opening a traditional bank account.
"Building on the success of other prepaid services, such as mobile phones, fixed line telephony and electricity, we believe prepaid cards are just what is needed to ensure safe, affordable banking for those who previously were unable to access or afford financial services, for whatever reason," says Venete Klein, executive director of retail banking at Absa.
"We also believe that we have to be innovative when it comes to product development by offering our customers safe alternatives to cash, above and beyond the
existing Mzansi account."
Prepaid cards are emerging as a popular new method of payment globally and Absa and Visa are the first to pioneer reloadable prepaid solutions for the unbanked and underserved in South Africa.
"Reloadable prepaid cards complete Visa's payment product set providing solutions for those segments who are outside of the mainstream financial sector," says Rob Clark, GM at Visa sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Absa, prepaid cards offer affordability as there is only a one-time fee of R30.00 for issuing the card. Each card is valid for three years and there are no monthly management fees.
The card also offers free purchase transactions at till points, one free balance enquiry and no charges for all prepaid airtime top-ups transactions.
Secure transactions are ensured through PIN based verification and the card, which has no minimum balance, can be topped up by transferring funds through mobile or online banking, or from any ATM.