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Shoprite banks on winning over 18 million Sassa beneficiaries as SA Post Office faces collapse

Shoprite banks on winning over 18 million Sassa beneficiaries as SA Post Office faces collapse
(Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo)

The government has indicated that it plans to mount a legal defence against the proposed liquidation of the SA Post Office, but in the interim, Shoprite seems to be making money moves with its ambitious plan to win over 18 million Sassa beneficiaries.

As the South African Post Office teeters on the brink of collapse, retailer Shoprite, which has made forays into the clothing, banking and mobile market, is offering pensioners the opportunity to switch their South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) gold cards to a Shoprite Money Market Account.

It’s a bold move to gain banking market share, with the offer of a low-cost (zero monthly fees), fully transactional bank account backed by Grindrod Bank, accessible at 25,000 till points at Shoprite, Checkers and Usave supermarkets nationwide. All transactions within the Shoprite environment are free. 

Chief executive Pieter Engelbrecht told Daily Maverick last year that the group had picked up more than 2 million customers using the Money Market Account within a year of launching it, and would “be giving this initiative more attention now. There’s definitely scope for a low-cost banking product.”

The timing of the offer for Sassa beneficiaries with expiring gold cards to switch to the Shoprite money market account could not be better for the retailer. The South African Post Office, which handles Sassa payouts, is on a precarious footing after two real estate companies, which lease space to the SOE that is used for its postal branches, successfully secured court orders in recent weeks to have it provisionally liquidated.

The government has indicated that it plans to mount a legal defence against the proposed liquidation, but in the interim, Shoprite seems to be making money moves with its ambitious plan to win over 18 million Sassa beneficiaries.

The Shoprite Money Market account, which has 3 million account holders, carries no monthly fees and offers free transactions within Shoprite, and a flat R5 transaction fee for withdrawals. Account holders do not pay any fees to send money and grocer vouchers, buy airtime, data and electricity, and pay bills and for groceries from their phones. 

To sweeten the deal, Shoprite is offering grant recipients up to R100 in Shoprite vouchers when their first Sassa grant of R800 or more is paid into their Money Market Account. DM/BM

This article was updated on 19 April 2023 to correct the Sassa beneficiaries figure.

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