Officials from NSSF, VISA and Centenary Bank in a group photo after the launch of the Smart Card
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in partnership with Visa and Centenary Bank has today unveiled a three-in-one social security smart card which embeds NSSF functionality, bank functionality and a loyalty program, the first of its kind in East Africa.
The card forms a critical component of the Fund’s digitalization strategy which is geared at leveraging new technology to improve efficiencies, customer experience and ultimately make savings a way of life for Ugandans. It will support the Fund’s transition from a laminated membership card to a functional Chip and PIN plastic option.
Using the card, the Fund’s members will be able to directly withdraw their NSSF savings upon qualification, deposit and withdraw money from their bank accounts, pay bills, make transactions online, at ATM’s and Point of Sale terminals. In addition, they will access exclusive deals from selected merchants.
Addressing media at the launch, Richard Byarugaba, the Fund’s Managing Director said the innovation will go a long way in driving financial inclusion and promote service delivery to its over 2Million members.
“For a long time, we have wanted to replace the laminated membership cards with more functional cards that can allow members access more than viewership of their account balance. I am glad that this dream has finally come to fruition. I believe that this will greatly improve our customers’ experience” he said.
Byarugaba added, “The smart card complements our digital claims process, providing easy and faster validation for qualifying members to withdraw their savings in a timely manner. This shows that we are on the right track to realizing improved turnaround time for benefits processing to one day, by 2025.”
The Smart card comes in two forms namely, the Debit smart card and the Prepaid smart card. The debit card comes with an NSSF Smart Life bank account that can be opened at Centenary Bank whereas the Prepaid smart card can be loaded with funds and this card is available to both customers and non- customers of the Bank. Both cards can used to make purchases at any VISA enabled points worldwide. Members have an option of choosing their card of preference.
Under the partnership, Centenary Bank will provide NSSF members with direct banking services while Visa will facilitate the financial transactions at any of their locations worldwide.
Joseph Balikuddembe, the Executive Director Centenary Bank said, “As a bank on its journey to becoming a SMART Bank by 2026, we are honored to be part of this game changing innovation in the pension industry. We do believe it will enhance customer convenience and NSSF members will enjoy banking services across our 81 branches, point of sale machines, 192 ATMs and 5,200 agents. The debit and pre-paid cards come with a SMART life account that targets existing and new NSSF members with free card and free charge account coupled with great card discounts from our partner merchants.”
Thembeka Ngugi, Visa Senior Director and Head of Marketing for Sub Saharan Africa applauded NSSF on this new achievement and assured security of their savings while using their smart card.
She said, “We are delighted to welcome NSSF members to the Visa network where they can enjoy secure and convenient financial transactions. Our presence here today is a sign of trust in Visa as the leading payments partner in Uganda as well as the preferred partner for the digitization of public and private sector payments.”
Bank of Uganda Acting Governor, Michael Atingi-Ego, who was chief guest at the product launch, applauded the NSSF, Centenary Bank and Visa for the innovation saying it was in line with the Central Bank’s financial inclusion agenda which promotes access and usage of financial services. He also assured members of safety of their funds while transacting with the banks.