NSSF unveils first social security Smart Card in East Africa

The card forms a critical component of the Fund’s digitalization strategy geared at leveraging new technology to improve efficiencies, customer experience and ultimately make savings a way of life for Ugandans.

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Uganda’s National Social Security Fund in partnership with Visa and Centenary Bank on June.16 unveiled a three-in-one social security smart card that 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 geared at leveraging new technology to improve efficiencies, customer experience and ultimately make savings a way of life for Ugandans.

The new card will support the Fund’s transition from a laminated membership card to a functional Chip and PIN plastic option. Contributors interested in the NSSF Smart card will require to visit the outlets or centenary bank branches with the NSSF number and the national identity card.

With the new 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.

NSSF Managing Director, Richard Byarugaba, 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.

“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. However, both cards can be used to make purchases at any Visa enabled points worldwide. Members have an option of choosing their card of preference.

Centenary Bank will in the partnership 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 at Centenary Bank said as a bank on its journey to becoming a SMART Bank by 2026, they are honored to be part of this game changing innovation.

“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,” he said.

“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 for Sub Saharan Africa reiterated Visa’s commitment to delivering safe, secure and reliable payment solutions that meet the needs of customers.

She said, “We are delighted to welcome NSSF members to the Visa network where they can enjoy secure and convenient financial services. Embracing digital payments and a potentially cashless society is where the future lies,” she said.

Ngugi said Visa is investing more than ever in global assets, infrastructure, and digital capabilities to reshape the future of commerce. She said digital payments, such as those enabled by Visa, are a first step to financial inclusion.

Bank of Uganda Acting Governor, Michael Atingi-Ego, who was chief guest at the 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.

NSSF is managing assets worth Shs 16.8 trillion as at end of March 2022, invested in fixed Income, equities and real estate assets within the East Africa region. The fund aims to hit Shs 20trillion in assets under its management by 2025.

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