By Mark Kawalya
In the middle of last month, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), in partnership with Centenary Bank and VISA launched a social security smart card that has a triplicate feature enabled by embedding NSSF functionality, bank functionality, and also serves as a loyalty card.
The card, the first of its kind in East Africa, will serve as a crucial part of NSSF’s digitalization strategy that is aimed at leveraging modern technology to boost efficiencies, improve customer experience and attract more Ugandans into making saving a way of life.
The card marks NSSF’s move away from the analogue laminated membership card to a fully functional chip and pin plastic format. Members that are keen on acquiring the card are called upon to visit Centenary bank branches and present their NSSF numbers along with their national ID.
The new cards will make it possible for members to directly withdraw their NSSF savings when they qualify, pay bills, make deposits and withdrawals from their bank accounts, and make online transactions at point of sale terminals and ATM machines.
Richard Byarugaba, NSSF’s Managing Director, while making remarks, said the innovation will be a driver for financial inclusion and boost service delivery to its 2 million plus members.
“For a long time, we have wanted to replace the laminated membership cards with more functional cards that can allow members access to more than just a view 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.
There are two different card types of available in the form of a prepaid smart card and a debit smart card. The debit card is equipped with an NSSF Smart Life bank account that users can open at Centenary Bank. The prepaid card can be loaded with funds and is available to both customers and non-customers of the bank. On the other hand, both cards can be used to make payments at worldwide VISA enabled points. NSSF is extending flexibility, giving users the option to choose the card of their preference.
Centenary Bank will provide NSSF members with direct banking services, while VISA will facilitate financial transactions at any of their locations worldwide.
“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 an improved turnaround time for benefits processing to one day, by 2025.” Byarugaba added.