//Banks lower charges for social grant recipients amid Covid-19 pandemic lockdown

Banks lower charges for social grant recipients amid Covid-19 pandemic lockdown

Social grant recipients will in the next few days make use of many ATMs and retail shops as possible to get their money without incurring high bank charges so they can practice social distancing.

This is because banks were expected to “significantly” reduce their charges to increase the number of pay-points the grant beneficiaries can use to collect their grants which would then help maintain social distancing in queues at bank branches and retailers for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

According to the Banking Association South Africa (BASA), they provide accounts for 11.3 million social grant beneficiaries and have close to 400 000 points of service.

“This means Sassa beneficiaries will have more options for collecting their grants, including using ATMs at reduced costs.

“For grant payments for the lockdown period ending 16 April 2020 Postbank and Sassa cards can be used at any ATM to withdraw Sassa grants with no Saswitch charges.

Withdrawal fees at bank ATMs will be waived for Sassa beneficiaries.” BASA also said for March grant payments, some social grant beneficiaries may still be charged fees because banks can’t implement these technical changes at such short notice.

“Where fees are charged, they will be refunded by the Sassa beneficiaries’ bank as soon as possible.

BASA members are assisting Sassa in communicating payment dates to beneficiaries. “BASA members are also working closely with retailers and other stakeholders as part of their ongoing efforts to assist Sassa beneficiaries during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.”

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula also announced that he would relax public transport rules to accommodate grant recipients so they should have an easier time going to collect their money.

To help contain the virus, Mbalula had five days ago announced that public transport will not be operating and there would be special arrangements for public transport in terms of taxis.

“We are looking at allocating time for taxis in the morning and afternoon. During the day, it is a lockdown. Trains we are looking at none at all. Long-distance trains will not be operating.

We are looking at intensifying the lockdown in terms of aviation,” he had said at the time.

However, on Sunday afternoon Mbalula stated that as of Monday March 30 until Friday April 3, buses and taxis will be permitted to operate from 5am until 8pm in order to cater to the transportation needs of society’s most vulnerable.

(TheStar)