Postbank introduces new cardless payment for social grants

But concern raised about how Postbank will handle these new payment methods

By Liezl Human

26 April 2023

A social grant queue in Gugulethu, Cape Town. Postbank has introduced a new cardless payment. Archive photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana

Postbank has suddenly introduced a new cardless payment system following widespread panic over the expiry of millions of South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)/Postbank Gold Cards over the next few months.

But concerns about possible “blunders” by Postbank in the new system have been raised by Western Cape Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez.

On Monday 24 April, Postbank said in a statement that SASSA gold card holders would now be able to collect social grant payments from retailers such as Shoprite, Usave, Pick n Pay, and Boxer. This meant they would no longer need to go to Post Office branches to collect new cards once theirs expire.

Some Post Offices, under pressure from long queues of beneficiaries who wanted to renew expiring cards, had to send people away because they ran out of new cards, among other issues, GroundUp reported earlier this week.

The first batch of 175,000 cards expired at the end of March. In April nearly 860,000 will have expired and a further 2.8 million in May and 1.8 million in June, according to Postbank.

Postbank said in its statement that the new method will “help reduce the queues for card replacements at Post Office branches as there is no longer the need to collect cards to be paid”.

SASSA national spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi said that they were not expecting any challenges with the new cardless payment method.

He said the new method would help beneficiaries who haven’t been able to replace their cards at Post Office branches. “They can now go to participating retailers with just their ID document, SASSA Gold Card pin and cellphone numbers to withdraw the money,” said Letsatsi.

But Fernandez said the new cardless payment system had not been tested and might be “yet another blunder on the part of Postbank”.

She said if a communication strategy was not put in place to reach elderly people or people living in rural areas, the new payment method would be a fruitless exercise because queues outside Post Offices would continue.

GroundUp reported earlier this year that Postbank experienced system “glitches” that meant that millions of beneficiaries weren’t able to access their grants.