Shoprite revamps money market account

Retailer targets government , businesses and NGOs

10 September 2020 - 08:36
By Ntokozo Khumalo
Customers will soon be able to use the Shoprite money market account to transact on other websites beyond the Shoprite Group.
Image: JEREMY GLYN Customers will soon be able to use the Shoprite money market account to transact on other websites beyond the Shoprite Group.

Retail giant Shoprite has revamped its money market account to make it more accessible for businesses of all sizes, government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). 

The free digital account was originally launched in 2018 for customers earning less than R8,000 a month.

Jean Olivier, general manager for financial services at Shoprite, says the changes enable the employers of these customers to also enjoy the benefits of the account. 

These kinds of accounts are becoming “increasingly relevant for South African businesses, government institutions and NGOs as they facilitate payments securely, efficiently and at a low cost”, Olivier says.

The Shoprite money market account can be used to pay for any transaction at Shoprite, Checkers or USave supermarkets, to pay for utility bills, to buy airtime and data, to save or to send to or receive money from other account holders.

“Customers will also soon be able to use the Shoprite money market account to transact on other websites beyond the Shoprite Group, making e-commerce more accessible to everyone,” Olivier says. 

No forms are needed to open the account and there are no monthly fees, no transaction fees and no fees for loading bulk payments. No debit orders can go off the account, which means account users won’t be victims of unauthorised deductions.

“Payments including rewards, incentives and grocery vouchers are converted into digital currency or stamps that can be sent to the recipient by the employer, government agency or NGO,” Olivier says. 

“The stamps are then redeemable at Shoprite, Checkers, USave or other local business and participating spaza shops, even without internet access,” he says.

Shoprite believes the account is a good option for small and medium-sized businesses who want to keep their operational and wage costs low while taking advantage of other benefits like discounts of up to 3.5% on groceries for those making bulk payments from R50,000 upwards. 

The business owners are also able to receive payment from customers directly to their account and see it reflected on their cellphone if they get their customers to use their unique QR code to pay. Once the payment has been received, the business owner can use the stamps to shop online or in-store in participating stores. 

Olivier says the account has been set up to make it attractive for government agency Sassa to pay grants into the account as most grant recipients are already customers of the Shoprite Group.  

“We understand that the South African Social Security Agency pays R20 in fees for each beneficiary, while electronic funds transfers (EFTs) typically cost R7 per transaction,” Olivier says, adding that Shoprite is in discussion with the agency about using the accounts for grant payments. 

“These charges are not applicable on the money market transactions, so the savings are significant.” 

Although customers cannot make withdrawals from their Shoprite money market accounts as yet, Shoprite says it is in talks with a local bank about a partnership that will allow this and will also meet the Financial Intelligence Centre Act regulations. 

Olivier says the Covid-19 pandemic has spurred on the adoption of mobile money by people who are increasingly reluctant to use cash. It also highlighted the need for small businesses and government institutions to make payments to employees as quickly and effectively as possible. 

The money market account is available for download on the App Store or Google Play Store and can also be used by customers with older phones by dialling *120*3534#.