Bank Windhoek recently announced the introduction of a new service aimed at enhancing financial inclusion in Namibia. Bank Windhoek and NFS signed an agreement whereby the bank will provide support for the Nam-mic CellCard, a membership card for the more than 120 000 members of NUNW-affiliated unions.
According to the bank, the results of the 2011/2012 FinScope are encouraging and show that the industry in Namibia is set to reach the target for financial inclusion in the Financial Sector Strategy introduced last year. The bank acknowledged that financial inclusion is imperative for the development of a sound economy and it will focus on delivering innovative products, services and technology that address the basic needs of the ‘under-banked’ and low-income population.
On 24 April Bank Windhoek officially launched the Nam-mic CellCard, an initiative of Nam-mic Financial Services (NFS) Holdings, the empowerment partner of Bank Windhoek’s Holding company, Capricorn Investment Holdings.
With the Nam-mic CellCard, a debit card-based bank account is linked to a member’s cellphone. Members can perform a variety of transactions with their cards, including Point-of-Sale purchases at selected retailers, ATM withdrawals, money transfers to friends and family, balance enquiries, can buy prepaid air-time, pay electricity accounts and earn special savings at participating stores. The CellCard has low monthly and transaction fees, said the bank.
The CellCard will be rolled out in a phased process and once the systems are fully implemented, users will also be able to transact on Bank Windhoek’s extensive network of ATMs and Point-of-Sale machines countrywide.
Appropriately priced, easy-to-use products and services that provide clients with a safe and secure means of transacting with their money will go a long way to achieving greater financial inclusion. However, access to basic services, such as drinking water, sanitation, housing, education and health-care facilities continue to be important drivers and a prerequisite for financial inclusion, the bank said.
Bank Windhoek believes that improved financial literacy will empower consumers that are already financially included and it will continue with consumer education initiatives. “We therefore also fully support and endorse the Financial Literacy Initiative launched by the Minister of Finance in March 2012 and its objectives to increase awareness on consumer’s rights and increased knowledge of financial products, services and institutions,” said the bank’s managing director, Christo de Vries.