SHOPRITE has partnered with Standard Lesotho Bank (SLB) to offer a domestic money transfer service through the supermarket chain’s outlets countrywide.
The facility, which was launched in Maseru on Tuesday, allows customers to send and receive money at Shoprite and U-Save stores within Lesotho.
According to Shoprite Regional Manager, Pitso Melao, the launch of the service follows on the heels of the successful rollout of its cross-border remittances facility in March this year.
“Since the introduction of cross border money transfer services in March 2015, a total amount of R24 million was transferred by friends and relatives in South Africa to Basotho,” he said.
“In that time, a total of 12 675 people were able to use the service seamlessly to send money home.”
Mr Melao said the domestic money transfer service had been piloted from 26 October 2015, with 36 transactions worth M29 463 having been made. He said proof of identity and contact details of both the sender and the receiver would be required, adding that foreigners with valid identification were also able to use the service.
“First-time users would be required to fill out a registration form which will then be entered into the system. Following the transfer, a recipient can, by means of a secret four digit pin number and proof of identity, withdraw the money from their nearest Shoprite or U-Save store at our money market, except for U-Save Maputsoe and Ty (Teyateyaneng) which still await extension,” said Mr Melao.
“Customers will soon have the option to withdraw their money at the till points while paying for their groceries, thus offering a safe method of withdrawing money and saving time by not having to stand in the queue at the money market.”
Mr Melao said M9.99 would be charged for each transfer, “which is less than any other institution”.
“Transfers are limited to M5 000 per customer per day and M25 000 per customer per month,” he said.
Shoprite opened its first store in Lesotho in 1997, with the supermarket chain now boasting 21 outlets consisting of five Shoprite supermarkets, six Usave stores, six OK furniture outlets, one OK Power Express, two Hungry Lion chicken fast food outlets and one liquor store.
On his part, SLB Chief Executive Mpho Vumbukani said the facility would bring about more convenience and address the challenges faced by the unbanked and underbanked sections of Lesotho’s population.
“As a leading bank, we strive to bring innovations that benefit our people. We are particularly glad that we have partnered with Shoprite, which is a retail giant in its own right, to bring convenience for all our customers,” he said.
Mr Vumbukani noted that SLB’s role would be to provide financial security to users of the service.
“We are mandated, under the Financial Institutions Act of (2010), to protect depositors’ funds, and the Central Bank of Lesotho regulates us to ensure that is achieved,” he said.
“What happens during transfers is that whenever a deposit is made, we are required to keep the money for Shoprite in trust until it has been withdrawn by the person it was intended for.
“That is the kind of security we offer to the depositor because there are risks involved in money transfers.”
The service has been pioneered by both companies in other countries such as Zambia, Namibia, and Swaziland.