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Lifeline for SA-based unbanked Zimbabweans

by Staff reporter
07 Dec 2023 at 05:30hrs | Views
SOUTH AFRICA-BASED Zimbabwean-owned ACID Financial Services company has rolled out banking services targeting unbanked Zimbabweans based in the neighbouring country without valid permits but have valid passports.

In a statement, the company noted that financial inclusion under its ACID SmartMula service is important towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

"By pursuing a concerted effort to reach the unbanked, institutions such as ACID Financial Services, help to promote respect, eliminate poverty, create employment and promote gender equality and opportunities," the statement read.

"Financial inclusion aims to provide banking access to individuals who are traditionally excluded from the formal banking system."

In the last two decades, an estimated two million Zimbabweans have migrated to South Africa.

However, just over 170 000 have valid Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEPs), while others are on other visa platforms.

A significant portion is said to be without proper documentation which deprives them of access to banking services.

"As of 2022, only 40 million individuals in South Africa had active bank accounts. The rest, including locals and foreigners living in South Africa may have obstacles that have prevented them from opening accounts," the company said.

"Traditional banking services often fail to meet the unique requirements of this target group (without permits) creating a significant opportunity for institutions such as ACID Financial Services to fill this gap.

"ACID Financial Services, with its key product ACID SmartMula, is a financial service provider that has partnered with Nedbank and Mastercard to offer Zimbabweans an opportunity to open accounts with either their valid foreign passport or valid asylum document, thereby meeting the low Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements as prescribed by the authority body."

ACID Financial Services managing director, Martha Chasi, said Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals who remained unbanked because of not having permits needed financial inclusion.

"This ground-breaking banking solution was conceived to address the unmet financial needs of many individuals in South Africa who lacked access to traditional bank accounts due to documentation requirements," Chasi said.

Recently, South Africa extended ZEP permits by a further two years to 2025, giving a lifeline to Zimbabweans who face deportation after the expiry of their permits.

Source - Newsday