WINDHOEK: Local banks that have not yet introduced the Basic Bank Account (BBA) for low-income earners have only until 31 October 2012 to do so.
So far, Bank Windhoek and First National Bank (FNB) Namibia have complied with the Bank of Namibia directive that all local banks should launch and implement a BBA before 31 October this year for individuals earning N.dollars 2 000 or less per month.
Bank Windhoek launched its BBA, a revised version of its EasySave account, at the beginning of August, while FNB launched its revised CardWise Zero product for low-income earners on 21 June this year.
The other two local banks – Standard Bank Namibia and Nedbank Namibia – have little more than a week left to introduce their versions of the BBA.
Standard Bank Namibia’s Manager for Public Relations and Communication, Surihe Gaomas told Nampa upon enquiry recently that the company has planned to implement this directive before the end of this week.
“We are in the process of launching our account before the set date. This was supposed to take place last week, but was postponed to a date to be announced due to some arrangements,” Gaomas.
Efforts to get comment from Nedbank proved futile since last week.
The BBA is an account for individuals earning N.dollars 2 000 per month or less, and should be offered by all banking branches in the country. No proof of income will be required for the opening of the account.
Banking institutions will however monitor the accounts to ensure that those targeted benefit from this type of account.
The initiative is in line with the financial sector strategy approved by Cabinet last year, and the BoN’s key strategic focus areas and plan for 2012 to 2016.
The Bank of Namibia (BoN) further directed that only one BBA per individual per banking institution is required, with such individuals owning valid identity documents.
Only Namibian citizens or permanent residents are eligible to open a Basic Bank Account.
Another minimum standard set by the BoN with regards to the account is that incoming deposits and credits cannot be limited, but should rather be monitored.
Another plus point for such users is that no monthly fees or account management fees will be charged. Although a debit card service must be available, such service can be subjected to charges.
Debit cards will allow Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) and Point of Sale (POS) transaction services, but no cheque book facility will be available to holders of the accounts.
In another attempt at making banking affordable for BBA holders, free unlimited electronic deposits will be allowed, and with regards to cash deposits, the first N.dollars 2 000 deposited per month will also be free of charge.
The minimum opening balance of the BBA is N.dollars 20, and it is expected to have a minimum ongoing balance of N.dollars 20.
As part of the BBA package, account holders of banking institutions which have mobile or Internet banking services should also be entitled to access to these services at no charge, and these services should offer unlimited online account enquiries, fund transfers and the payment of bills within the same banking institution at no charge.
Transactions to other banking institutions can be charged, and only accounts that have been inactive for 12 months are to be considered dormant.