At least 100 000 additional social grant payments are flowing into Shoprite's Money Market accounts every month as beneficiaries grapple with dysfunction in Postbank's system.
Jean Olivier, general manager of Shoprite's financial services division, told News24 on Tuesday that the retailer had noticed a surge in beneficiary payments recently as system glitches at Postbank intensified.
Postbank is the preferred social grant distributor for the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa), and last week there were reports that 600 000 recipients received only a portion of their money, or no money at all.
Olivier expects to see more people shifting these payments to Shoprite's money market accounts, or to banks such as Capitec and Absa.
"People spend a lot of time and money, particularly taxi money, to go and drive to an ATM or to a store only to find out that their Sassa [Postbank] gold card is not working because of a system error. It can cost between R50 and R75 per round trip for taxis," Olivier explained.
He said if people used Shoprite's Money Market account for their payments, an SMS was automatically sent to them, informing them the money had been deposited in their account. They were also able to access the money from their homes, via the Money Market account on their mobile phones, or collect it at Shoprite.
"There is therefore no need for unnecessary trips to and from shops."
Postbank-associated Sassa cards, meanwhile, have meant struggles for some at ATMs or even at retailers due to systems being offline. However, beneficiaries who had opted to have their Sassa grants paid directly into other bank accounts, or Shoprite's Money Market account, have not experienced the same problems.
Given that the issues at Postbank are not expected to improve in the short term, Olivier said Shoprite was urging customers to either choose to use the group's Money Market accounts or another bank to receive Sassa deposits.
"We would obviously love them to choose us, but if they don't choose us, choose another bank at least in order to make sure that you get your money on a monthly basis."
Olivier said Shoprite had also noticed an increase in the amount of shopping done at its stores by customers who had opted to use the Money Market account.
He was unable to disclose any specific sales figures because the population size was still "too small at the moment", adding that he would be able to give a clearer indication in the next six months or so.
He said there had been significant uptake of the Money Market account, which was launched by Shoprite in the second half of 2020, with up to 3.5-million of the retailer's customers using it.
The group was also still targeting at growing its Money Market client base to 15-million over the next five to six years.
Olivier added that the Money Market account has no monthly fees, only a R5 withdrawal fee.