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Postbank card project a success

postbankMathabana Kotelo

MASERU — Since the project to roll out debit/smart cards started in February, Lesotho Postbank has produced 14 332 cards while 17 484 customers have migrated from the passbook to the debit card system, Acting Managing Director Refiloe Lehohla has said. The bank is targeting both underbanked and unbanked Basotho.

“We aim to issue out debit/smart cards to all our customers and eventually phase out the use of passbook,” she said. Lehohla said the migration to debit/smart cards will reduce transaction time by 90 percent compared to the passbook system adding that it will also reduce occurrences of errors. She however, pointed out the need to more intensive marketing and awareness programmes as the uptake had been very slow.

“We will be rolling out a promotional campaign on print and broadcast media, as well printing of posters and visible branding,” Lehohla said. Looking ahead, Lehohla said the bank seeks to expand their client base and target more civil servant and senior citizens. “Currently we have a client base of 72 000, mostly teachers, but we are targeting more civil servants” she said.

“We are also in the process of bringing on board more agent merchants where we will have point of sale devices so that we slowly get clients out of the branch and performing transactions through point of sale devices at merchants across the country,” she added. In addition to 35 point of sale devices installed at agent merchants, Lesotho Post bank will install eight additional ATMs in Thaba Tseka, Maputsoe, Qacha and another at the Pioneer Mall in Maseru.

Also in the pipeline is the introduction of biometric facilities (the use of fingerprint marks) to replace the need for personal identification numbers (PINs). Finance Minister Leketekete Ketso, and Moeketsi Majoro, the development planning minister, were hosted by Lesotho Postbank to inspect the facilities.

The ministers received their own smartcards and tested the transaction process in the branch and at the ATM facilities at Postbank’s customer service centre in Kingsway. The visit is part of the government’s initiative to get acquainted with the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) funded project under the private Sector Development component.

The debit/smart card project was aimed at improving customer services through the switch from passbooks to electronic funds transfer. The project was funded by the MCA under the five year compact which came to an end in September. Present at this inspection event were the principal secretary of Finance Mosito Khethisa and MCA chief executive officer Sophie Mohapi.

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