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NSSF, VISA and Centenary Bank Unveil a Social Security Smart Card

NSSF, Visa and Centenary Bank unveil a smart card that embeds NSSF functionality, bank functionality, and a loyalty program, the first of its kind in the East African region.

The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in partnership with Visa and Centenary Bank has unveiled a three-in-one social security smart card that embeds NSSF functionality, bank functionality, and a loyalty program, the first of its kind in the East African region.

The card forms a critical component of the NSSF’s digitalization strategy which is geared at leveraging new technology to improve efficiencies, and customer experience and ultimately make savings a way of life for Ugandans. It will support the NSSF’s transition from a laminated membership card to a functional Chip and PIN plastic option.

Using the card, the NSSF’s members will be able to directly withdraw their NSSF savings upon qualification, deposit and withdraw money from their bank accounts, pay bills, and make transactions online, at ATMs and Point of Sale terminals. In addition, they will access exclusive deals from selected merchants.

NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba. (COURTESY PHOTO)

While addressing journalists at the launch on Thursday at the Kampala Serena Hotel, NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba, said the innovation will go a long way in driving financial inclusion and promote service delivery to its over 2 million members.

“For a long time, we have wanted to replace the laminated membership cards with more functional cards that can allow members access more than viewership of their account balance,” explains Byarugaba. “I am glad that this dream has finally come to fruition. I believe that this will greatly improve our customers’ experience.”

Byarugaba further added that the smart card complements NSSF’s digital claims process, providing easy and faster validation for qualifying members to withdraw their savings in a timely manner. “This shows that we are on the right track to realizing improved turnaround time for benefits processing to one day, by 2025,” he said.

The NSSF Smart Card comes in two forms namely, the Debit Smart Card — which comes with an NSSF Smart Life bank account that can be opened at Centenary Bank whereas the Prepaid Smart Card — which can be loaded with funds and this card is available to both customers and non-customers of the centenary bank. Both cards can be used to make purchases at any Visa enabled points worldwide.

Under the partnership, Centenary Bank will provide NSSF members with direct banking services while Visa will facilitate the financial transactions at any of their locations worldwide. Members have the option of choosing a card of preference.

The Executive Director of Centenary Bank, Mr. Joseph Balikuddembe said, “As a bank on its journey to becoming a smart bank by 2026, we are honored to be part of this game-changing innovation in the pension industry.” “We do believe it will enhance customer convenience and NSSF members will enjoy banking services across all our branches, point of sale machines, ATMs, and 5200 agents countrywide.”

Balikuddembe further added that “The debit and pre-paid cards come with a SMART life account that targets existing and new NSSF members with a free card and free charge account coupled with great card discounts from our partner merchants.”

Meanwhile the Visa Senior Director for Sub Saharan Africa Thembeka Ngugi reiterated Visa’s commitment to deliver safe, secure and reliable payment solutions that meet the needs of customers. In her remarks, she said, Visa was delighted to welcome NSSF members to the Visa network where they can enjoy secure and convenient financial services. Adding that embracing digital payments and a potentially cashless society is where the future lies.

“Visa is investing more than ever in our global assets, infrastructure, and digital capabilities to reshape the future of commerce. Digital payments, such as those enabled by Visa, are a first step to financial inclusion, which is why we are investing new ways to reach everyone by offering benefits that will transform their payments experience,” said Ngugi.

Relatedly, the Central Bank of Uganda Ag. Governor, Mr. Michael Atingi-Ego, applauded the NSSF, Visa and Centenary Bank for the innovation saying it was in line with the Bank of Uganda’s financial inclusion agenda which promotes access and usage of financial services.

How to Acquire the NSSF Smart Card

All you need is the NSSF number and your National ID. Members can apply for the NSSF Smart Card by logging on to the NSSF website or at the card-issuing center at Workers House or any Centenary Bank branch across the country.

While applying for the smart card, you will need:

Debit Card requirements
  • Customer’s NSSF number.
  • National ID.
  • One passport photograph.
  • Card initial balance of UGX20,000.
Prepaid Card requirements
  • NSSF number.
  • National ID.
  • One Passport photograph.
  • Card initial balance of UGX50,000.
The Debit Card entails;
  • The minimum account opening balance is UGX20,000.
  • The minimum account balance is UGX10,000.
  • Attached to a Smart Life Account accessible at any branch, agent point, CenteMobile and ATM.
  • Issuance of monthly electronic account statements.
  • Transaction SMS alerts.
  • Does NOT attract a monthly account maintenance fee.
  • Permits cash withdrawal by completing a withdrawal voucher at Centenary Bank or over the ATM.
  • Deposit by way of cash at a Centenary Branch or agent point, ATM, wire transfer, mobile banking, cheque, and any acceptable means of deposit.
  • The account is operated in Uganda shillings.
  • Free ATM card.
  • No monthly ledger fees.
  • No annual VISA charges.
The Prepaid Card entails;
  • The minimum first-time deposit amount is UGX50,000.
  • No minimum account balance.
  • Check balance online.
  • Transaction SMS alerts.
  • Free local POS transactions.
  • Permits cash withdrawal by completing a withdrawal voucher at Centenary Bank.
  • Free ATM card.
  • No monthly ledger fees.
  • No annual VISA charges.


Joan Banura

Joan Banura is an aspiring journalist with a passion for all things tech. She is committed to providing insightful and thought-provoking content that keeps our readers informed and engaged.
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