WINDHOEK - The Bank of Namibia (BoN) has set specific standards for the introduction of a Basic Bank Account (BBA) for low-income earners as part of the financial inclusion agenda in the country.
The BBA is an account for individuals earning N$2 000 per month or less, and will be offered at all banking branches in the country.
BoN Director for Strategic Communications and Financial Sector Development, Ndangi Katoma, said in a media statement issued here on Friday that no proof of income will be required to open the account.
Banking institutions will, however, monitor the accounts to ensure that those targeted benefit from this type of account. Katoma said 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.
Every banking institution is expected to offer the BBA option, which conforms to issued minimum standards, by October 31 2012.
Katoma stressed that there will only be one BBA per individual per banking institution required, with such individuals owning valid identity documents and earning N$2 000 net per month or less.
Only Namibian citizens of permanent residency will be eligible to open a BBA. Another minimum standard set by the BoN with regard to the accounts is that incoming deposits and credits cannot be limited, but should rather be monitored.
Another plus point 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 BBA holders.
In another attempt at making banking affordable for BBA holders, free unlimited electronic deposits will be allowed, and with regard to cash deposits, the first N$2 000 deposited per month will also be free of charge.
The minimum opening balance of the BBA is N$20 and it will be expected to have a minimum ongoing balance of N$20.
The media statement also said account holders of banking institutions which have mobile or internet banking services, will be entitled to have 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,” Katoma said.
Potential holders of such accounts will also be happy to know that balance enquiry services are required to be available free of charge at the bank’s own ATMs.
Only accounts that have been inactive for 12 months are to be considered dormant. - Nampa