If you’re a typical South African then you’re concerned about several things at the moment. Whether you’ve got enough supplies to hold out till the ‘end’ of the current lockdown, whether you’ll catch the COVID-19 virus on your next essential supply run, and how you’re going to pay your rent at the end of the month. Well, a couple of banks have thoughts about that last point.
Lockdown means there’s less work going around and a large percentage of South Africa’s population doesn’t get paid if they don’t work. To that end Absa, Standard Bank, and TymeBank have all launched measures designed to help their customers out. But don’t get too excited — terms and conditions apply.
Qualified Entrants Only
Absa Bank has introduced measures, effective from today, that will give customers the option to reduce their instalments over a three month period, or defer the payments altogether. There’s a large caveat, though — you’ll have to be a customer in good standing to qualify. If you were already in arrears, this program won’t be for you. You’ll need to find another way to pull yourself out of the hole. This applies to all of Absa’s clients but corporate and business customers will also be eligible for custom solutions.
Absa group CEO Daniel Mminele said to Fin24, “We urge those of our customers who are able to continue making their payments, to do so. This will enable us to extend these measures to many more who are not in a similar position.”
Standard Bank, reports Business Insider, has also got an option for some of its customers. Business and Student accounts have already been given a payment break but accounts for clients earning R7,500 a month or less also qualify for three months of payment relief. Instalments (home, car, short-term loans, asset finance, and credit cards) can be deferred over the period. The deferments are available from 1 April 2020, and qualifying customers won’t have to contact the bank in order to have relief implemented. If you don’t want Standard Bank to give you a break, you will have to pay your accounts… manually? Sure, okay.
Standard Bank’s Funeka Montjane said “At Standard Bank, we are continuously looking for ways to provide the necessary assistance to our customers who have been impacted negatively by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
TymeBank, which didn’t have many costs to begin with, has also made its SendMoney feature — which lets users send cash to any valid South African cellphone number — completely free over the weekend.
We expect to see more banks following suit in various ways shortly.