Digitisation of social grant payments and financial inclusion of grant recipients in South Africa

A quarter of South Africans rely on social grants and the grant allows millions to access formal financial services. However, the extent to which social grants have contributed to financial inclusion of social grant recipients has not been documented. Therefore, this report was prepared to highlights the trends in financial inclusion among social grant recipients in South Africa looking at account ownership, access to saving, credit and insurance products.

It has been noted that social grant recipients enjoy higher level of financial inclusion in the form of account ownership evidenced by 100 percent of them owning a SASSA MasterCard that allows them to mobilise their money. This is remarkable compared to only 77 percent of adults in the country owning a bank account. Uptake of saving products has seen a slight decrease which might be due to increased pressure on disposable income from escalating cost of living. Uptake of credit products remained stagnant until 2012 and it has exhibited a significant rise since then which might be due to bundling of financial products such as loans with the social grant by the distributors. Similarly, uptake of insurance products has been increasing from year to year and much of it is in the form of funeral insurance.