ABSA and Pick n Pay this week joined forces to tap into the lucrative stokvel market, launching a Grocery Stokvel Account to cater for stokvels saving for groceries or other store-bought essentials.

As their name suggests, a grocery stokvel consists of people who save to buy groceries in bulk.

Each member of the group receives an equal share of the items. Typically, members save towards a bulk purchase in December.

Papi Rapolai, the general manager of wholesale and stokvel at Pick n Pay, says there was a gap in the market for a product that would enable stokvel members to buy groceries securely.

“The Grocery Stokvel Account is an easy-to-use solution for stokvels. When the time comes to withdraw savings, the customer visits an Absa branch and places a notice of withdrawal with the bank,” says Rapolai. “The money is paid directly into a Pick n Pay account, and the funds are available to spend at a Pick n Pay store within 24 hours. Our collaboration with Absa means stokvel members don’t have to take the risk of carrying large amounts of cash again.”

The requirements to apply for the account are:

• Pick n Pay needs the identity documents of three elected members who will act as signatories;

• The three members need to produce proof of residence; and

• An initial investment of R50.

The account has the following benefits:

• A R500 Pick n Pay voucher when you spend a minimum of R30 000 per purchase on groceries;

• A 3% discount on all purchases; and

• Free delivery within a 15km radius of a Pick n Pay store when you spend a minimum of R30 000 per purchase.

In 2016, Pick n Pay partnered with the National Stokvel Association of South Africa (NASASA) to develop bespoke grocery offerings for their members.

Thami Cele, the head of savings and investments at Absa Retail and Business Banking says: “As stokvels are increasingly being used as a savings solution, we are working with Pick n Pay to make it easier for stokvels to realise the shared purpose they are saving for. We see tremendous value in what our new Grocery Stokvel Account will bring to customers.”

Other retailers have opened grocery stokvel accounts to meet the needs of the ballooning industry.  Boxer stores, for example, has Stokvel Club.

To open the account, the chairperson and treasurer of a stokvel must complete registration forms at a Boxer store. They must fill in their stokvel’s contact details and produce their identity documents. 

To activate its Stokvel Club Savings Card, the stokvel needs to make a small deposit onto the card in store. 

NASASA says there are over 800 000 stokvels in South Africa, saving R49 billion annually. 

National Treasury says 60% of stokvels are investment focused, while 18% are investment clubs, and the remaining 22% are grocery stokvels.

According to Africa Response, the average member of a grocery stokvel contributes R174 a month.

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