- NSFAS says that from 1st July 2023 beneficiaries will begin receiving their funding via new connected bank accounts.
- These accounts will function like normal bank accounts and bring a host of benefits for students.
- The registration process for these accounts and new NSFAS cards is a bit confusing, as students will have to register depending on their school.
In May, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) began rolling out bank accounts and cards to students in an effort to decrease friction for those it funds. The new accounts act like any normal bank account which students can use to access their funds, and through the connected NSFAS bank card, they can even pay for items online.
The scheme is urging all of its beneficiaries, over 1 million students for the 2023 academic year, to onboard themselves on the system because of as of 1st July 2023, students will begin receiving their allowances through the NSFAS bank accounts.
Apart from giving more modern access to funding, allowing for SMS notifications, and tap-to-pay functionalities, NSFAS hopes the new bank account also increases the banking freedom of beneficiaries and begins teaching them how a real-world bank account would function.
However, the onboarding process is a little bit confusing as you need to sign up with the right third-party supplier that corresponds with your tertiary institution.
The scheme has partnered with eZaga, Coinvest, Norraco and Tenet to host the bank accounts, but each of these are linked to specific universities.
For example, for students who go to the Durban University of Technology, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Free State, University of Limpopo, University of Zululand, or the Vaal Institute of Technology, will have to sign up with eZaga.
If you go to Rhodes University, Sefako Makgatho Health Science University, Sol Plaatjie University, Stellenbosch University, the University of Cape Town, University of Mpumalanga or UNISA, you need to sign up via Coinvest.
For those going to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Venda, University of Pretoria, University of Witwatersrand or Walter Sisulu University, Tenetech is your go-to.
Finally, NSFAS beneficiaries who attend the Central University of Technology, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Nelson Mandela University, North West University, University of Fort Hare, University of Western Cape or the University of Johannesburg, you will have to use Norraco to sign up.
There seems to be no pattern in what universities use what software provider, as even universities in close proximity will use different partners. Either way, it is important to sign up with the right provider depending on your school, even if this is a bloated process.
Following the above links will allow you to register for a bank account, alternatively, if you are an NSFAS beneficiary, the scheme says it has sent out SMSs for students to register in order to begin the process towards the bank card.
The SMS will contain a link which can be followed to a webpage. On the page you will be asked for personal details, first your ID number, then you will have to give your home address.
You will then have to select a security question, and provide an answer. This is usually something like, “The name of my first pet” or “The first school I went to.” For security reasons it is important that the answer is something obvious for you, but not for anyone else.
Following this you will have to provide an image of your ID booklet’s main page, and an image of yourself holding the booklet below your chin open on the main page. After this information is submitted, NSFAS says you should receive an approval SMS with your account number.
At your respective campus, you can now use this number to collect and activate your NSFAS bank card.
It is possible that you could experience some technical hiccups during this process, and your best course of action then is to contact the NSFAS support team on Twitter which seems to be answering DMs in a timely fashion.
NSFAS’ eZaga partner has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, with some saying that the eZaga application was deleting funds from student NSFAS bank accounts. The Sowetan reported on the ordeal of one beneficiary who had problems with eZaga, including losing R21 000. It important to follow all given instructions on screen in a calm manner, reading all the details as to avoid any mistakes.
If any technical issues arise, contact NSFAS immediately.
[Image – NSFAS on Twitter]