Stokvels are a common informal savings tool used across South Africa. Communities pool their money together, and when a member needs funds, they are paid out a lump sum from the savings pool. However, this money is not always kept in a bank account. For this reason, Standard Bank is urging Stokvels to invest their money in bank accounts, to take advantage of the interest that the funds can earn.
“If not kept in a bank account, money often entrusted with a designated person in the group who might keep this money hidden somewhere in a safe in his/her home or elsewhere where they deem it to be safe. We are also aware that some Stokvels store money with retailers/wholesalers to redeem later for goods,” noted Standard Bank.
The benefits of a bank account
According to Standard Bank, Stokvels should consider utilising a bank account with a reputable financial institution to keep members’ money safe and secure. Riaan Appelgrein, senior manager for customer financial solutions at Standard Bank, noted that more Stokvel members are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of using banking products and the value-adds that it can provide their Stokvel.
“They are able to significantly improve their buying power and deliver better value to members. All it takes is a bit of research. Most Banks offer Stokvel accounts that start paying interest on balances from as little as R100. These accounts are designed to receive the individual contributions from members – members can deposit their contributions directly to this account which makes it much safer than collecting the money at meetings and then keep a large amount either in someone’s house or waiting for the bank to open to make a deposit. They are also able to link many other interest bearing Investment accounts such as Money Market, Notice Deposit and Fixed Deposit accounts,” revealed Standard Bank.
Among the products that cater specifically to Stokvels are: First National Bank’s Stokvel Account and Standard Bank‘s Society Scheme Account, which caters to groups such as Stokvels, burial societies, and savings or investment clubs.
“When members all pay their money into a bank account, they all benefit because, generally, the higher the balance in the account, the higher the interest rate. The longer the money stays in the account the more interest earned. After a set time, say a year, the total amount saved means that the Stokvel has accumulated interest that is added to the capital amount providing additional buying power and value for members,” explained Appelgrein.
Appelgrein provided the following example to illustrate: If members of a Stokvel contribute R3 000 per month, after 12 months they would have accumulated capital of R36 000. At a rate of say 5% per annum they would have earned an additional R 1800 just in interest which now takes their total available balance to R 37 800. If the funds are not withdrawn, they will continue to grow thanks to compound interest.
Further benefits and opportunities that utilising a bank can offer Stokvels include:
- It is easier to keep track of deposits into an account and the money being taken out of an account.
- You can easily get access to statements that accurately reflect balances and interest earned which makes reconciliation much easier.
- Distribution of funds to members can be done directly into their bank accounts, which removes the risk associated with carrying large amounts cash.
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