Savings Bank has become a new member of VISA International, the outcome
of a project which has cost the bank some R4 million.
As a result, the
bank has started issuing VISA electron debit cards to account holders,
enabling them to make withdrawals from any other bank's Automated Teller
Machines (ATMs) in the country, displaying the VISA symbol.
Savings Bank becomes
the fourth bank after Barclays Bank Seychelles, Nouvobanq and the Banque
Française Commerciale to become a member of VISA International.
With this new
development the bank's ATMs will be able to accept VISA credit cards
from foreign visitors, but Seychellois will only be able to use the
electron cards locally to make transactions in rupees. Up to now the
bank has issued over 8,000 of these cards and has recorded positive
response from clients.
Though the latest
bank in the local banking sector to strike a deal with VISA
International, the over a century old Savings Bank was in fact the very
first bank in Seychelles. In the late 1800's it was attached to the Post
Office and was known as the Post Office Savings Bank. At the end of the
1980's the bank was reactivated as the Seychelles Savings Bank under a
new government's act, but took on the commercial status in the 1990's,
where it launched an intensive programme to modernise its services and
moved on from being the "common man" bank. Savings Bank has to
date a clientele which is widely represented by all sections of the
Speaking to Business
Nation about this new development, the managing director of the
bank, Mr Roger Toussaint, said it represented an important step in their
plan to adopt new banking technologies and further improve the quality
of their banking services.
modernisation taking place in the banking sector, fewer account holders
are going for direct banking transactions and the majority are going for
convenient facilities," Mr Toussaint explained.
The ATMs available,
he observed, were adequate to cater for the service, but revealed that
Savings Bank had a plan to set up a fifth machine at its new corporate
office at Orion Mall. The bank has four ATMs, one at its main branch at
Kingsgate House, one at Camion Hall building, another one at its branch
at Anse Aux Pins and one at the Ile de Palme terminal on Praslin.
Besides the ATMs,
the VISA electron cards can also be used at any retail outlet displaying
the VISA symbol. Though not widely spread, Seychelles does have a number
of businesses who have adhered to VISA International.
As part of its plan
to introduce new banking technologies, Savings Bank is also working on a
project to set up VISA POS (Point of Sales) terminals to retail outlets
so that its clients can effect payments using the VISA electron cards.
As the inflow of
foreign exchange increases, Mr Toussaint said it would be highly likely
that the VISA card holders would be able to use their electron card
overseas to withdraw cash.
Mr Toussaint said
Savings Bank had chosen VISA International which is based in London,
Britain, and not Mastercard or Eurocard, because it was more widely
spread and had control over 90% of market share in the card system.
Somebody who holds a
VISA automatically becomes a member of VISA International.
A Savings Bank VISA card holder will be able to
withdraw a maximum of R1,500 from the ATMs, get access with their
banking statement and check their balance.