Photo: Netwerk24

The Shoprite group has launched “virtual” grocery vouchers that can be sent via SMS. The vouchers can be redeemed at any Shoprite, Checkers and Usave store.

The company said in a statement that this will allow customers to help those in need during the national lockdown. There is currently very little movement allowed in South Africa, and with the country’s sizeable unbanked population unable to earn money, the new vouchers can help in transferring funds for food.

The vouchers, which can be bought at www.computicket.com,  will be sent via SMS to a recipient’s mobile phone within an hour of placing the order. It can be redeemed immediately once received. Each SMS will have a unique voucher number which can be entered into the pin pad at check out.

Read | Shoprite staff get daily temperature checks, plastic face shields

The vouchers, which are valid for three years, can only be used in store (but not at MediRite Pharmacies or Money market counters). If the purchase value is less than the voucher value, the remaining value will be loaded onto a gift card in store. Vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash.

Customers can also send money to recipients without bank accounts at the Money Market counters located in selected Shoprite, Checkers and Usave stores. The transfers cost R9.99 each and the money can be sent to any South African citizen with a South African ID and they can immediately collect it at their nearest store.

Read | Shoprite warns imports of blankets and heaters worth R100 million could be hit by coronavirus

A recent analysis of ATM transactions and point-of-sale (POS) transactions at stores across South Africa has confirmed very little is going on in the economy during lockdown.

Last Sunday, only 1.2 million transactions at ATMs and stores were recorded – which are only 60% of the usual number on Christmas Day and during the Easter holidays, according to a report by BankservAfrica and Economists.co.za.

It was the lowest number of transactions since records started ten years ago.

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