Members of the Social Security System (SSS) now have the option to receive their salary loans through Citi Visa Prepaid cards that provide borrowers a quicker, safer and more convenient means of receiving their loan proceeds.
SSS Vice President and Officer-in-Charge of Lending and Asset Management Division May Catherine Ciriaco said the agency will pilot the SSS Citi Visa Prepaid Card on March 6, 2014 for members applying for salary loans at SSS branches in Diliman, Quezon City and in Buendia, Makati City, which both account for a high volume of salary loan applications.
“Members with the SSS Citi Visa Prepaid Card can get their salary loan funds electronically within days, instead of waiting for two weeks for their loan check to arrive through the mail. They no longer need to encash the check at the bank since they can already conveniently access their funds through ATM withdrawal, or by swiping their card for purchases at Visa-accredited merchants in the Philippines and overseas,” Ciriaco added.
SSS’ partnership with Citi Philippines and Visa is in line with the pension fund’s thrust to improve service delivery, enhance loan processing, and eliminate fraud. It also addresses problems with misdelivered, stolen or lost checks, which take time to replace, further delaying the loan release to the member.
“Citi is proud to partner with SSS in this innovation, which will offer advantages not only to SSS members across the country, but also to SSS the institution,” remarked Batara Sianturi, CEO for Citi Philippines. “Electronic payment is the wave of the future, providing convenience as well as speed and enhanced security to every user. This partnership gives testament to Citi’s commitment to serve as payment solutions provider not only to the private companies, but to the public sector as well.”
The SSS Citi Visa Prepaid Card is accepted at more than 15,000 automated teller machines (ATMs) and over 200,000 Visa partner merchants in the Philippines, as well as for online purchases. Members can use their cards globally wherever Visa is accepted, at tens of millions of retailers and to withdraw local currency at 2 million ATMs in more than 200 territories and countries worldwide.
“Visa has helped governments worldwide to operate more efficiently through the use of electronic payments. Our collaboration with SSS and Citi Philippines is a great example of how a Visa Prepaid card can be used to provide a more convenient, secure and efficient system to disburse salary loans to the tens of millions of SSS members in the country.” said Peter Maher, Visa Group Country Manager for Southeast Asia.
“’Point-of-sale’ purchases made using the card carry no additional charges or fees, while withdrawal charges will apply for all ATM transactions, depending on the bank owning the ATM,” Ciriaco noted. “The prepaid card requires no maintaining balance and can be used for various promos offered by Visa partner merchants.”
To avail themselves of this service, interested borrowers must first file their salary loan application at SSS Diliman or SSS Makati-Buendia. After securing SSS’ approval of the loan, members must submit their SSS Citi Visa Prepaid Card Application Form and a photocopy of one government-issued ID to the designated Citibank lane at the same branch.
Ciriaco said the SSS will release the card directly to the member on the same day, with the loan proceeds credited within three to four days. The SSS Citi Visa Prepaid Card will be issued free to members, while P150 will be charged as replacement fee for lost or damaged cards.
“The card will be valid for three years from the date of issuance. It is also reloadable, so members renewing their salary loans can get their new loan proceeds using the same prepaid card, as long as it is within the card’s validity period,” she said. “Members will be notified thru text message if their loan has been already loaded into their account.”
Only SSS can deposit funds into the prepaid card accounts. For secure access, a Personal Identification Number or “PIN” is required before any card transaction can be made, Ciriaco explained.