How To Activate Your NSFAS Mastercard For Allowances

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NSFAS has introduced a new payment method. Students may now use NSFAS Mastercards to tap to pay for any essentials needed. Here is how to activate the NSFAS Mastercard.


NSFAS Card vs NSFAS Bank Account

Previously there was a NSFAS wallet that was used for NSFAS allowances for students. From 2023 NSFAS appointed 4 fintech providers to distribute allowances to students via what has been called a 'NSFAS bank account'. It isn't really a bank account so it is more correctly a NSFAS card.

NSFAS Mastercard

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has said that these service providers are linked to Mastercard so students will get a NSFAS Mastercard to receive their monthly allowances. Mastercard is an international organisation which isn't actually a bank but an organisation that allows financial transactions to take place online. That allows you to make purchases with your NSFAS card.

Your money is safe and secure. With their innovative banking solutions, you are in control of your life and your finances

The Mastercard has a tap-to-pay feature which allows students to pay for data, airtime, electricity, and any other essentials.

Besides paying for monthly essentials, students will also be able to withdraw cash, without paying any bank fees, at participating merchants. Students may sign up for the card by downloading the allocated partner’s mobile app.

Once they have downloaded the app, they may follow the instructions to set it up and wait for their Mastercard to be delivered. The card will be delivered to their campus. 

Once they have downloaded the app, they may follow the instructions to set it up and wait for their Mastercard to be delivered. The card will be delivered to their campus.

Upon receiving the card, they will be required to sign the card and also activate it. Students may follow the steps below to activate their card.

How to activate NSFAS Mastercard

activate nsfas mastercard

How to Setup the Tenet App

  1. Send an SMS to 31571. Type “Activate” followed by a space then the last four digits of the card.
  2. Receive your PIN via SMS. Memorise the PIN, then delete the SMS.
  3. The card will be activated when you receive your first NSFAS bursary payment on the card. 

Once the card is activated, they may change the PIN. Find out how to change the PIN via the website. Students are reminded to keep their cards safe and not to lend it to anyone.

Students should also not share their PIN, write it down or carry the PIN with them. They are advised not to share any personal information when they use the card.

After paying for goods, students should check their receipts to make sure that it is correct. Students should also check their bank statements every month to ensure that they have been charged the correct amounts.

NSFAS Mastercard Service Providers 

NSFAS teamed up with four financial technology service providers to bring the new payment solution to students. Students are required to register with the partner allocated to their university or TVET college before they receive their NSFAS bank card. 


Tenet Technologies is one of the four fintech service providers who will be providing services. It is in no way connected to the organisation called Tenet which is the Tertiary Education Network SA which provides fast internet connections to educational institutions.

Tenet Technologies will provide services to students at the Cape Peninsula University Of Technology, University Of KwaZulu Natal, University of Venda, University of Pretoria, University of Witwatersrand and Walter Sisulu University. 

Coinvest NSFAS

Students attending Rhodes University, Sefako Makgatho Health Science University, Stellenbosch University,  University of Cape Town,  University of Mpumalanga and University of South Africa must register with Coinvest

Norraco NSFAS Registration

Norraco has been tasked with paying allowances directly to students enrolled at the Central University Of Technology, Mangosuthu University Of Technology, Nelson Mandela University, North West University, University Of Fort Hare, University Of Johannesburg And University Of Western Cape. (Sometimes it is mistakenly called Narraco)


Ezaga will distribute allowances to students registered at Durban University Of Technology, Tshwane University Of Technology University Of Free State University Of Limpopo University Of Zululand and the Vaal University Of Technology. 

Where To Collect Your NSFAS Mastercard 

Students who completed the NSFAS bank account onboarding process with the relevant service provider will be issued a physical and a virtual NSFAS mastercard. Students can collect their physical NSFAS mastercard at the institution they attend.

Benefits of the NSFAS Mastercard

NSFAS believes that the new direct payment solution that is the NSFAS bank account will give them greater control over when students receive their allowances while also teaching them financial responsibility.

They added that the  NSFAS MasterCard will give students access to value-added services, the ability to make online purchases, tap-to-pay functionality and a virtual card to pay securely at retail merchants. 

While the NSFAS mastercard has promised students several benefits, including financial responsibility, stakeholders have noted their concern as several challenges arose when the new direct payment system was first introduced for university students earlier this year

Where To Withdraw Your NSFAS Allowances: You can withdraw your NSFAS allowances from the following locations:

  1. Nedbank ATMs
  2. Pick n Pay stores
  3. Shoprite stores
  4. Checkers stores
  5. Boxer stores
  6. Usave stores

Who Is Eligible For Funding From NSFAS? To be eligible for funding from NSFAS, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a South African citizen.
  2. Come from a family with a combined household income below R350,000 per year.
  3. If you are disabled, your combined household income should be less than R600,000 per year.
  4. Have been accepted or provisionally accepted to study at a public university or TVET college for an approved undergraduate qualification.
  5. Should not have previously received funding for the same qualification level, unless you have a specific approved reason for further funding.

What Does NSFAS Provide Funding For?

NSFAS provides funding to student that covers the costs associated with their time at a tertiary education institution. This ensures that NSFAS-funded students have everything they need to be successful in their education journey. 

Tuition fees

It covers the cost of tuition fees for the courses or programs chosen by the student, as well as registration fees.


Funding may be provided for on-campus or off-campus accommodation, including residence fees, rental costs, or hostel fees.


NSFAS may offer financial assistance for meal allowances or meal plans to ensure that students have access to adequate and nutritious food while studying.

Prescribed books and study materials

The scheme can provide funding for the purchase of required textbooks, study guides, and other educational materials essential for the student's program of study.

Personal care allowance

Some students may receive an additional allowance to assist with personal care items, such as toiletries, clothing, and other essential personal expenses.

Travel Allowance

In certain cases, NSFAS may provide financial assistance for transportation costs to and from the educational institution, particularly for students living far away from their campuses.

Please note that this information is accurate as of my last update in September 2021, and there might have been changes or updates since then. Always refer to the official NSFAS website or contact their support for the most current and accurate information.

How To Contact NSFAS 

Prospective students who need to contact NSFAS for any inquiries or assistance can use several different methods to contact the financial aid scheme. 

You can reach out to them via email at [email protected] or connect with them through social media on Facebook at "National Student Financial Aid Scheme," on Twitter at "@myNSFAS," and on Instagram at "@myNSFAS." 

Alternatively, you can use WhatsApp by adding their number +27 78 519 8006 to your contacts. Another quick way to access their services is through USSD by dialling 12067327#. 

These various contact channels ensure that you can easily reach out to NSFAS for any inquiries or assistance you may need regarding student financial aid. For quick access to their services, you can also use the USSD code 12067327# on your mobile device. 


Suggested Article:


Students have begun receiving their learning materials allowances. Since the change from vouchers to cash, university students are encouraged to spend their allowances in ways that benefit their education. Rather than using their allowances for other unrelated expenses. This change has also affected academic industry sales and businesses. Critiques have also shown concern about the effect the change to cash would have on students' academics. 

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