By Chinelo Obogo
Nigerians will no longer be able to use their Automated Teller Machines (ATM) card services abroad.
Deposit money banks announced suspension of overseas and online transactions denominated in foreign currencies as part of efforts to manage the dollar scarcity crisis.
Some of the banks that announced the suspension of their overseas ATM card services and online transactions priced in foreign currencies are Standard Chartered Bank of Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank and Stanbic IBTC.
A message sent by Stanbic IBTC to its customers’ stated that all transactions done outside Nigeria will, henceforth, be through a dollar debit/credit card.
“Dear valued customer, thank you for continued business. On account of current market conditions, please note that with effect from October 18, 2016, you would not be able to use your naira debit cards for international transactions. If you wish to carry out transactions priced in foreign currencies from that date; you can request for a USD card (debit or prepaid) from any of our branches,” the message from Stanbic read.
In a message to its customers, Standard Chartered Bank said: “Please, be informed that effective immediately, your naira denominated debit cards will no longer be functional for international transactions. This is due to the current volatility in the foreign exchange market. Your naira-denominated debit cards can only be used for local transactions at Point of Sale terminals, Automated Teller machines and online for Nigeria retailers.”
In the last few months, banks in Nigeria have reduced monthly forex transactions of customers, through online payments or PoS and ATM terminals abroad.
The Central Bank of Nigeria’s Bankers Committee had raised concerns about what it described as the ‘indiscriminate’ manner in which some bank customers were spending foreign currencies through their naira debit cards. It subsequently advised banks to slash their daily ATM withdrawal limits abroad to $300, but, many banks further slashed the withdrawal limit to $100.
At the 329th bankers’ committee meeting held in Lagos, CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins said the apex bank has enacted a rule where bank customers are not allowed to withdraw more than $50,000 annually on naira debit cards.