By Chinwendu Obienyi
With the increasingly harsh operating environment, some Nigerian banks have started notifying their customers that it is set to suspend international transactions on Naira visa debit cards by August 1, 2022.
The banks, in a recent directive signed by its head of deposits, debit cards and mortgages, also said this was done to provide their customers with best-in-class financial solutions.
This is coming after banks in the country reduced their monthly international spending limit on Naira cards in March 2022. The United Bank of Africa (UBA) was first to take the decision when it announced $20 as its new limit.
“In line with our promise to keep you updated on services, we have reviewed Naira Card limits for international transactions, and this will take effect 1st of March, 2022. Remember you can use your UBA Dollar, Pounds or Euro Card for international POS, ATM and web transactions. If you do not have one and would like to subscribe, please visit a branch close to you.”, It said
Zenith Bank followed, informing its customers that it was reducing its international spending limit on its naira cards to $20 and it was suspending international ATMs and point of sales (POS) transactions.
Standard Chartered Bank has now become the latest institution, stating that the international spend limit on its Credit Card however remains at $1,000 monthly and Foreign Currency Debit Card limits remain unchanged. It also notified its customers that it is set to suspend international transactions on Naira visa debit cards by August 1, 2022.
“Kindly be informed that effective August 1, 2022, International spend on our Naira Visa Debit Card will be suspended. Also, the International spend limit on our Standard Chartered Bank Credit Card however remains at $1,000 monthly and Foreign Currency Debit Card limits remain unchanged.
Thank you for banking with Standard Chartered Bank. As always, we remain committed to providing you best-in-class financial solutions”, Standard Chartered said.
However, when Daily Sun placed a telephone call to some banks in the country, sources at these banks revealed that they were not thinking of following the footsteps of Standard Chartered Bank. They, however, noted that the management might be forced to embark on some strategies to see how they can adjust to the current scarcity of FX bedeviling the country.
Reacting to the development, a financial analyst who craved anonymity, noted that the restriction as well as the reduction is related to the scarcity of FX that has hit the economy.
His words, “I am not even surprised this is happening due to what the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did in drastically reducing how much of FX it sells to the banks. I had initially applauded them for not selling to the BDCs but with what is happening, that act has given room for the demand in the black market now.
So, these banks are thinking aloud that with the exchange rate increasing daily, there is a risk for them if they allow customers to spend their Naira debit cards for international transactions. This also means that we have to start looking at alternatives.”