Stella Dimoko Banks Suspend ATM Card Usage Abroad Over Dollar Scarcity.


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Monday, October 17, 2016

Banks Suspend ATM Card Usage Abroad Over Dollar Scarcity.

The foreign exchange crisis hitting the economy has assumed a new dimension with Deposit Money Banks announcing the suspension of overseas Automated Teller Machine card services and online transactions denominated in foreign currencies.

Deposit Money Banks have begun suspending their Automated Teller Machine cards (debit and credit) from working overseas as dollar scarcity continues to hit the economy badly.

Stanbic IBTC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria and Guaranty Trust Bank on Friday announced the suspension of their overseas ATM card services.
Also suspended by the banks are online transactions priced in foreign currencies. This means that customers of the banks will no longer be able to use their debit or credit cards to make online transactions that are denominated in dollars, euros, pounds sterling and other foreign currencies.

In a note to its customers on Friday entitled: ‘Suspension of international transactions on naira debit cards’, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria 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 Nigerian retailers.”

In a text message to its customers on Friday, Stanbic IBTC Bank similarly said, “Dear customer, kindly note that effective October 18, 2016, your ability to carry out transactions priced in foreign currency using our naira debit and credit cards will be suspended. We apologise for any inconvenience in this regard.”

Both Stanbic IBTC Bank and Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria advised customers seeking to carry out transactions denominated in foreign exchange to apply for dollar or pounds sterling debit credit cards. According to them, the dollar or pounds sterling debit or credit cards will be linked to the customers’ domiciliary accounts.

GTBank also announced the suspension of the ATM cash withdrawal service abroad. The lender also slashed its monthly ATM forex transactions to $100.
In a notice to customers on Friday entitled: ‘Review of the international spending limit on your naira Master Card’, the bank stated, “We write to inform you of the monthly spending limits currently applicable when using your GTBank naira Master Card for international payments via PoS and online. Previous monthly limit via PoS and online was $250; the new monthly limit via PoS and online is now $100. Kindly note that ATM cash withdrawal on your naira MasterCard is now only available in Nigeria.”

The development will make students studying in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Ukraine and other parts of the world to face more challenges getting their monthly stipends from their parents.
Most of the students had relied on the ATM card withdrawal to get their monthly stipends from their parents before now.
This means customers seeking to do foreign transactions will have to open domiciliary accounts and fund same with dollars, pounds or euros purchased from the parallel market at the prevailing exchange rates.

Although other banks have yet to announce the suspension of ATM card services abroad, findings by our correspondent showed that many lenders had reduced drastically the amount that customers could withdraw via ATMs abroad.
This is despite the fact that the banks have in the past few months reduced the monthly total amount of forex-denominated transactions that customers can do, using their naira debit or credit cards via ATMs and PoS terminals abroad as well as online payments or transactions.

As of last week, findings showed that some banks had slashed their daily ATM withdrawal limit abroad from the $300 advised by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Bankers Committee to $100 due to their inability to source for dollars to fund the transactions.
Unconfirmed sources said some banks had reduced their monthly ATM withdrawal limit abroad to $100.

Top banking officials close to the development told our correspondent under the condition of anonymity that banks were increasingly finding it difficult to fund their foreign-currency denominated services, especially online forex transactions and overseas ATM withdrawals, as well as PoS usage overseas by customers.
A top official of Deposit Money Bank, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent on Sunday, “We have to stop the services. Formerly, we were sourcing forex at high prices and we were selling same to customers at similarly high prices. But the situation is now tense; the dollar scarcity has assumed a new dimension.

“This is coupled with the fact that some bank customers are using the platforms to do round-tripping. It is high time we stopped it.”

The decision by some banks to suspend overseas ATM card services and online forex transactions came barely one week after the CBN, through the Bankers’ Committee, raised concerns about what it called the indiscriminate and suspicious manner in which some bank customers were spending dollars and other foreign currencies abroad through their naira debit cards.

Consequently, the regulator said it had concluded that bank customers who spent above the $50,000 annual forex limit it imposed would be barred from the nation’s forex market.

The Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, stated this after the 329th Bankers’ Committee meeting held at the apex bank’s office in Lagos on Wednesday.
She said, “In the CBN’s move to manage the demand for forex, there was a rule that was put in place that people were not allowed to withdraw more than $50,000 annually on their naira debit cards.

“For a while, the policy has been abused by bank customers, and the CBN has not taken any step to that effect. We have decided to take the step now to enforce the rule. So, we want members of the public to remember that that rule is in place.

“All your accounts are linked to a particular Bank Verification Number. Now, that the BVN only allows you to withdraw only $50,000 per annum, if people continue to breach that rule, they will lose access to forex market.”
Dollar scarcity has been ravaging the economy after the price of crude oil, Nigeria’s main forex earner.

It crashed from $110 per barrel to around $44 per barrel from June 2014.
The nation’s foreign exchange reserves have been depleting since then.
On Wednesday, the country’s external reserves hit an 11-year low of $24.21bn, the latest data posted on the CBN website showed.

This means a limited amount of dollars will be available at the official interbank spot market, fuelling concerns over another round of depreciation of the naira.
The foreign exchange reserves fell by $600m in two weeks before shedding $1bn in four weeks, the CBN statistics showed.
An expert at Ernst and Young, Mr. Bisi Sanda, lamented on the dollar pressure on the economy.

He said the Federal Government needed political will to address the issues fuelling dollar scarcity on the economy.
He said, “The issue of dollar is very important to the economy. It is predicated on the fact that we are a dollar-denominated economy. It appears the government is still begging issues as far as the import-dependent state of our economy is concerned.

“We need to fix issues, we need to go back to the drawing board. The CBN said between 2010 and 2016, a total of $11bn was sold to the Bureaux De Change annually. We need to plug leakages in this area.”

Punch reportage

THIS IS HORRIBLE!!!.....Nigeria why?why?????????????????


  1. Where are the Said Buhari people? They should come and praise their hero once again

    1. We that are working here will be giving them the cash while they will cr.out naija account with naira equivalents,thats simple.

    2. Exactly anon 9:55,,.
      It's a very good business and way to send money home..

  2. Can it get any worse? And I was thinking of making some transactions this week. What do I do now??? Why?????
    Those people just want to kill us finally. How many businesses will crumble as a result of all these. God help us

    1. Emefiele I congratulate you for not knowing what to do. You try well, well.

    2. Had to come back to read this post. Thank God I withdrew my money last week. I saw the 100usd limit just a day after the 250usd email came in. It is just crazy. More business for us though, but it is just sad. I wonder how families with children studying abroad will cope, assuming they didn't pay their four year tuition in full. Crazy!

  3. Now my children are stranded! Oh God!! What kind of country is this? Where are we heading to? What do I do now???

    1. You will have money, and yet cannot spend it. The people keep taking the brunt for this Government's inadequacies.

    2. Which country are they?...
      Look for someone that can give them money over there while you transfer the equivalent with interest to the person's Nigerian account in naira!...
      Good business too for people living abroad that has money in their account back home...
      That's what most business people including me are been doing...

    3. It's not up to 5years naija cards started working abroad, how wr y'all surviving then?

  4. Omg y Na many people are going to be stranded abroad this buhari government just keeps getting worst

  5. So many problems in Nigeria to settle and that fulani cow that calls himself president is busy diverting our attention to kitchen, living room and the other room.
    I'm just wondering if Nigeria will make it to 2019.


  6. This is not a big deal. Open a Dom account and get a Dollar or Sterling denominated card. Dasoll!

    1. Why must we have to always go through this? Na only we waka come? How are other people making it work? Do they have 10 heads?

  7. Ahn ahn. Eeeeeeeeeh. Orisirisi

    At what point do they get to fire this dumb and clueless cbn governor abeg. Is it when those ppl start dying of hunger or what?

  8. Why suspend without formal notice? Who does that?
    My cousin is affected.she kept complaining why cbn never saw it fit to stop deposits in such accounts being used abroad.
    They had to wait for parents to make deposits(without warning) now their kids abroad can't withdraw such funds in dollars anymore neither can their parent withdraw d said fund in nigeria hence the money is just in d account for their various banks to run transactions with.
    Nonetheless,the solution is simple.
    The cbn should authorise banks to increase the buying rate of dollars to that obtainable @d black market.
    People keep changing dollars on a daily @d black market because u get higher equivalent in naira than that of d bank.
    If the bank can start changing dollars @same rate,i trust their would be dollar.
    The bank buys from u @a meagre rate but then sells to u @a higher rate *side eyes*

  9. We are back to the 80's...
    Other countries are moving forward while Vuharia and APC are sinking Nigeria!...
    Some people's business are going to close because of this...
    Vuharia and APC have finished Nigeria!...

    1. Stop sounding dumb, Buhari is the cause of fall in oil price abi?

    2. God bless you Queen and Boss.
      This his stupidity was what he did back then that made IBB overthrown him.
      He and his cabinets are nothing but a waste to Nigeria.
      Reducing it was not enough for them now they have stopped it finally.
      Nigeria is a country that its citizens always hope for the best but expecting the worst.

  10. This recession should end already abeg.

  11. Hmm My sister should better go look for job. Is it that Pmb is incompetent or what

  12. Stupid sons of bitches. Leaving people stranded. No notice or prior warning. Not just this three banks, all banks have stopped it. Useless bastards. We' ve been scrambling all weekend looking for how to get forex. For where? I dont know how everything in Nigeria is done with impunity and disregard. No deadline, nothing...and an essential service like this is stopped. Clap for yourselves all you fools that voted this clueless bastard. I wish him the worst anyone can be wished and i hope something takes him out of that office before his tenure ends.

  13. This is do they expect students abroad to cope? This people are just useless. All these stupid policies don't affect them or their families.

    1. It does not at all. Buhari needs to change by the new year because this manner of Government is very oppressive

    2. They should come home and go to school, why should they school abroad, what happened to Nigerian schools? If everyone schools here and buys made in Naija, trust me the dollar will be useless

  14. This was never a sustainable practice anyway. U have a Naira account but withdraw different currencies abroad. The implication is that the bank would be left with the burden of looking for Dollars to cover what u spent. U technically bought that currency from ur bank the moment u spent it. Given the difficulty for banks to procure fx these days, there was no way they would continue it. It even contradicts the current limits set on individuals procuring fx for foreign trips.

    I think all the banks r saying is that if u want to spend Dollars with ur card, go and buy the Dollars urself and pay it into a Domiciliary account. You can then withdraw whatever u want from the Dom a/c with ur fx Visa or Mastercard.

    1. U sound like a gtb staff. Are you?

    2. Not at all. I was a banker though.

  15. Wickedness at its peak. Is it not this same government people that have been hoarding dollars in their homes. Now the genuine users will not see to use. Well na here we do. Money laundering will resume again.

  16. This government is getting worst, are they not suppose to notify people before this act, may God continue to be with us all

  17. Well said @anonymous 10.07am.

    Sourcing for FX isn't an easy task for the bank. The only thing being stopped is international spend on NAIRA card. open a domiciliary account and get an FCY card. Its gonna be a win-win situation.

    Pls visit your various bank online site and open an instant online account. scan down the relevant documents and you are good to go.

    FX fiasco isn't BuBu's fault. he's trying to repair our country and we need to pray for/with him (no matter how angry you may be)

  18. Thank you scarlet

  19. Thank you scarlet

  20. If we all stopped for a second to look beyond our pain, we would see the sense in this.
    CBN does not have enough FX for Nigerians spendings abroad. So which should take priority?
    Form A or M transactions?
    your online and FX withdrawals?

    As hard and painful as this may be....its the right step for now.


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