Carrying out international transactions with Naira debit card in Nigeria is about to become impossible as banks are gearing up to suspend international transactions on Naira debit card over foreign exchange scarcity.
This development is affecting most banks negatively and it has forced some banks to reduce the month international spending limit on Naira cards.
International transactions with the Naira card will be very difficult to conduct in days to come if this situation is not quickly addressed because banks may altogether put an end to international transactions on the Naira card.
Some banks have already alerted their customers on the latest development while others are keenly watching the activities before implementing the policy owing to the scarcity of forex.
Meanwhile, daily international withdrawal has been pegged at around $20. International spending limit as at March 2022 was stood $100.
Banks had in 2020 stopped the use of naira cards for ATM foreign currency withdrawals while reviewing monthly international spending using naira cards from $500 to $300 and ultimately to $100.
Data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), showed that Nigeria’s external reserves depreciated by $1.37 billion (3.37%) in the first six months of 2022 to $39.16bn as of June 30 from $40.52bn it closed in 2021. This is despite the recent surge in global energy prices
A further scrutiny of the data also revealed that the external reserves fell to $38.882bn on August 11 from $39.219bn at the end of July 2022.
External reserves are assets held on reserve by CBN in foreign currencies and these reserves are used to back liabilities and influence monetary policy.
In the latest development however, First Bank announced that international transactions will be stopped on all Naira cards from September 30.
“Due to current market realities on foreign exchange, you will no longer be able to use the Naira Mastercard, Naira Credit Card, our Virtual card and Visa Prepaid Naira card for international transactions. This will take effect on 30 September 2022.
“Please use your Visa Debit Multi Currency Card, Visa Prepaid (USD) Card and Visa Gold Credit Card to continue transacting abroad with limits of up to $10,000,” it said.
Recall that Standard Chartered Bank had earlier announced the suspension of international transactions on Naira visa debit cards from August 1.
“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,” it had notified its customers in July.
A reliable source in one of the banks that have not implemented the latest policy said ‘it is a matter of time as we are also observing the situation’