A recent email sent by Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria to its customers has revealed the Central Bank of Nigeria‘s plan to halt all foreign (non-Naira) transactions on Naira ATM, Debit and Credit cards effective January 1 2016.
What this means is that, if you travel abroad and try to use your card, it will not work. If you shop online and the transaction is billed in any foreign currency, it will not work. If you are in Nigeria and try to use your card fo a foreign currency transaction, it will not work.
Sunday Punch reveals,
In a notice to its customers, Standard Chartered said, “This is to notify you that from January 1, 2016, your naira card will no longer be enabled for international use. This is as a result of the limited foreign exchange supply in the financial market.”
Asked how long the suspension of cards from international transactions would be, the spokesperson for Standard Chartered Nigeria, Mrs. Dayo Adurogbo, said, “We cannot give a definite date. It depends on how soon it is available. We will do everything to meet our customers’ demand once it is available.”
Further findings showed that a number of other banks had stopped customers from using their ATM cards abroad but had yet to officially communicate this to them.
This is bad news for Nigerian travellers and business owners who rely on this service for hotels, flight bookings and ordering goods.
However, a source at CBN says it is “a necessity”. Punch outlined this by explaining the cause – the fall in prices of crude oil, the main earner of foreign exchange for Nigeria, has made the nation’s forex income to reduce drastically, creating dollar scarcity crisis for the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The CBN has been rationing dollar to banks, importers and other forex users as the nation’s foreign exchange reserves continue to deplete, hitting $29.4bn on December 7, 2015.