Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

CBZ suspends Visa cards use in Zim

By Bianca Mlilo

CBZ Bank has suspended the local use of Visa cards citing the prevailing foreign exchange shortage.

Customers wait for cash at a CBZ branch in Harare (Picture by NewsDay)
Customers wait for cash at a CBZ branch in Harare (Picture by NewsDay)

In a statement, CBZ Bank said Visa card services at ATM (automated teller machines), point-of-sale (POS) and Internet payments would only be available outside the country.

“In line with market conditions, CBZ has suspended the use of the Visa card on the local market with effect from January 15, 2017,” said CBZ.

“The Visa card will, however, continue to transact outside Zimbabwe and new limits have been set.”

The limits per day are as follows: ATM outside Zimbabwe, $250; POS terminals outside Zimbabwe: $1 000 and internet payments: $500.

Recently commercial banks such as FBC and MBCA also announced decisions to disable Visa and Master Cards as part of measures to conserve the little foreign currency available in the country.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe also capped the amount of money one could take out of the country to $5 000.

Last month mobile money platform EcoCash, a subsidiary of Econet Zimbabwe reduced its MasterCard monthly transaction limits from $5 000 to $1 100.

This applies to all transactions-online and offline as well as local and international.

The EcoCash MasterCard has for long bridged the gap between mobile money services and international payments.

Zimbabwe has been facing a shortage of foreign currency since April last year.

Financial service providers have been forced to implement measures that limit exposure to international payments that require money to leave the country.

Cash shortages and delays in foreign payments have also affected companies whose businesses rely on imports.

This has been linked to the depletion of nostro reserves, which are funds for local banks held in foreign accounts. The Chronicle