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GTB, 2 others suspend ATM card usage abroad

Fresh angle has emerged on the frustrating scenario caused by the scarcity of dollar in Nigeria. Friday, some commercial banks announced the suspension of overseas Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card services and online transactions denominated in foreign currencies.

Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, and Stanbic IBTC Bank all Friday last week suspended  their overseas ATM card services.

Affected also is the online transactions priced in foreign currencies. Accordingly, 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 henceforth.

For example, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria on Friday told customers in a circular entitled: ‘Suspension of international transactions on naira debit cards,’ that they should “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.”

Also in an sms weekend, 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.”

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 its note to customers, captioned: ‘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,” GTB said.

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