It appears commercial banks in Nigeria have stopped the use of Naira debit cards to pay for online forex denominated transactions.
This is based on a number of emails sent by some commercial banks to their customers informing them that naira debit cards can no longer be used to pay for transactions in forex either online or via ATM withdrawals abroad.
Here is an excerpt from an email received by a Nairametrics reader.
kindly note that effective 18 October 2016 your ability to carry out transactions priced in foreign currency using our Naira debit and credit cards will be suspended.
If you wish to conduct international card transactions after that date, you can request for a USD card (Debit or Prepaid) from any of our branches . We apologize for any inconvenience in this regard.
It appears that the decision to stop the use of debit cards for foreign transactions may have been taken in a bankers committee meeting held this week.
It is unclear why this decision was taken as most depositors had expected that the introduction of the flexible exchange rate policy will relax a lot of the controls put in place by the CBN.
This move is likely to see Nigerians look for alternative ways to fund their debit cards with dollars. A banker informs Nairametrics that the next option might be to buy dollars from the black market and then deposit such into a domiciliary account and then obtain a debit card for use.
The implication however is that the recent gains made by the Naira against the dollar maybe undermined as demand pressure might be sent back to the black market causing another spike in exchange rate.