Zimbabwe’s largest bank suspends use of Visa Cards

CBZ Holdings limited, the largest bank in Zimbabwe has suspended the use of Visa cards for its local transactions due to shortage in availability of foreign currency.

Last year, the government of Zimbabwe introduced the use of bond notes in a bid to reduce the effect of the cash crunch but the decision was protested against . Zimbabwe has been facing shortage of currency since April last year.

In a statement released by the CEO of CBZ holdings, Never Nyemudzo , the visa cards will only be used outside the country with daily limits on transactions performed. The limits are as follows ; USD250 at ATMs, USD1,000 for point-of-sale business and USD500 for payments over the internet while the banks in Zimbabwe have limited daily cash withdrawals of  USD50. This new measures will take effect from January 15,2017.

Due to a shortage of foreign currencies that has led to delays in salary payments to civil servants, the military and some private company employees. Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency in 2009 because of hyperinflation.

Nyemudzo said ”Charges on making transactions are very expensive for customers. Money also has to be settled outside the country for accounts that are held overseas in foreign currency”.

Recently, commercial banks in Zimbabwe also announced the disable of Visa and Master cards as part of measures to conserve the little foreign currency available in the country. The reserve bank of Zimbabwe also limited the amount of money an individual could take out of the country to USD5,000.

Just last month, mobile money platform known as Ecocash, a subsidiary of Econet Zimbabwe reduced its master card monthly transaction limit to USD1,100 from USD5,000

Zimbabwe, led by President Robert Mugabe since independence from the U.K. in 1980, is battling food shortages, a 95 percent unemployment rate and the collapse of basic services.