BULAWAYO, June 7 (The Source) — FBC Bank has suspended real-time gross settlement RTGS) transfers onto its prepaid MasterCard facility, citing abuse by some customers, as banks tighten cash withdrawal restrictions amid an intensifying banknote crisis.
FBC’s prepaid MasterCard is a debit card that can be used to make both local and international payments as well as withdrawals. The card is not account based and is available to the bank’s depositors and those who do not hold FBC Bank accounts.
Zimbabwe is currently in the throes of a deep dollar shortage, forcing banks to tighten measures. The impeding introduction of local bond notes in October have prompted a run on banks as people fear the return of local currency.
FBC spokesperson Priscilla Sadomba told The Source that some card holders were using the prepaid MasterCard to breach the bank’s cash withdrawal limits.
The bank has daily withdrawal limit of $200.
“As you well know, the nation is currently experiencing cash challenges and Nostro funding limitations. In light of this, maximum daily withdrawal limits have been implemented across the banking sector,” Sadomba said.
“Besides its use locally, the MasterCard is a tool which enables people to transact via the internet and it allows for cash withdrawals and POS (transactions) when outside Zimbabwe. Now what some unscrupulous individuals have been doing, is doing RTGS transfers from their bank accounts onto the prepaid MasterCard,” she said.
Sadomba said card holders would then send their cards outside the country to make cash withdrawals there.
“So in order to stop those individuals who are trying to circumvent the system by double dipping, we have had to implement this measure,” she added.