Standard Chartered’s Zimbabwe-based unit has cancelled the use of Visa cards outside the country as Zimbabwe continues to grapple with dollar shortages.
In a notice published in a local newspaper, Standard Chartered said the bank has cancelled the use of its Visa cards outside Zimbabwe with immediate effect.
The bank explained the action has been taken to “ensure best use of the increasingly scarce foreign currency resources which is disbursed in line with the priority list issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) if and when available”.
Foreign currency shortages forced the RBZ to come up with a priority list meant to “promote efficient utilisation of foreign exchange and to re-orient import demand towards productive uses”. The list guides banks in the distribution of foreign currency towards competing demands.
Standard Chartered however said the ban is not outright, as clients who wish to use their cards outside Zimbabwe may apply for special consideration 72 hours prior to their departure.
“Customers are requested to submit evidence of all the expected expenses to be incurred whilst travelling outside the country.”
Zimbabwe has been experiencing foreign currency shortages and as at November 2016, balances at nostro accounts were at US$163.4m while cash in bank vaults only amounted to US$232m.
The RBZ said the country requires at least US$450m in nostro accounts, while University of Zimbabwe economics lecturer Ashok Chakravat said the country needs in excess of US$900m in cash to curb the liquidity crisis.-Fin24