First Bank Stops Use of Naira Cards for International Transactions

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By Dipo Olowookere

From Friday, September 30, 2022, customers of First Bank will no longer be able to use their Naira cards for international transactions, Business Post reports.

This development is triggered by the scarcity of foreign exchange (forex) in Nigeria, the financial institution confirmed in a message to its customers on Wednesday.

The lender disclosed that for customers to complete their offshore transactions, they would have to obtain multicurrency cards, which allow them to spend up to $10,000.

Nigerian banks have struggled to meet the FX demands of their customers because of a shortage in supply despite the prices of crude oil rising in the global market.

The government had blamed attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region of the country as well as oil theft as the reason for low crude oil output.

It was reported that last month, the oil production of Nigeria went down below one million barrels, making it difficult for the nation to earn more from crude oil sales.

On Tuesday, Business Post reported that commercial banks in the country now opt for electronic transfer of forex into accounts of forex users instead of cash disburse due to a shortage in supply.

“Due to current market realities on foreign exchange, you will no longer be able to use the Naira Mastercard, Naira Credit Card, our Virtual card and Visa Prepaid Naira card for international transactions. This will take effect on September 30, 2022.

“Please use your Visa Debit Multicurrency Card, Visa Prepaid (USD) Card and Visa Gold Credit Card to continue transacting abroad with limits of up to $10,000,” the message sent by First Bank to its customers today stated.

Despite the apparent FX supply crisis in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has maintained that those who genuinely need forex should go through the official market, which is primarily the commercial banks.

The apex bank had maintained that sourcing FX through the black market was illegal. It also described the platform as insignificant in the FX market, saying it only accounts for 5 per cent of the landscape.

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