Banks Tighten Forex Rules for Customers as Shortages Worsen
By Chuks Emele
Nigerian banks are tightening rules for customers seeking to obtain foreign exchange with First Bank ending all foreign transactions with naira denominated cards.
“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,” First Bank said on Wednesday in an emailed note to customers. “This will take effect on 30 September 2022.”
The lender advised that foreign transactions should only be made with foreign-currency denominated cards such as the Visa Debit Multicurrency Card, Visa Prepaid (USD) Card and Visa Gold Credit Card, with spending limits of as much as 10,000 dollars while travelling abroad.
The bank also sent a message to customers last week advising that all future disbursements of foreign exchange for either personal or business travel will be made into foreign-currency payment cards with applications made at most 14 days before travel.
Those seeking funds for tuition fees and student up keep will need a minimum of 30 days for their requests to be processed, according to the bank.
Other banks have also introduced similarly stringent conditions for their customers seeking to obtain foreign currency. Several others have warned that requests can only be met when funds are available.
Standard Chartered Bank in a message to clients advised them to expect to wait for as long as eight to ten weeks for requests for school fees, student living allowance and medical treatment.
“This is to ensure that we can review and approve all applications in line with regulatory requirements and also ensure FX allocation to fulfil all pending requests,” it added.
All applications will have to be made through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Trade Monitoring System website.