Barclays bank, one of the few local banks which still offered its clients the privilege of transferring “limited amounts of money” have recently sent an update that it will only offer the service to a few approved clients provided the payment is considered to be a special case.
An unofficial source within the bank noted that there might be room for the clients to pre fund their accounts with USD or any other foreign currency in order to make online payments but this move also requires approval from the bank as it does not guarantee automatic online payment.
As government continues to deny that the local money in bank accounts is nothing but mere printed currency from the RBZ RTGS system, unfortunately figures don’t lie and the local banks can not hold the water any more.
The move goes to clearly distinguish local USD vs actual USD as the RBZ is forced to climb down from their previous cheap statement that they used when they hoodwinked the nation into believing that we were only suffering from hard cash crisis not real nostro balance reflection.
The RBZ had previously denied that the introduction of bond notes was a subtle way of introducing “local US dollar”, while categorically mentioning that this was a mere system to incentivise farmers and exporters, but the currency has run dry from the main system
The move by Barclays as one of the few banks leaves Zimbabwean stranded with local currency which can only buy in Zimbabwe and needs serious approval to buy international under the RBZ priority list, hence soon may become useless figures stuck in back accounts.
Ecobank, NMB and FBC are some of the banks in Zimbabwe offering VISA payments with their USD prefunded VISA accounts whilst others like Stanbic and Standard Chartered have put limitations on VISA payments. Currently with an NMB VISA card, one can withdraw $20 from an ATM outside Zimbabwe and pay online or use a POS outside Zimbabwe to the tune of $50 until the 8th of November when the card will have to be prefunded by the USD.
Ecocash and Steward Bank have also suspended international payments from their MasterCards. While Ecocash and Steward bank were open to prefunding international payments with USD, they have suspended the service indefinitely.