May 4, 2015

Forex limit on naira debit card: CBN to set BVN trap for multiple card holders

Stories by Babajide Komolafe

Very soon, bank customers that have multiple naira debit cards linked to different banks accounts would not be able to spend more than $50,000 for overseas transaction through their cards.

This is because, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to meet electronic payment service providers to devise measures to ensure that banks customers are not able to have access to more than the $50,000 limit for on foreign exchange that could be accessed through naira debit cards for overseas transactions.

Recently, the apex bank reduced this limit to $50,000 per annum per person from $150,000. It also reduced limit of daily foreign exchange withdrawal while abroad to $300 per day from $12,000.

The reduction followed an exclusive report by Financial Vanguard which revealed that foreign exchange users were circumventing the foreign exchange limit on naira debit cards. This is done by obtaining multiple naira debit cards linked to different bank accounts, and thus have access to foreign exchange above the limit stipulated by the CBN.

Financial Vanguard reliably gathered the CBN intends to check this abuse by using the ongoing Biometric Verification Number (BVN) enrolment exercise. It was gathered the BVN of every bank customers would be linked to the cards issued to the customer by banks. By doing this, the apex bank would be able to use the BVN to enforce the limit on foreign exchange that each bank customer can access for overseas transaction irrespective of the number of naira debit cards issued to the customer by banks.

It was further gathered that the apex bank is set to meet with the major electronic payment service providers like Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Visa International, MasterCard, Interswtch to discuss how to link the BVN to payments card issued to customers for the purpose of enforcing the foreign exchange limit for overseas transaction through naira debit cards.