Barclays Bank Zimbabwe has issued a statement indicating their VISA card now requires pre-approval. The bank joins an ever-growing list of banks that are terminating foreign use of cards.
You now need to apply to have your bank card activated before you travel. Just visit your local branch to have your card provisioned. Previously, they had reduced the limits on the card to $50. The bank also introduced outrageous charges for the card for whatever reason. You fork out $5 per transaction with the card. Maybe it was a way to discourage people from using it.
The same move has already been applied by other banks. Standard Chartered started requiring applications for foreign use last year before forex became that scarce. In full, the statement from Barclays reads:
Please be advised that usage of VISA card for cross border transactions is now subject to prior arrangements and approvals by Barclays Bank. Applications can be made through your nearest Barclays branch. This arrangement supersedes any prior limits the bank extended to you before this notification. All limits on your local Barclays ZimSwitch-ready debit cards will remain unchanged. You can apply for your local debit card at any of our branches countrywide.
Banks have resorted to blocking the use of international cards to curb the foreign currency shortages. The cards were also used as a loophole in the system to pay for DStv, which reduces the options you have to pay for the satellite internet. Steward Bank outright blocked usage of their card outside the country, including the EcoCash debit card.