Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s mobile money platform, EcoCash has reduced its monthly foreign withdrawal limit on MasterCards by 20% to $400, as the country’s foreign currency position worsens.
In a notice last week, EcoCash said, “EcoCash MasterCard limit revised to $400 per month. New limits as follows ATM cash out $200, POS (point-of-sale) machines and virtual payments $200.”
Initially the limit was $500, having been reduced from $1 100 in December.
MasterCard and Visa cards transactions are funded from nostro accounts, which have been depleting due to low exports and an increase in imports.
This has seen companies struggling to make foreign payments for raw materials.
The reduction in the MasterCard limit comes barely a week after Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe cancelled automatic use of its Visa debit cards outside the country due to the “increasingly scarce foreign currency resources”.
The bank said the decision was arrived at to ensure the best use of the increasingly scarce foreign currency, which is disbursed in line with the priority list issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), when available.
It said the use of the Visa card would now be granted through application for “special consideration prior to travel”.
Clients, who want to use the cards outside Zimbabwe, will now be required to apply for the special consideration at least 72 hours before departure.
Clients would be expected to provide a travel itinerary and expected expenses to be incurred while travelling outside the country at any branch or via email with their applications.
Consideration will be dependent on the priority list guidelines on external payments by the RBZ, it said.
FBC also suspended the use of its MasterCard outside the country, but directed clients to use a prepaid one.