Speaking with sources at several deposit money banks, our reporter was able to learn that the instruction was not infact from the CBN.
One source said, “There is no blanket CBN restriction on Naira cards usage abroad. The banks are placing these restrictions using their own discretion based on the scarcity of FX liquidity in the market.”
A circular from Standard Chartered Bank bans the usage of cards abroad entirely. However speaking with some of the major banks, we discovered that the restrictions vary.
First Bank and Diamond Bank have a daily limit of $300, and with your First Bank card you can withdraw cash and use the ATM. However there is a sharper limit to usage of the FBN cards in Dubai where the limit is $250 per week even as the Dubai Shopping Festival is about to begin.
Then there is GTBank which allows $1000 per month, and the entire sum can be used up in one day.
Zenith Bank has banned the use of its cards in Dubai, China, Turkey, and all West African countries due to the volume of transactions in those country and to prevent round tripping as many opportunists take advantage of the sharp spread between official and parallel market rates.
A Zenith Bank employee who recently returned from holiday in Dubai, speaking to our reporter said, “GTBank is still ok. That was what saved me in Dubai. You can use your Naira card on daily POS transactions up to $300 daily. ”
He added that there did not seem to be a limit on the amount of daily transactions one could transact.