We contacted Standard Chartered (StanChart) this morning and we can confirm that its online Visa service can no longer be used to make online international payments. Stanchart joins a growing list of banks that are restricting the use of Visa and Mastercard systems to make both online and physical card international payments.
Many banks which are still allowing the use of Visa and Mastercard services require their customers to pre-fund their accounts with physical US dollars. But Stanchart’s case is different and more radical, its Visa online service is not working even if a customer’s offers to pre-fund their account with physical US dollars. I wonder why they are going to such lengths. One customer emailed us saying:
I tried to buy something online last week with my Stanchart Visa and could not succeed.First i thought my account had some issues.So today i visited their Bulawayo branch and complained about the issue,only to be told that their Visa online service is no longer working anymore.I had to ask them if i could come with my physical USD so i could deposit and pay online,but the customer service agent said Stanchart Visa card cant be used for online payments anymore
Whatever their motive in taking the service altogether, I expect their Visa service to come back with a new requirement that enables customers to use it, most probably the pre-funding option that many banks are currently using.
The move follows last year’s cancellation of making payments outside Zimbabwe using Visa cards citing that the action was taken to “ensure the best use of the increasingly scarce foreign currency resources” due to the poor funding of the bank’s Nostro accounts.
The depletion of banks’ Nostro accounts has created serious settlement problems for international payments, resulting in most banks having a backlog for telegraphic transfers. As such Stanchart’s online Visa service has most likely been taken down to further limit the outflow of forex from its Nostros.