Low-cost carrier, fastjet Zimbabwe, has said it can no longer process online payments above $200 using the Zimbabwean Visa or MasterCard, citing the “current” financial cash crisis.
In a post on its website, fastjet Zimbabwe said: “We would kindly inform you that Zimbabwean Visa/Master Cards for online purchases above $200 may not be processed as a result of the current financial situation in Zimbabwe.”
It said those experiencing challenges in the payment process could either select the pay later platform or visit its offices.
The move by fastjet Zimbabwe comes as banks have started limiting the usage of the VISA/MasterCard for local transactions and are only allowing them to be used for foreign transactions.
Early this month, BancABC told its clients that Visa/MasterCard would no longer be available for local transactions and instead use ZimSwitch-enabled debit cards.
Even though payments made to fastjet are online, the limitation comes on the basis that the low-cost carrier airline serves the local market and if the card is from a local bank.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has not implemented any regulations on the limited use of Visa/MasterCard for local transactions, with banking sources saying the move was the brainchild of the banks to augment efforts by the regulator in stabilising the nostro accounts.
Efforts to reach fastjet Zimbabwe were unsuccessful.
Recently, Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya said the banking sector was operating under stringent circumstances, as foreign institutions were closing their [local banks] offshore accounts.
Mangudya said banks were failing to meet the high cash demand and were being forced to dip into their nostro accounts, which traditionally are for reserve money and foreign currency.
“What is happening is this, Visa/MasterCard are backed by nostro accounts. So when you make a payment using a Visa/MasterCard, you are essentially using the money in nostro accounts to service that transaction. This, however, is unsustainable as there is a high demand for cash, while nostro accounts are offshore and are only meant for foreign transactions,” financial expert Persistence Gwanyanya said.