Be selective which debit card you use in Nigeria

Atm clip art

Sometimes one wonders whether the people in the government ever know what they are doing.

The other day, I tried using an ATM belonging to Fidelity Bank, but the machine decided to retain the card. This was after a successful transaction a few minutes earlier on the same machine. I was asked by the security guard to come the following day as it was already very late.

On getting to the bank the following morning, rather than return my card or direct me on where I could collect it (the last time such a thing happened at the same branch, I was referred to my bank (Zenith Bank) for collection – and it went smoothly.

To my utter dismay, I was informed that in line with current central bank regulations, all ATM cards that got stuck in machines other than those belonging to the issuing bank were to be forfeited and destroyed. This really got me angry as I questioned the rationale behind this, given that whenever we used our debit cards on ATMs of other banks, we were being charged N65 per transaction (or thereabouts).

Well, I had no choice but to go to my bank for a new debit card. I got my replacement quite alright, but (1) I had to wait 5 working days to collect it, (2) it set me back N1,000 and (3) the validity period of my “new” card is just 5 months, which means that, technically, I’m still operating my old card.

So, is it any wonder that the government’s ‘Cashless Policy’ is a total failure? I wonder what part of the body they use to do their thinking…

If you’re in Nigeria, my advice to you is this: Never use your debit card on an ATM that does not belong to issuing bank. The stress you will face should anything go wrong (not to talk of the expense) is not worth the so-called ‘convenience’.

Debit xard


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