Commercial banks mandate travellers in need of dollars – PTA and BTA – to get travel debit cards

Commercial banks have mandated travellers in need of dollars – Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) and Business Travel Allowance (BTA) – to get travel debit cards as they commence card-based dollar disbursements.

The policy shift, announced by many banks including FirstBank and Access Bank, followed rising cases of abuse by travelers who get forex but fail to use it for trip-related purposes or turnaround to trade the funds at black markets.

It is also a part of the Bankers’ Committee policy to use digital processes to track forex transactions, stop fraudsters from abusing the system, and save scarce forex for the economy.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guidelines require that a company can buy up to $5,000 BTA per quarter while an individual is entitled to $4,000 PTA per quarter.

At one of the bankers’ committee meeting in Lagos last year, Group Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Segun Agbaje, said there have been incidents of customers presenting expired passports, invalid flight tickets, or open tickets that are canceled after they acquire the foreign exchange.

He said some bank customers have been also accused of requesting for forex in excess of what they require.

Agbaje added that banks do not want “fraudulent transactions taking place” in the guise of forex transactions.

The current card-based forex sales to customers are seen by industry experts as a major step to curb round-tripping in the industry and ensure that only genuine forex users get dollars.

In a note to its customers, First Bank said that PTA and BTA will now be transferred to the FirstBank Travel Card.

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