Government made it clear that the allowance was not withdrawable. Therefore, the only way to use the US dollar allowance is by liquidating it into Zimbabwe dollars and use it as cash or electronic money (‘Swiping’ or mobile money). Alternatively, they can just use the allowance as US dollars by ‘Swiping’ for US dollar transactions.
To ‘Swipe’ US dollars, banks need to issue new debit cards that are purely for US dollar transactions. However, this new requirement caught banks unawares so many of them are failing to avail debit cards for US dollar transaction so that customers can ‘Swipe’ according to the RBZ.
On 17 June 2020, the Government of Zimbabwe announced an interim arrangement to pay a non-taxable Covid-19 allowance of USD75.00 to Civil servants.
To enable Civil Servants who bank with CABS to receive and view these allowances we gave automatically opened Nostro FCAs and linked them to our mobile banking platform. We have also linked to their existing debit card.
In order to allow use of the cards in retail outlets, we are doing the following:
- Configuring our Point of Sale devices to recognize the dual accounts.
As you can see from the announcements, CBZ and POSB customers can only ‘Swipe’ Nostro US dollars at their respective bank’s Point Of Sale machines which were configured to recognize the two currencies.
In other words, CABS and POS customers can only ‘Swipe’ their Nostro US dollars at CABS POS machines and POSB POS machines only and not any other machine.
These are just a makeshift solutions by CABS and POSB to enable their customers to easily use their US dollars in Nostro accounts. However, ideally, customers would want to ‘Swipe’ their Nostro US dollars on any Zimswitch POS machine.
When will you receive Nostro cards
The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe told the RBZ that banks are able to fulfill the debit card backlog by 31 August, next month.
Consequently, by then all POS machines will be configured in such a way that all civil servants, regardless of their bank, can ‘Swipe’ Nostro US dollars at any POS machine.