Access bank customers will be able to access foreign exchange outside Nigeria, thanks to the bank's introduction of a travel debit card. The travel cards are designed to allow the holder to access the allocated Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) from ATMs outside of the country.
The bank created the travel debit card in response to the Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN's) instruction that all deposit money banks (DMBs) fulfill legitimate FX requests for personal travel allowance (PTA) and business travel allowance (BTA). According to the bank managers, all legitimate and approved PTAs or BTAs would be credited to the Travel Debit Card for use outside Nigeria, effective from October 18, 2021.
Access Bank, in a press release, highlighted the benefits of the newly launched travel debit. This include
1. Instant issuance for PTA/BTA requests.
2. Easy access to international transactions via POS, ATM, and WEB.
3. The card is valid for 3 years and can be used for current and subsequent PTA/BTA requests within its validity.
4. All unutilized funds remain in the card and can be used for international transactions or subsequent trips.
Access Bank also has a credit card that performs the similar function as the Travel Debit Card. Still, the bank's executive observed that the Travel Debit Card is slightly different from the bank's credit card, which has different classes and different daily limits.
The significant difference is that, unlike the credit cards that can be used on POS and the Web excluded ATMs, which are not eligible for international transactions, customers could use the travel debit card on all three platforms (POS, Web, and ATM).
The importance of the innovation cannot be overemphasized. Proshare has a perfect summary of the significance of the travel debit card. "Analysts have lauded the introduction of the Travel debit card; business observers believe that if the CBN were to adopt the travel card as the only medium for the allocation of PTA/BTA life would be snuffed out of rent-seekers."
Given Nigeria's FX problem, it will be interesting to see if the CBN key into this idea of a travel debit card and how other Nigerian banks react to Access Bank's travel debit card.