Foreign ATM Cards Rejected by Nigerian Banks

For fear of possible invasion by hackers, majority of the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in Nigeria are rejecting ATM cards issued by foreign lenders. This is becoming a threat to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cash-less policy.
ATM cards issued by foreign banks were refused access on the ATM terminals of most of the banks.
Foreigners coming into the country and Nigerians who have ATM cards issued abroad have taken this complain to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to top banking officials, the Central Bank had written to all the banks in the country and most of the payment technology firms in other to address the problem. The letter has made some of the banks to grant access to some foreign ATM cards.
According to a top banker, the purpose for this action by most of the banks is to limit the activities of hackers as some of the hackers use these foreign ATM cards to hack into the Nigerian ATMs.
He revealed that as a result of the intervention of the CBN, some banks have started allowing foreign ATM cards to be used on their machines. Though according to him, not all banks have agreed to this yet because of their experiences.
The CBN got involved in the matter because the action could discourage its cash-less policy drive.
Nevertheless, it was learnt that since most of the Banks had begun installing anti-skimming devices on their ATMs in line with the CBN directive, most of them would grant access to foreign ATM cards.
In March, the CBN had ordered all Deposit Money Banks to install anti-skimming devices on their ATMs on or before June 1, 2014, as a result of the alarming rate of ATM- related frauds across the country.
The CBN warned that failure to comply with the regulations guiding ATM security would attract severe penalties as it would invoke a suitable sanction.
A circular dated March 5, 2014, contained this directive and it read, ‘’The CBN has observed with satisfaction the growth in the adoption of ATMs by Nigerians as one of the channels of e-payments. The bank is, therefore, committed to ensuring that the deployment and management of ATMs are in line with global best practices’’.
‘’However, we have observed with dismay the upward increase in the number of ATM- related frauds in the banking system. This development does not portend good news for the industry and requires urgent steps to curb abuse’’.
‘’Consequently, in addition to the existing guidelines on card-related frauds and in order to guard card-skimming at ATM channel across the country, all DBMs are hereby mandated to comply with the provisions of Section 3.2 ATM operations and Section 3.4 ATM security of the Standards and Guidelines on ATM operations in Nigeria, and also install risk-mitigating devices on their ATM terminals on or before June 1, 2014’’.