By Sami Zaptia.
London, 21 December 2016:
The Central Bank of Libya (CBL) has revealed this week that up to 30 November this year, it has successfully linked 233,991 Visa debit cards with the National ID Number. By specifying ”Visa” cards the CBL seems to be excluding MasterCard branded debit cards from its statistics.
Linking debit cards issued by Libyan banks to the National ID Number is a prerequisite condition stipulated by the CBL for the issuing of a debit card. This was an anti-corruption measure put in place to prevent individuals fraudulently holding multiple debit cards.
|Bank||No of issued debit cards linked to NID No.|
|8||Nuran||Not issuing debit cards|
|9||Sahary||Debit card service suspended|
|10||Commerce & Development||Debit card service suspended|
The practice of holding multiple debit cards was a measure used to gain access to large amounts of foreign currency. The foreign currency used to be withdrawn abroad and re-exported back into Libya to be sold on the black market at up to five times the official exchange rate. It was believed that these illegal activities were conducted in collusion with some bank personnel.
It is notable from the statistics released by the CBL that the privately-owned Aman bank is by far the largest issuer of Visa-branded debit cards with 147,630 – more than all the other banks put together.