…Why Flutterwave, Busha, Eversend, Vesti, others suspended virtual dollar card services in Nigeria
…Implications for Individual Nigerians and Companies needing virtual dollar card services
Fintech company, Flutterwave as well as crypto exchange Busha; Payday whose headquarters are in Canada and Rwanda; and Ugandan-based Eversend have all shut down their virtual dollar services in Nigeria.
The fintech platforms announced, via messages they sent to their customers, that they were shutting down their virtual dollar services beginning from 16th of July, 2022.
For instance, in an email, Flutterwave whose virtual dollar card services is Barter, told its Nigerian customers that the virtual dollar service would stop working on Saturday, 16th of July, 2022.
The email it sent to its Barter customers read thus:
“…effective Sunday, 17th July 2022, all our Virtual Dollar cards will be unavailable for any transactions and purchases.”
Similarly, Nigerian fintech startup, Vesti, issued similar notice to its customers.
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However, while Barter shut down on the 16th of July, 2022, Vesti announced it was shutting down virtual dollar services two days earlier, specifically on the 14th of July, 2022.
Vesti told its customers that its virtual dollar card service would be on hold for “next few weeks….”
Also, the Ugandan-based Eversend send similar message to its customers too.
However, unlike Vesti, Eversend shut its virtual dollar card services on the Sunday, July 17th, 2022.
Meanwhile, what is a virtual dollar card?
A virtual card is a digital equivalent of the physical bank cards that you have and can use on ATM machines for transactions.
Meanwhile, customers create virtual cards and store them within digital virtual wallets.
Reasons for shutting down the virtual dollar card services:
The various fintech platforms gave the following reasons for shutting down their virtual dollar card services in Nigeria.
For Flutterwave’s Barter, it gave the reasons as being resulting from “an update from the company’s card partner which will cause the service to be unavailable for an extended period of time.”
For Eversend, its message read thus:
“Virtual cards are temporarily offline starting July 17th…”
It said all virtual USD transactions would be turned off.
What happens to your money in the virtual cards?
Well, the virtual dollar card service providers told their customers that their money in the virtual cards would be transferred back to them in their digital wallets.
What this virtual dollar card service shutdown means for Nigerians
According to the messages, the tech platform told its customers to expect the following:
- Users of the platforms will no longer be able to make online and in-store payments requiring dollar transactions.
- Also, the customers will no longer be able to purchases things outside Nigeria using your Virtual Dollar Card(s).
- Customers will equally be unable to fund their existing Virtual Dollar Card(s).
- All transactions such as transferring or receiving money across borders will no longer be possible.
- All existing Virtual Dollar Card(s) would be terminated.
- However, all corresponding balances, the platform will credit the customers.
- Also, users will be unable to create new Virtual Dollar Card(s).
- Furthermore, Flutterwave even advised its customers to unlink their Dollar Card(s) from any recurring payments. They should also replace them with another payment method.
Meanwhile, individuals and companies who have been affected by this shutdown took to social media to announce their displeasure.
It didn’t have to end like this. pic.twitter.com/Aga5tRP7zX
— David Hundeyin (@DavidHundeyin) July 15, 2022
Easy, switch to plumter, owned by Vbank and thier virtual dollar card is the card that can be linked to PayPal from Nigeria to make PayPal payments.https://t.co/1aWD5N9omM
— Robbie T (@kayteeRobby) July 15, 2022
Wait o. Na barter get Vesti too? Or they use same card partner? Cos I received a similar email from Vesti 🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️ pic.twitter.com/2aAz1TgtPj
— Seyi Adesigbin (@seyi_adesigbin) July 15, 2022
The real reason the companies are shutting down virtual dollar card services in Nigeria:
Although the fintech companies have given reasons why they shut down their virtual dollar services.
However, insider speculations suggest that they are shutting down because Union54 – the company that has the dollar virtual card API, which these fintech startups rely on, are exiting Nigeria.
Also, Union54 could be exiting Nigeria following the freezing of several bank accounts of Flutterwave by a Kenyan High Court over money laundering.
Techuncode had reported that a Kenyan medium, The Star, revealed on Wednesday that Kenyan court froze flutterwave’s accounts.
Meanwhile, these tech platforms have been accused of moving an equivalent of over $215 million from Nigeria to Kenya.
Implications for Nigerians:
With the fintech platforms shutting down virtual dollar cards, it portends serious issues for Nigerians.
Nigerians will no longer be able to send or receive money across trans-Atlantic ocean.
Also, the Barter USD card can be used on most global payment sites like Uber, Google Play, Apple Music, Asos, Udemy, Coursera, AliExpress, Namecheap, Facebook, PayPal, etc. for payments and purchases.
Douglas Kenydson, CEO Selar said. “Our Amazon web services (AWS) plan is also connected, and you can’t even afford to miss one payment, or else they’ll take you off.”
Despite the development, customer are still optimistic as to when the platforms would restore the services again.