By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 9 August 2015:
Gumhouriya bank . . .[restrict]has launched a Mastercard debit card which can be used at its ATMs.
The new service was launched at a workshop held in Tripoli on Saturday.
The launch of a Mastercard debit card provides competition in the Libyan market dominated by Visa card.
In December last year, the privately-owned Aman bank was forced to offer its clients Mastercards after the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) had suspended Visa cards due to foreign currency smuggling.
The financial crises in Libya caused by the political and military fighting has led to a foreign exchange shortage as well as a safety crises. Libya has historically been predominantly a cash society, but the security vacuum has encouraged the Libyan public to adopt the use of debit cards virtually overnight.
Indeed, the foreign currency shortage has led to a clamber for debit cards – a demand that Libyan banks have been unable to meet. In fact, they have been accused of conspiring to monopolize the distribution of foreign currency accessed through debit cards overseas.
This had led the CBL to initially freezing the use of visa debit cards abroad and later to imposing withdrawal limits. [/restrict]