Barclays Bank, one of the few remaining banks that was still accepting DStv payments in Zimbabwe has recently announced that with effect from the 1st of December 2017 (a day from now) will no longer be accepting DStv payments. Barclays Bank Zimbabwe suspension on DStv Payments is due to limited foreign currency which needs to be allocated to critical services.
As the biting cash crisis worsens, locals have to miraculously scrounge for hard cash to transact with MultiChoice Zimbabwe, which does not accept direct payments. A number of banks are demanding the elusive United States dollar and an extra commission to process DStv subscriptions for locals as more plastic money payment avenues are being closed, sidelining a number of customers.
Whilst on the other hand, MultiChoice Zimbabwe claims that all DStv subscription payments go directly to MultiChoice Africa through a financial institution (in this case a bank).
Quoting MultiChoice Zimbabwe public relations manager Liz Dziva said that their hands were tied as they cannot intervene when these problems are between the customer and the middleman. She added that customers were at the mercy of the banks.
“We do not have control over commissions they charge. Only the money that is paid for subscriptions come to MultiChoice Zimbabwe.
MultiChoice Zimbabwe does not accept any form of payment directly from DStv customers.
All payments for DStv subscriptions are made to financial institutions and then remitted to MultiChoice Africa. We have no control over, which payment methods the banks choose to make available for DStv subscribers.”
The suspension is effective 1 December 2017. A notice from the bank reads:
DStv Payment Service Suspension
Dear customer, we kindly advise that we will temporarily suspend the DStv payment service with effect from 1 December 2017. This suspension arises from the need to effectively allocate limited foreign currency to other critical needs
For any queries, kindly call our 24-hour contact centre on (04) 250579 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is particularly important because Barclays account holders had the privilege of using their bond notes in their bank accounts to make DStv payments. They did not have to pre-fund with USD first before making the payment as would with most of the banks when making international payments.
A DStv payment remains an international payment regardless of the existence of a MultiChoice Zimbabwe (the franchise holders for DStv in Zimbabwe) and for a long time, this hasn’t settled well with DStv customers because it is well-known that in Zimbabwe USD is hard to come by.
DStv had monopoly in Zimbabwe, and their prices were extremely high and to make matters worse, after the introduction of bond notes was yet another challenge to pay subscriptions in foreign currency.
In a nutshell, nonetheless, Barclays suspending DStv payments is not too much of a surprise considering that’s the route most banks have been taking. It could be a disappointment but definitely not a surprise. It’s no secret that foreign currency is a very scarce commodity in Zimbabwe and if things don’t improve, it is given it’s just a matter of time before the rest of the banks stop taking DStv payments.