This is an overview of GTBank Nigeria’s Dollar Debit MasterCard services. The exchange rate in Nigeria and most oil producing countries is a hot mess at the moment due to falling oil prices. These days I have to seriously weigh the necessity of an item before I hit the order button even on some Chinese websites famous for selling quality stuff at cheap rates.
So I made up my mind to start spending my dollars instead of converting naira to dollars at the point of purchase. This move has saved me close to N30,000 ($157) in web hosting fees and school fees so far. If you have dollars to spend and you’re thinking of getting a dollar denominated MasterCard from GTBank Nigeria, or are shopping for retail merchant services, here are a few details you need to be aware of.
GTBank Dollar Debit MasterCard Application Requirements
You need to have a domiciliary account with GTBank and have at least $50 in it. This $50 will cover fees like issuance and yearly maintenance fee.
A domiciliary account is like a current account so you have to be ready to furnish at last 2 referees if you don’t already own a current account with the bank.
Click here for more requirement details.
GTBank Dollar Debit MasterCard Transaction Charges
- Card Issuance One Time Fee: $20 USD
- Yearly Card Maintenance Fee: $18 USD
- ATM Withdrawals: $3.50 USD per withdrawal
- POS & Internet transactions: FREE
- POS cash advance: $6.25 USD + 0.1% of transaction amount
GTBank Dollar Debit MasterCard Deposit/Withdrawal Alert
Email alerts are free of charge but SMS costs 25 cents or so (according to the application form I filled). I’m not so sure now though but I think you are allowed to specify from which account you want the sms charges deducted so I chose my naira account.
In my opinion, the SMS alerts are useless because they are only instant for transactions such as cash deposit or withdrawal. For online purchases they are not instant. You don’t get an alert as soon as you order something. You get one after the merchant has claimed his money thus you should be fine with just email alerts. I’m strongly considering going to the bank and cancelling sms alerts to save me some cash.
The card is issued almost instantly. I live in Sokoto and the card was ready for pickup after 4 working days. Lagosians might be able to get it instantly or in 24-48hrs.
The card is personalized with your name printed on it.
Once you get the card, do not immediately change your PIN or you will have to do so again after activation. You will be given instructions to call card services via GTCONNECT (014480000) to activate the card. After answering quite a number of security questions, you’ll be told that the card will be activated in 10 minutes after which you need to change your PIN and then its ready for transactions.
One important feature I love about GTBank’s Dollar Debit MasterCard is that it is not linked to your domiciliary account at all so your money is safe. Once the card has been issued and activated, you can easily move funds in and out of the card via the Internet banking platform. What I do is move only the amount of funds I wish to spend at a time inside the card.
UPDATE 10th February, 2015: You can't move funds out of the card back into your domiciliary account. Something just came up and I tried that and it didn't work. :(
That’s all I have for those of you interested in getting the card. If you’ve got further questions, the comment section is always open.
Do have a great week ahead.
UPDATE 1st April, 2015: GTBank has this nasty behaviour of withholding way more funds than necessary when you make a transaction. I've been enduring the rubbish for quite some time now until when they sat on $21 for over 1 week. It took 3 calls to get them to release the money. My advice to you whenever you want to make a transaction, load the exact amount of the transaction + $5 extra. This is how I avoid the mess now. $5 seems to be the minimum amount your account must hold before a transaction on your card is allowed.
For example if you want to make a $30 payment and you have only $30 in your account, the transaction will be declined. With a balance of $35, that $30 payment will sail through. In this scenario, if you have $60 on your card, GTBank can block $57 out of it. $30 goes to the merchant and the remaining $27 stays blocked until when GTBank Nigeria is done doing business with it or when you call incessantly to rake for them.
You've been warned oh! No enter one chance!
UPDATE 24th April, 2015: What I'm about to reveal probably applies to Naira MasterCards as well so you might already be aware of this. When you make a transaction with your GTBank Dollar Mastercard and you cancel it later down the line, the money will remain stuck in lien balance until after 15 days. Lien Balance is how banks keep the amount transacted ready for collection by merchants. If merchants don't claim the fund after 15 days, the funds are returned back to your account. 15 days is quite a long time for one's money to be stuck so shop carefully.
UPDATE 19th November, 2016: According to GTBank's twitter account, the above charges have been reviewed. Card Issuance Fee is now $10 and attracts a yearly maintenance fee of N3000. ATM cash withdrawals are now limited to $1,000 daily with the standard $3.50 charge per withdrawal while POS and WEB transactions are free.
Thanks to Busiyi Sogo for the update.
UPDATE 4th January, 2018: Yearly Mastercard maintenance fee seems to have been reviewed and now cost $20 USD as I was just debited from my main dollar account instead of my naira account. At this point, I'll be visiting Stanbic IBTC to see what their charges are like.