- The American financial services company Visa is setting artificial exchange rates to the detriment of Mozambican consumers, a move denounced as unethical and illegal.
- The average exchange rate on the Mozambican exchange market is currently about 58 meticals to the US dollar. But Visa has fixed an exchange rate of 75 meticals to the dollar. This amounts to a massive loss for anyone trying to buy goods online with a Visa card.
- The report was made on Monday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Carta de Mocambique”.
Even when the metical was depreciating earlier this year, it never fell so low as 75 to the dollar. Now, thanks to the monetary policies pursued by the Bank of Mozambique, the metical has bounced back strongly – but Visa refuses to recognize this.
The strengthening of the metical comes despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the insecurity in parts of the country, and declining production in many sectors of the economy. The strength of the metical is a tribute to the central bank’s success in fighting against inflation – but Visa has refused to recognize this.
There is nothing that obliges Visa to use the same exchange rate as the Bank of Mozambique. But the difference between the market rates in Mozambique, and the Visa rate is now so stark that it is seriously damaging Mozambican consumers who use Visa cards.
One consumer, cited by “Carta de Mocambique”, said she had protested to her local bank, over the money taken from her account to pay a Visa debt. “I was told that Visa, the owner of the card, applies a different exchange rate from that used on our market”.
She could see nothing rational in being debited 75 meticais per dollar spent, when the Mozambican exchange rate on that date was 57 meticals to the dollar.
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