A few days ago I developed a small situation where I really needed some money but none was forthcoming. You know how it is in Zimbabwe these days. The galling thing about my situation was that though I had exhausted everything in my local cards, I had a bit of money in my Payoneer MasterCard card. You know the one that I use to get payments for freelancing work? Anyway, here is the tale of how you can still use international VISA and MasterCard cards to carry out transactions in Zimbabwe.
Anyway, out in desperation, I headed to the nearest Spar supermarket to get usavi (relish) in whatever form. I had a few bond dollars from the sacks (commuters) that I had carried in my car on my way to work. This money could, however, only buy a packet of sour milk (lacto).
When I got to the till to pay for this, I asked the lady offhand whether or not the store still accepted international MasterCard cards. I had seen a notice somewhere in the store stating that they were giving a favorable RTGS rate to the USD. The rate on the day was 4.5 RTGS to the USD.
Don’t know whether this is strictly legal, though I am not one to complain.
Anyway, imagine my surprise when the till operator told me that the store, indeed, still accepted international VISA and MasterCard cards. I had honestly thought the displayed exchange rate was for cash transactions only.
The lady till operator then went off to collect the POS machine that is used for these kind of transactions. Meanwhile, I rushed back into the store to get a number of much needed items, including those chicken cuts that have become so expensive.
When I got back to the till, I discovered that the store had a CABS POS machine that is used exclusively to swipe VISA and MasterCard cards. The things that I bought cost me 30 RTGS dollars. However, I only paid 6.6 something USDs using my Payoneer card when the rating was factored in. And the chicken cuts that I have just said are becoming expensive? Well, they are not that expensive in USD terms. In fact, they are rather cheap, at around $4.4. That’s a far cry from the $7 that was charged when we were still using USDs; before the calamity.
Anyway, I just wanted to tell my readers who have MasterCard and Visa cards that, yes, these can still be used in Zimbabwe. You simply need to find a store that provides you with a favorable rate and you should be good to go.