As early as last week we started seeing some banks jostling to capitalise on the announcement by the government that civil servants would be receiving Covid-19 allowances in USD. This money will be paid in electronic format in the form of what we are now calling Nostro USD. Now one of these banks, CBZ has made a move for it.

To make it easy for us civil servants to receive our US$75 and pensioners to receive their US$30, @CBZHoldings has already opened a zero deposit Nostro Account for us. We just Dial *230# to check for our account number. Hope other banks follow suit.

Secretary Mangwana on twitter

This is not a first

While the move by CBZ is noteworthy because it was almost certainly prompted by a desire to capitalise on Covid-19 allowances, this is not a first. Other banks depending on circumstances already allow you to open a zero deposit Nostro FCA account with them. In fact for banks such as Standard Chartered you won’t even need to contact your bank thanks to digital banking.

All you need to do is to login into your online banking account or use their app, tap or click on a few things and in less than 5 minutes you will have a Nostro FCA account. You also don’t need to deposit anything.

The question of charges

Banks in Zimbabwe currently survive and make their money by levying charges on just about every transaction you do. In fact depending on what you are doing the charges might sometimes exceed the value of the payment itself. So another question is what will banks be charging on these accounts? After $75 USD is not much money. In fact, retirees are only slotted to receive $30 USD, banks charges can easily gobble a good part of that money.