Libya credit cards and Turkish ATMs: A story that never ends
Since the beginning of 2017, the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) has decided to sell families 400 dollars per each member at the official rates (1.4 Libyan dinars per 1 US dollar). From that day on, the story began.
The money allocated for the families has been bought by Libyan nationals and deposited in new bank accounts of foreign currencies at Libyan banks, then the banks issued credit cards with the amount of dollars bought by each family.
However, the dilemma is that the Libyan ATMs don’t cash out foreign currencies, so all credit cards must travel outside the country so every Libyan family can withdraw the money.
Travel options for Libyans, where they could cash out in dollar, are narrowed down to Turkey and other countries, but Turkey was numero uno.
Over the last 16 months, especially that this year every Libyan family member can buy 500$ instead of 400$, Libyans have been frequenting Turkey for the sole aim of withdrawing the money they bought at the CBL official rates and bring back to Libya, either to sell in the black market for higher prices, or for using it for their own needs.
However, the crowdedness that has been noticed by Turkish security over the last months by Libyans at the ATMs obliged the Turkish banks to sometimes stop operating Libyan credit cards, or in other times limit the amount of money that can be withdrawn by a Libyan credit card every day to very small sums.
Meanwhile, Libyans are seen everyday in Turkey waiting next to ATMs trying to cash the dollars out, with many of them doing it as a kind of business more so than a necessity.