Bank of Valletta (BOV) clients have been informed that the bank will be ending its relationship with Mastercard, one of the world’s main payment processing services.
Clients of the bank were informed that as of 1st December 2021, the only payment option that will be offered by the bank is Visa.
In a letter sent out to clients, which has been seen by Lovin Malta, the bank said it would be offering affected clients the option of transferring to Visa free of charge.
Back in May, the bank announced that it had established a correspondent banking relationship, allowing it to affect dollar transfers, with Western Union after being informed by Raiffeisen – its last remaining correspondent bank – that it would be ending its relationship with BOV.
The bank has struggled in recent years as a result of increased scrutiny being placed on Malta and its financial institutions, as well as a de-risking exercise carried out by a number of international banks it had a relationship with, which no longer consider Malta to be worth the risk to operate in.
Malta was placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s grey list of countries requiring increased supervision in June.
In comments to the Shift News, a BOV spokesperson denied that the latest move was in any way linked to the greylisting and Malta’s ongoing reputational damage, insisting that the decision was “purely a business and strategic one”.
They also noted that Visa and Mastercard were both widely accepted across the globe with very few instances in which one would only be able to use Mastercard.
Industry experts who spoke to the website also said the decision was likely not to have anything to do with other issues currently affecting the country.
Tag someone who needs to read this