How to bank outside the CMA

Chris Matthee


When travelling to a country outside the Common Monetary Area (CMA) the rules of banking change.
The Common Monetary Area (CMA) links South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland into a monetary union. Provisions in the Exchange Control Regulations published by the Bank of Namibia, prohibits a person relocating to a country outside the CMA, to make use of internet banking services to transfer money to other beneficiaries.

The aforementioned necessitates that the client based abroad personally instruct the bank to make transfers on their behalf. “For reasons of practicality and cost, Bank Windhoek clients often opt to send instructions to the bank via email or fax,” explained Chris Matthee, executive officer of banking services at Bank Windhoek.

“However, due to fraud as a result of personal email accounts being hacked or signatures forged on facsimiles sent to Bank Windhoek, clients are required to indemnify the bank against any potential damages that the client may suffer as a result of the bank acting on instructions that were fraudulently issued.”

“An indemnity serves to exempt the bank from liability against all loss or damage the client may sustain as a result of the Bank acting on instructions issued via email or facsimile.

Notwithstanding an indemnity given by the client, any email or facsimile instruction will be verified and confirmed by the bank. Individual clients will be contacted personally and in the case of a corporate client, a senior responsible official or person will be asked to confirm the instruction received.

Clients should however note that this may lead to further costs for them. Clients can also agree on a specific format, which will be used when sending instructions in this manner. The aforementioned does not detract from the fact that fraud is and remains a harsh reality. It remains the responsibility of clients to ensure that their personal information is properly safeguarded,” Matthee said.

Bank Windhoek clients need to visit their branch and inform them of the intention to give email/facsimile instructions to the bank. An email/facsimile indemnity form will then be completed to ensure that the client understands the content of the document and sign off on it. The branch will then affix a revenue stamp on the document and safeguard it.

“Any client can give instructions to the branch without visiting the branch, but it is advisable to rather use channels such as internet banking, cell phone banking or the Bank Windhoek App that will lower risk.”

When clients relocate to or visit countries outside the CMA, they need to ensure that they have access to the email address provided to the bank on the email/facsimile indemnity form. If they will not have access to that specific account, the client needs to provide Bank Windhoek with an alternative email address before going abroad.

The bank or branch will not act on instructions sent via email or facsimile unless an indemnity has been signed and provided to the bank. “This measure is to protect our clients and keep their investments safe,” Matthee said.


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