Concerns Regarding BML’s Recent Change to Incoming Credit to USD Accounts

Bank of Maldives has announced a permanent change that BML will no longer allow any credit coming into USD accounts from person-to-person transfers or withdrawals from digital wallets through Visa Direct, Mastercard Send or similar platforms. All incoming credit from such sources will only be allowed into MVR accounts.

BML informs that customers using cards with MVR accounts set as the primary account will continue to receive money at no additional charge. The amount received will be credited to the MVR account at the exchange rate of USD 1 = MVR 15.21 set for such transactions. Customers primary account can be changed from a USD to an MVR account, or they can change their primary account from one MVR account to another MVR account.

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According to a finance expert, the main issue is to receive payment in USD. “System should always have to deal with local currency. That means government should not ask to pay tax in USD either.” Now, resorts pay taxes in USD. But this should change. “All invoices should be in MVR and all taxes should be also collected in local currency.”

However, for this, the government needs foreign currency. “Government should get foreign currency through MMA from the banking system. In that way, you get more control on monetary policy. But then again, as a fixed exchange regime, central bank should have the capacity to supply at the fixed rate. Or change it to a floating exchange regime. That will be politically challenging since there will be a big drop at this time.”

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