Ukrainian banks are setting limits on cash withdrawal at ATMs, explainingthat it’s a security measure against a possible wave of cyber crime. But given that the hryvnia, the Ukrainian currency, has already hit its all-time lows and may free-fall further, ATM limits might be an attempt to slow depreciation.
PrivatBank, one of the first major system banks of Ukraine, set a daily limit on money withdrawal at 3,000 hryvnias, which is about $ 335.6.
“Our bank is not the only one that is setting these limits. Officially, it is made because of a risk that a card could be compromized,” said PrivatBank’s hot-line operator.
UniCredit Bank said it limited the maximum level of cash available at its ATMs at 1,500 hryvnias in order to provide access to funds for all of its clients. Russia’s Sberbank said its clients have no limits on cash withdrawal. But the bank stopped its lending operations in Ukraine.
Cashless payment transactions are carried out without any restrictions.
Constraints on money withdrawal were implemented following a spike in demand for dollars and euros as people and businesses were trying to avoid risks of the hryvnia depreciation, which accelerated in late November. Then the people took to the streets of Ukraine’s capital to protest against an unexpected decision made by President Viktor Yanukovich to stop trade deal negotiation with Europe and instead seek financial aid from neighboring Russia.