Venezuela’s cash shortage spurs digital payments

Global Business

Venezuela’s deteriorating economic crisis has prompted a cash shortfall.

People are struggling to access their assets, as lines grow long outside banks.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas reports from Caracas.

Venezuela’s cash situation has been getting progressively worse for months, leaving banks frustrated, and their customers increasingly anxious.

Venezuelans complain the amount of cash made available on a daily basis, by both public and private banks, is not enough to buy food-or pay for a taxi or parking.

Venezuelans are allowed to withdraw a daily maximum of between 10,000 and 20,000 bolivars at ATMS, equivalent to between $3 and $6. Depending on the financial institution, the amount available can vary, but many citizens face hours of waiting, only to come away empty-handed; some to resort to bartering.

While digital payments can often alleviate cash shortfalls, Venezuelan cities lack the online infrastructure to make cashless payments a viable option. The scarcity of bank notes isn’t just hurting Venezuelan shoppers, but businesses struggling to sell products for which they won’t receive cash.

The IMF said Venezuela’s rate of inflation could top 2,300 percent in 20-18. The last time the Central Bank of Venezuela published inflation figures, in 2015, it reported the rate at more than 180 percent.

The Venezuelan government blamed the cash shortfalls on criminal gangs operating across the border with Colombia-insisting they’re intent on undermining President Nicolas Maduro.

The President also accused the U.S. of trying to derail his government by making Venezuelans suffer through economic sanctions imposed recently. As inflation continues to skyrocket, and the cash shortage gets worse, the chances of an immediate quick-fix seem more remote than ever.