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New Measures on Credit Cards to Promote Prudent Financial Management and Responsible Business Practices

Ref No : 03/11/06 18 Mar 2011 Embargo : Not for publication or broadcast before 1200 hours on Friday 18 March 2011

Bank Negara Malaysia wishes to announce new measures on credit cards in continuous efforts to inculcate sound financial and debt management among credit card users. These measures are also aimed to promote fair and responsible business practices by credit card issuers with further enhancements in the cards security infrastructure.

With immediate effect, the eligibility requirements for credit cards are revised as follows:

  • The minimum income eligibility for new credit card holders is set at RM24,000 per annum;
  • For cardholders earning RM36,000 per annum and less, the following would be applicable:

    • Cardholders can only hold credit cards from a maximum of two issuers.

      • Existing cardholders who currently hold credit cards from more than two issuers are given up to the end of 2011 to select their preferred issuers. Cardholders will also be given at least two years to service their outstanding credit card debt for the credit cards that have been cancelled for the purpose of meeting this requirement.

    • The maximum credit limit extended to a cardholder shall not exceed two times their monthly income per issuer.

      • For existing cardholders, whose credit card outstanding balance exceeds the maximum credit limit, a grace period of two years will be given to them to meet with the new requirement.

Card issuers will engage with the affected cardholders to assist them in restructuring their repayments to facilitate the smooth implementation of this measure. In addition, cardholders can also seek the assistance of Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK) for advice on their debt management.

Responsible Business Practices in Provision of Credit Cards

Credit card issuers are required to adopt fair, transparent and responsible approach in marketing and offering of credit cards to consumers. Issuers are not allowed to increase cardholders' credit limit without obtaining their consent. Issuers are also not allowed to offer a credit advance in the form of cheque payable to the cardholders unless the cardholders have requested for the credit advance.

To facilitate consumers in making comparison and informed decisions, card issuers are required to provide a Product Disclosure Sheet that contains key information on the card's features, fees and obligations of the cardholders. Issuers are also required to display prominently alerts to communicate to cardholders the implications of meeting only minimum and partial repayments. At the end of each year, customised information on how long it will take to fully pay off the cardholder's outstanding balance and the total interest costs if the cardholder only makes minimum repayment will be issued to each cardholder. This will be effective for annual statements issued from December 2011.

Further Enhancements to Credit Card Infrastructure Security

In the effort to further enhance credit card security and to promote public confidence in the usage of credit cards as a safe payment instrument, effective 1 January 2012, transaction alerts via Short Messaging Service (SMS) will be implemented by card issuers for their cardholders after transactions are performed. This will be followed by the implementation of the Personal Identification Number (PIN) verification for all card transactions from 1 January 2015 onwards.

For further information on the new credit card guidelines, members of the public can contact ABM Connect at 1-300-88-9980, the contact centres of their respective card issuers and Bank Negara Malaysia's Telelink at 1-300-88-5465.

Bank Negara Malaysia
18 Mar 2011

© Bank Negara Malaysia, 2011. All rights reserved.