Banks Wage Credit Card Wars
KUALA LUMPUR 17 Nov. – Banks are waging a marketing war to attract customers after millions cut up their credit cards following the imposition of the RM50 government tax.
According to data from the Finance Ministry, as of Sept 30, there were 8.7 million credit cards, comprising 7.7 million principal cards and one million supplementary cards in circulation.
This represents a huge drop from the 10.8 million credit cards at the end of last year as many people had cancelled their cards after the Government imposed a tax of RM50 for a principal credit card and RM25 for a supplementary card this year.
To stop the slide, banks are offering more reward points and giving out cash.
Maybank offered a customer, who cancelled his credit card in June, 10,000 reward points to reactivate his card last month.
The 10,000 points were then used to offset the RM50 tax, he said.
Standard Chartered is offering a cashback scheme to successful applicants to their gold and platinum credit cards in a promotion that will run until Jan 31 next year.
Gold card holders would have RM88 credited into their account, while platinum card holders would get RM188 credited.
Citibank’s PremierMiles credit card members would get an extra 15% Enrich Miles points when they redeem their reward points for frequent flyer miles in a promotion until Dec 31.
Other banks have increased the amount of cash rebates, or devised a usage bonus scheme to offset the RM50.
Management consultant Lee Sue Yee, 30, said she only has supplementary cards as the government tax is lower.
“This saves me RM25 a card per year,” she said.
Accountant Ahmad Huzaimi Ghazi, 27, said he was not too perturbed by the RM50 tax.
“The RM50 is nothing compared to the high interest rates charged by the banks. I use a card because it is convenient,” said Ahmad Huzaimi.