RBI issues new order on credit cards to give customers more choice

The RBI on Wednesday issued a directive barring credit card issuers (banks and non-banks) from entering into any arrangement or agreement with card networks such as American Express, MasterCard Asia, Diners Club and Rupay that restrain them from availing the services of other card networks.

The order also states that card issuers shall provide an option to their eligible customers to choose from multiple card networks at the time of issue. For existing cardholders, this option may be provided at the time of the next renewal. This direction shall be effective six months from the date of this circular, the RBI said.

Card issuers and card networks shall ensure adherence to the these requirements in existing agreements at the time of amendment or renewal thereof, and fresh agreements that are executed, the RBI said.

The RBI said that the step has been taken in public interest as a review showed that some arrangements existing between card networks and card issuers are not conducive to the availability of choice for customers.

The RBI also said that the order pertaining to providing multiple options to customers will not be applicable to credit card issuers with number of active cards issued by them being 10 lakh or less in number.

Also card issuers who issue credit cards on their own authorised card network are excluded from the applicability of the circular.

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