THE Monetary Board has decided to maintain the credit card ceilings on credit card transactions.

The maximum interest rate or finance charge on unpaid outstanding credit card balance of a cardholder remains at two percent per month or 24 percent per year.

Similarly, the monthly add-on rate that credit card issuers can charge on installment loans is retained at a maximum rate of one percent. Meanwhile, the maximum processing fee on the availment of credit card cash advances stays at P200 per transaction.

“The decision of the Monetary Board is based on a holistic assessment considering the developments in the macroeconomy, the state of credit card financing as well as the safety and soundness of banks and other credit card issuers. It will also continue to help ease the financial burden of consumers through affordable credit card pricing,” said BSP Gov. Benjamin Diokno.

The retention of the existing ceiling is in line with the current low-interest rate environment. In its latest policy meeting, the Monetary Board maintained the overnight reverse repurchase facility at two percent, the lowest policy rate since the beginning of the pandemic.

Credit card transactions

Data show that credit card business activity improved in 2021 as demonstrated by the growth in monthly card applications, card billings and issued cards buoyed by an uptick in economic activity.

The number of monthly card applications significantly rose by 175.1 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) in June 2021 to around 646,000 applications from 235,000 applications in June 2020. Monthly card billings also grew by 29.5 percent y-o-y in June 2021 to P73 billion from P56.3 billion a year ago.

Meanwhile, the number of credit cards that were issued and outstanding or credit cards-in-force increased 8.7 percent y-o-y to 10.2 million cards from 9.4 million over the same period.

Credit card receivables posted consecutive monthly contractions in the first semester of 2021, albeit at a decelerating trend. Notwithstanding this, the asset quality of credit card receivables improved during the same period. This was accompanied by a non-performing loan coverage ratio, which has been consistently above 100 percent since February 2021, at 108.2 percent as of end-June 2021.

In addition to demonstrating prudent lending standards, banks and other credit card issuers were able to post net income on their credit card business during the same period from increased credit card usage, albeit below pre-pandemic levels.

Moving forward, banks and credit card issuers intend to offer more competitive credit card products, improve customer experience and reduce operating costs through digital transformation and process improvement. (PR)