Although there have been various efforts encouraging Malaysia to move to a cashless society, it hasn’t been exactly beneficial for us to do so. For example, if you use your credit card while buying flight tickets, sometimes you will have to pay an extra credit card surcharge, which seems rather unnecessary. Not only that, sometimes you find that you get charged extra while using your credit or debit card when shopping in malls, which just seems discouraging. Trying to be environmental friendly leh!
However, these charges are actually beneficial for us, the Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Othman Aziz said. According to The Star, Othman said that these charges are good because currently, it helps to discourage shoppers from spending too much. Really?
Following a question from Datuk Seri Hasan Malek (BN – Kuala Pilah) in Parliament on March 13, he answered that these additional charges will not be abolished. Othman explained, “Abolishing these charges like the United Kingdom may not necessarily benefit the Malaysian economy. Instead, it could encourage excessive spending and a general lack of discipline among credit card holders.”
Starting from January 2018, the UK government had ruled that all extra charges for using a credit or debit card to pay for goods and services online and offline has been banned, the Guardian reported. Shoppers rejoiced at this news but retailers stand to lose a sizable chunk of their revenue.
Currently, Othman said that as of December 2017, there were already 9.9 million credit cards circulated in Malaysia and 8.8 million of them were being held by 3.7 million individuals. That’s a lot of cards! More cards means more credit card debts if not handled wisely but Othman said Bank Negara has been doing their part to protect cardholders since 2006.
“The Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) has helped 158,116 credit card holders settle their debts totalling RM6.5 billion via its debt management programme (DMP) as at end January 2018. For those at risk of bankruptcy, they can also consider voluntary arrangements to settle debts through the services of AKPK as a nominee,” he added.
Guess we’ll just have to continue paying those extra charges then, since it’s good for us!
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