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RBI revises guidelines for issuance of Credit Cards to customers

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New Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) revised its guidelines for the issuance of credit cards on Wednesday and asked the card issuers not to enter into any agreements with any card networks that restrain them from availing services of other card networks.

The RBI’s action comes after it observed that some arrangements existing between card networks and card issuers are not conducive to the availability of choice for customers, the Central Bank said in a circular to all card issuers.

“Card issuers shall not enter into any arrangement or agreement with card networks that restrains them from availing the services of other card networks,” the RBI said, adding 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.

The authorized card networks are American Express Banking Corp., Diners Club International Ltd., MasterCard Asia/ Pacific Pte. Ltd., National Payments Corporation of India–Rupay, and Visa Worldwide Pte. Limited.

Card issuers and card networks shall ensure adherence to the above requirements in i) existing agreements at the time of amendment or renewal thereof, and ii) fresh agreements executed.

The directions shall not be applicable to credit card issuers with number of active cards issued by them is 10 lakh or less, the Central Bank said, adding that card issuers who issue credit cards on their own authorized card network are excluded from the applicability of the circular.

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

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