KATHMANDU, 30 OCT 2014Â Â – Commercial banks issued 19,198 new credit cards during the period mid-August 2013 to mid-August 2014 bringing the total number of cards in circulation to 57,898, said Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB). The figure represents a 49.3 percent jump over the previous yearâ€™s total of 38,700 cards.
Credit cards can be issued only by commercial banks while development banks and finance companies are permitted to issue ATM and debit cards.
As of mid-August 2014, commercial banks had issued 3.69 million debit cards, an increase of 460,000 cards over the previous year. Similarly, development banks and finance companies have issued 465,640 and 23,642 debit cards respectively.
â€œA growing plastic culture has encouraged people to own credit cards in recent days,â€ said Diwakar Poudel, head of corporate affairs at Standard Chartered Bank Nepal.
He also cited safety concerns and portability for the significant growth in the use of credit cards.
Standard Chartered, Nabil Bank, Himalayan Bank and Nepal Investment Bank are the major players in the countryâ€™s credit card market. Poudel said that bankshad also been making it easier for their customers to obtain credit cards.
â€œWe offer a bundling facility under which customers receiving loans like home loans are automatically eligible to get a credit card,â€ he added.
Nepalâ€™s banks have been issuing credit cards with a minimum spending limit of Rs 15,000. Poudel said that banks issue credit cards based mainly on the income level. According to him, they have issued around 20,000 cards including credit cards so far.
Growing competition has prompted banks to adopt a flexible policy in the settlement of credit card debt. According to him, they have allowed their customers to settle only 5 percent of the dues within 10-15 days of the release of the statement by the bank.
Meanwhile, 1.72 million new deposit accounts were opened by A, B and C class financial institutions bringing the total to 13.12 million during the review period.
Likewise, 153 new ATM counters were added out of which 123 were of commercial banks, 27 of development banks and three of financial companies.