Competition for international credit cards heats up

14:31 | 19/04/2011

Several banks are competing to issue more international credit cards after a new government decision lowered the volume of foreign currency permitted to be taken out of the country without declaration.

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The State Bank of Vietnam lowered from $7,000 to $5,000 the amount of foreign currency that could be taken out of the country without declaration by an individual or in baggage, under a request from Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

The central bank's move has the effect of encouraging people to use international payment cards.

To take the advantage of this opportunity, many banks are promoting the use of payment cards and issuing many kinds of credit cards to satisfy their cardholders, according to independent market watchdogs.

The Hong Kong – Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) also has a plan to attract customers to sign up for credit cards.

The bank is implementing a Home&Away privilege programme which offers all HSBC credit cardholders privileges at over 19,000 outlets in more than 160 countries and territories.

In addition, the Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) is carrying out a big promotion under which the holders of Vietcombank American Express cards will benefit, depending on their credit-card turnover.

At the Dong A Commercial Joint Stock Bank, those who go abroad can pay a security deposit in dong to have short-term credit cards.

The terms of this kind of card is three months maximum, and cardholders can have a maximum credit limit of VND140 million (nearly $6,700).

Vietnam's payment card market is relatively small but it is one of the most dynamic markets in the world, analysts said in the "Vietnam Plastic Card Market Forecast to 2013" report.

The report says that the Vietnamese payment card market will grow about 18.5 per cent between now and 2014.

The local payment card market, which includes both credit cards and debit cards, has been rapidly growing in the past few years, fuelled by rise in the young population, technological development, emerging trends in e-commerce and government policies on limiting the use of cash.

The total number of cards issued in Vietnam has nearly doubled during the 2008-10 period.

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