Campaign to educate card users

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Cards Group (NCG), in collaboration with the Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM), has launched an educational campaign themed Swipe Smart with 6E in response to recent news over credit card usage and the consequences of credit card debt.

The campaign, the maiden effort by the NCG, started yesterday and will continue till the end of the year. It aims to educate credit card holders via six enablers: educate yourself, exercise caution, enhance your lifestyle, enjoy benefits, eliminate debt and engage your card issuer.

The NCG will feature six advertorials beginning Nov 1 in six national daily newspapers over a period of six weeks, while NCG members, of which there are 20, will make those advertorials available on their websites and hand out campaign leaflets at selected on-ground events.

The campaign’s objectives, aimed at the 3.5 million credit card holders who hold an estimated 9 million cards, are to inculcate the smart and responsible use and management of credit among cardholders as well as to encourage an overall positive view of credit cards by highlighting the benefits of effective use.

NCG chairman Vince Au Yoong said although credit card debt as a percentage of household debt was lower compared with the 1990s, there was a need for the campaign due to the lack of understanding and awareness on the function and use of credit cards.

“Credit card debt, at 6.3% of total household debt, is currently a small part of total household debt while credit card non-performing loans, at 1.8% of commercial banks’ debt, have been coming down,” Au Yoong told a press briefing yesterday.

He added that while there were concerns when credit card holders spent beyond their ability to repay debt, education on how to responsibly use the cards and manage their finances remained the NCG’s main priority and focus.

Besides this, Au Yoong said average approval rates for credit cards stood at about 40% as cards were given out to individuals who had proven their credit-worthiness.

Meanwhile, ABM executive director Chuah Mei Lin said credit card usage must be viewed holistically as it was also in line with the paperless payment trend.

She said as far as the industry was concerned, credit cards were useful tools for payment when they were used and managed properly.

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