The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has tightened norms for credit and debit cards used for business accounts. The banking regulator has told business card issuers to put in place an effective mechanism to monitor the end use of funds.

The central bank says that card issuers shall not share card data (including transaction data) of the cardholders with the outsourcing partners unless sharing of such data is essential to discharge the functions assigned to the latter. “In case of sharing of any data as stated above, explicit consent from the cardholder shall be obtained. It shall also be ensured that the storage and the ownership of card data remains with the card-issuer,” the RBI says.

The amendments, which have come into effect, were "necessary and expedient in the public interest", the banking regulator says.

The RBI says that card issuers should inform customers of the implications of paying only ‘the minimum amount due’. “A legend/warning to the effect that “Making only the minimum payment every month would result in the repayment stretching over months/years with consequential compounded interest payment on your outstanding balance" shall be prominently displayed in all the billing statements to caution the cardholders about the pitfalls in paying only the minimum amount due.

This comes a day after the central bank issued directions to banks for giving options to customers to choose from multiple card networks. The directions will come into effect beginning September 6, 2024.

The directions do not apply to card issuers who issue credit cards on their own authorised card networks. The directions do not apply to credit card issuers with the number of active cards issued by them being 10 lakh or less in number.

“The authorised card networks tie up with banks / non-banks for issuance of credit cards. The choice of network for a card issued to a customer is decided by the card issuer (bank / non-bank) and is linked to the arrangements that the card issuers have with card networks in terms of their bilateral agreements,” the RBI had said.

The decision has been taken after the banking regulator observed that some arrangements “existing between card networks and card issuers are not conducive to the availability of choice for customers.” The directions apply to authorised card networks such as American Express Banking Corp, Diners Club International Ltd, MasterCard Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, National Payments Corporation of India-Rupay, and Visa Worldwide Pte Limited.

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