Several objectives to balance in setting credit-card eligibility

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has set the minimum annual income requirements for credit cards at $30,000 for individuals below 55 years old ("Review minimum salary requirement for credit cards" by Mr Vincent Ong Kok Lam; last Thursday).

In setting the eligibility at this level of income, the MAS has to balance several objectives.

The aim is to provide eligible individuals with a convenient mode of payment and access to short-term credit when they need it, while encouraging prudent borrowing and lending practices.

To minimise the risk of card holders borrowing beyond their means, the maximum amount of credit that each financial institution can extend to a borrower is capped at four times his monthly income.

This limit applies regardless of the number of credit cards a borrower has with the same financial institution.

Further, there is an industrywide borrowing limit on the amount of unsecured credit that all financial institutions can provide to the same borrower.

The limit will be progressively tightened to 12 times the card holder's monthly income by June 2019.

In addition, financial institutions are required to conduct fresh credit bureau and income checks on borrowers, when they receive applications for new unsecured credit facilities or credit limit increases.

They must also conduct such checks where there are signs of potential debt problems.

These checks will help financial institutions to decide whether to extend credit to the borrower, or make adjustments to any existing credit granted.

Bey Mui Leng (Ms)

Director (Corporate Communications)

Monetary Authority of Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2016, with the headline 'Several objectives to balance in setting credit-card eligibility'. Print Edition | Subscribe