The idea of a cashless society is not new. A cashless monetary system not only eases the transactional processes but also helps to reduce the emergence of black money in the market. And one of the important stepping stones to this cashless transaction system is credit cards.
The concept of credit cards is not new in Bangladesh. ANZ Grindlays Bank (now Standard Chartered bank) first introduced credit cards to the masses in 1989. The bank was also the first to introduce Visa and Mastercard as well. Since then, every major bank and NBFI has introduced a credit card system.
A simple look in the first quarter of the 2020-21 fiscal years shows the steady growth of credit card adoption and usage. Even in the pandemic, banks have seen transaction levels to be almost similar to the pre-pandemic level. This goes a long way to show that more and more expenditure opportunities are opening up for the cardholders and people are becoming more and more inclined to use them.
However, it is not all smooth sailing. Credit cards are, after all, a loan system issued against your card and account and you will need to pay your debt that is your expenditure amount back. Failing to meet deadlines will land you in default and harm your creditworthiness and CBI value. Not to mention, the compounding interest on your expenditure.
But everything's aside, credit cards are still a good option to make your transactions easier. So, which credit card should you get? Let us take a deeper look into the individual offerings against the cards to see what facilities the clients are getting.
Top Credit Cards in Bangladesh
The City Bank Amex Card
City Bank is one of the few banks that offer Amex Cards to its clients. The Visa and Mastercard may be the most popular transaction routes but the Amex card also has its certain niche in Bangladesh for local and international transactions. The Regular APR stands at 27% and the grace period ranges up to 45 days. The renewal fee is slightly higher ranging from 1500 BDT to 25000 BDT depending on card facilities. There is a 5% outstanding fee applicable and there are no installment facilities available with this card.
Standard Chartered Bank Credit Card
As one of the oldest and an international bank in our country, the Standard Chartered bank is much reputed. The bank offers a range of credit cards depending on the creditworthiness of the client. This card varies in limits and other facilities. However, the standard regular APR is 26% across cards.
The grace period is 45 days as well and the maintenance and renewal fee ranges from 1500 BDT to 10000 BDT. Standard Chartered provides an installment facility which is a bonus. You can also get an additional supplementary card which is subject to charges.
BRAC Bank Credit Card
BRAC Bank is another pioneering bank in Bangladesh. The main idea behind BRAC bank was to increase the inclusiveness in the banking sector by making banking more accessible to the rural as well as economically drawn part of our society.
Over the years, the bank has expanded its horizon of service and has introduced several cards. The renewal fee for the cards varies from 1500 BDT to 25000 BDT. However, you can waive this fee by making at least 18 transactions a year. The APR stands at 27% and the grace period is 45 days. You also get installment facilities and the supplementary card with this one is free of charge.
Eastern Bank Credit Card
EBL was a pioneer of mobile banking in Bangladesh and to this day, they have the most robust infrastructure when it comes to mobile banking. They are also equally adept with their card services.
One of the more lucrative aspects of EBL cards has to be the privilege of using EBL SkyLounge while traveling abroad. That alone might incline a client towards EBL. You’re getting a standard APR rate of 27%, a grace period of 45 days, and installment facilities. You can also avail of their supplementary card subject to additional charges.
DBBL Credit Card
Bangladesh’s first joint venture bank DBBL has been the pillar of ATM service in our country. They have made banking more accessible through agent points and ATMs even in remote locations. Their credit cards also offer lucrative facilities making them one of the top credit issuers on the list.
The APR is significantly low at 15% and in addition to that, you get a 50-days grace period. Depending on cards, you will also get waivers on the renewal fee. However, there are no installment facilities but you do get a supplementary card for free.
So far we have discussed the leading credit cards in Bangladesh. It is clear that each bank has services that they are excelling in. Standard Chartered will provide you with a unified experience, DBBL will give you low APR and with EBL and City Amex you are getting a host of transactional benefits including lounge access.
However, the issuance of cards isn't the only factor that determines the performance of cards. In fact, it all comes down to personal preferences and your expectations from the bank itself. Of course, other financial institutions are working alongside to provide better services.
As long as people aren’t actively using the cards, the banks don’t stand to gain anything. In order to get the most out of your credit card facilities, you as a client need to decide what the purpose of your credit card is. The credit card landscape of our country is expanding at a rapid pace and if you’re willing and your means support, you should avail the services as well.