A letter purportedly from Maybank is being widely shared on social media, relating to a new regulation by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) on the do’s and don’ts of using Islamic credit cards.
In the letter sent in July last year, Maybank said that those who hold its Maybank Islamic Visa Infinite Ikhwan Credit Card-i would not be able to use it on non-Shariah compliant merchant categories:
· Package stores (beer, wine and liquor)
· Funeral services and crematories
· Cigar stores and stands
· Dating services
· Government-owned lotteries (US region only)
· Government Licensed Online Casinos (online gambling) (US region only)
· Government Licensed Horse/Dog Racing (US Region only)
· Betting including lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, off-track betting and wagers at race tracks
· Government-owned lotteries (non-US region)
The letter was signed by Maybank’s Group Community Financial Services (Head of Cards Malaysia) executive vice-president Md Gharif Talib.
“Should you require to spend at the above merchant categories, you may opt for the conventional Maybank Visa Infinity Card,” he said.
In a related development, a Maybank spokesperson claimed that the letter was circulated by a card holder who was upset for not being able to use the Islamic credit card to purchase alcoholic beverage at an airport, reiterating that the customer was already informed of the rule beforehand.
“We do wish to clarify, however, that such restrictions on non-Shariah compliant transactions do not apply to other conventional (i.e. non-Islamic) Maybank credit cards,” the Maybank spokesperson pointed out.
“The card holder mentioned had been clearly informed of the availability of this alternative in our notification letter regarding such restrictions.”
Should Islamic credit cards be made available to non-Muslims? If you do, you have the above problem. The credit card is halal but the transaction and person are not. Why do we stop at credit cards?
Frankly, the point-of-sale terminals need to be segregated as halal or non-halal terminals. Then the “poor” terminals will not be confused and cause havoc on an Islamic software package developed by a kosher Jew! There are other issues as well. We need to segregate Islamic electrical vehicles (EVs) or un-Islamic EVs or SUVs and how about the vaccines, especially from China? The important point is what matters - our outward appearance or our hearts?
And let us go back to the credit card, surely it is best non-Muslims don’t hold Islamic credit cards and the Bank must inform any applicant (a non-Muslim) accordingly.
My apologies for being carried away! Sense and sensibility must prevail! Have a great weekend and check your credit card before use!
Bank Negara guideline on Islamic credit card: a new hurdle for banks? G. Vinod, Focus Malaysia, 25 Jan 2021