The Senate approved a bill that sought to uphold the rights of credit card holders from various types of harassment including excessive charges and abusive collection agents to name a few.
House Bill No. 5417 or the Philippine Credit Card Industry Regulation Law was approved on its third and final reading with senators voting 16 – 0 in favor of the proposed law, GMA News reported.
Senator Sergio Osmeña III who sponsored the bill said it will curb credit card harassment by giving the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas [BSP] authority to supervise industry transactions.
Osmeña who also chairs the Senate Committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies added that the conception of the bill was formed from complaints stemming from the said issues and others like hidden fees and unauthorized charges.
“There has been persistent clamor from the public for us legislators to take proactive action towards protecting the consumers from potential credit card excesses while nurturing the economic benefits from the same,” he said.
The bill also requires credit card issuers to create a customer service arm while providing confidentiality for their patrons.
Aside from this, the bill also pushes for the adjustment of due dates that fall on a weekend to be automatically moved to the following business day.
“The end game for the bill is to be a catalyst that would establish a national policy on responsible credit services by the card issuers, on the one hand, and responsible debt management for the card holders, on the other,” Osmeña said.
If passed into law, violators of the bill will face up to 10 years of jail time with fines ranging from P50,000 to P200,000.
The bill comes during a boom in the country’s credit card industry with BSP data showing current users at 8.2 million, approximately a 25.5 percent increase since 2009.