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Advent of credit card

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Picture this scenario; a Small Medium Enterprise (SME) businessperson has to travel to South Africa at short notice to close a business deal. He can get a stand by ticket at the check-in counter but has to apply for forex at his bank. But any delay with his trip is making his—once in a lifetime deal—slip through his fingers. He stands there mouth agape and arms akimbo thinking of the mishap. He wishes he had a card which is accepted internationally because all he needed to do was to get himself to the airport and fly to do his business destination in South Africa.

Well, the good news is that now this businessperson and any other individual can just get an air ticket and fly out to do their business without worrying about forex since they will be carrying it in their credit cards, courtesy of National Bank of Malawi (NBM), a subsidiary of conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL). NBM has just launched its Credit Card which has more financial answers to various individuals and companies in the country. The visa branded credit cards are accepted worldwide. The stranded businessperson now would stop scratching his head to find a way out to South Africa to conclude his business deal because of lack of forex as the credit card allows individuals to access up to US$5,000 and for companies US$10,000 as approved by the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM). “What it means is that one can just go to the airport and fly out and do his or her transactions outside the country up to such limits as pre-approved on his or her credit card. You do not have to wait for forex,” William Kaunda, NBM Head of Cards and e-Banking explains. “In fact, this is one of the coolest ways of transacting because you do not need to have the actual cash in your account to access the forex, like you would do if you want the forex in cash or in your cash passport. With the NBM credit card, you just get up and go,” Kaunda says. For those who love travelling and dinning either within or outside the country, the card is also just the answer, no need to carry huge sums of money around; your credit card can get you everything you want.

The card has been segmented into five categories to suit various individuals and companies with different spending power. The NBM Classic Card can be used by individuals who do not have a huge appetite for spending and this can be used for travelling, shopping or dinning and are accepted at millions of locations around the world while the NBM Gold Credit Card is for those with a bit of higher spending appetite and enjoy finer side of life. This has a high spending line, a revolving line of credit, emergency card replacement and cash disbursement services. The NBM Platinum Credit Card allows the card holder to enjoy a host of attractive lifestyle privileges and experiences like access to some exclusive places around the world just by showing your NBM Visa Platinum Credit Card. The NBM Business Credit Card is specifically designed to meet the needs of small businesses and it is an easy way to separate company and personal expenses, manage business and travel spending and simplify book keeping. Kaunda says this type of credit card is a solution for small businesses, entrepreneurs, independent contractors and sole proprietors. Businesses that want a convenient and easy-to-use payment method for paying goods and services, then this is the type credit card they should apply for. The NBM Corporate Credit Card is a solution for medium, large and multinational corporations looking to save time and money by simplifying their travel and entertainment expense process. “A company can decide to send its employees to work out of their duty stations, instead of applying for travel, hotel or food allowances, the company can just issue them with this type of credit card and they can be on their way,” Kaunda explains. NBM Credit Card holders will now be able to purchase various goods and services online, just like anyone doing it in developed countries like the US and Britain. “Our NBM Visa Credit cards are accepted worldwide on Visa branded points,” Kaunda emphasizes. The design of the cards is also such that one does not need to always hand the card out for a transaction. Simply by touching the card on a Visa Pay Wave device will be enough to fulfil your transaction.

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NBM credit cards will be available to those that are credit worthy. This means that an assessment will be done on all applications to ascertain credit worthiness of the applicant. The recent passing by Parliament of the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) Act will help banks scrutinize individuals and companies who can have access to the credit cards. But how does the credit card work? “A Credit Card operates on an approved limit which is not attached to any of the customers’ accounts.

This, therefore, means that the customer is not required to have the funds in the account during the use of the card.” “Sufficient funds are, however, expected to be in the account to cover the minimum repayment as agreed with the bank on the settlement date,” Kaunda answers. NBM Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mac Fussy Kawawa, says customers will ‘borrow for free’ and they would enjoy interest free credit for a period, when they use the credit card. “The customer will be able to enjoy up to 45 days interest free period on all purchases. The cycle is 30 days starting on the 16th for personal cardholders and 1st for Business and Corporate cardholders. If no repayment is made during the interest free period then interest will be calculated from the date of purchase,” Kawawa says. Kawawa promises that NBM, being the market leader, will not stop being innovative by bringing on the table robust and efficient payment systems for the nation. “As a leading Malawian bank, we carry tremendous responsibilities on our shoulders and we do so happily.

One such responsibility is to lead and help to create a vision of a robust and efficient payment system for the nation. We are, therefore, constantly in search of opportunities for the creation of that vision and demonstration of our leadership role. “This moment (launch of NBM Credit Card) is a catalyst for redefining the financial landscape here in Malawi. It is a demonstration that National Bank is proactively innovating in response to emerging customer needs,” Kawawa assures.

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