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Visa cards debut in Bhutan

Publication Date : 21-08-2012


The Bank of Bhutan (BoB) launched yesterday domestic and international Visa credit card, offering a range of benefits to its users, for making transactions and payments, both in and outside the country.

It enables users to shop online, and also through the point of sales.

The credit card comes in three different versions – Visa international gold credit, Visa domestic gold credit and Visa domestic silver credit cards.

The gold international card is denominated in US dollars, and can be used around the world, except in India, Nepal and Bhutan. It provides credit up to US$ 3,000 a year, which is based on the central bank's foreign exchange regulation.

The silver and gold domestic cards can be used only in Bhutan, Nepal and India, and has a credit limit of 60,000 Bhutanese ngultrum ($1079.6) and 150,000 ngultrum. The spending limits from the card will be based on the central bank's prescription.

BoB's chairman Karma W. Penjor said the launch of the product would help in reducing the cost of printing currency notes and would also serve as a source of foreign exchange earnings, as it would make it easier for tourists to make payments and shop cashless.

The need to open such a banking product came after an executive order the bank received from the prime minister, bank officials said. Consequently, a task force was formed, comprising officials from the tourism council, finance ministry, Druk Holding and Investments and the Bank of Bhutan.

Bank officials said that, to be eligible to acquire the card, a person should have a minimum net take home salary of 5,000 ngultrum.

Penjor said that users should be cautious while using the card's facility. It requires the user to pay off the credit within a month, and late payments would result in a penalty of 2.5 per cent of the outstanding amount.

The bank has spent around 25 million ngultrum to acquire an international membership, and on the costs incurred for equipment and software.

US$1 = 55.5 Bhutanese ngultrum


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