Turkish Parliament approves laws on credit cards

Türkiye Materials 9 November 2013 09:34 (UTC +04:00)
Turkish Parliament approves laws on credit cards
Turkish Parliament approves laws on credit cards

The government solidified a much-anticipated step in its fight against high banking commission and fees with the approval of a consumer protection law that will bring tighter measures in the whole consumer market Hurriyetdailynews reported.

The Consumer Protection Law, which took approximately three years to complete, has been finally accepted in the Parliament General Assembly on the night of Nov. 7.

Intended to establish more a centralized decision-making process on banks' no-interest incomes, which has been slammed for being "too high and unfair" by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the new law authorizes Turkey's banking watching dog, BDDK, to determine product and service fees.

The new regulation also forces banks to offer at least one fee-free credit card for their customers.

The banks' credit card fees have been arousing harsh complaints from consumers who say these fees are illegal and the Customs and Trade Ministry has been working on a scheme to sooth public objections.

Making a free-paid credit card within their card portfolio obligatory for banks has been aimed to that end. When consumers open accounts with a credit contract and use it only for credit-related operations, no commission will be demanded from that customer.

Some changes have been made after the draft sent to the General Assembly as well.

No fine during early payment

With a last-minute decision, the panel removed a regulation that foresaw the consumer to pay a fine in the case of a consumer's early payment of credit debt. The payment conditions in housing credits have been eased as well.

The legislation also removes a previous obligation to take out a policy for consumer and housing credits, leaving the consumer to decide. Another anticipated regulation to be introduced with the new legislation concerns the contractor companies' house sales.

The law requires construction firms to take out policies before pre-paid house sales, aiming to prevent possible fraud cases, which has increasingly become a common problem, causing people to lose confidence in contractors. Insurance companies will also be able to reject insurance demands after reviewing project financing and the contractor's reputation. In that case, the firm will seek assurance to complete its building projects through a letter of guarantee.