Saudi Arabia's central bank has tightened restrictions on cash withdrawals from banks using credit cards in an effort to head off any consumer debt problems.
Previously, under an informal industry arrangement customers could obtain cash advances equivalent to as much as 50 percent of their monthly credit card spending limits, paying hefty fees to do so, bankers said.
From last Thursday, an official ceiling of 30 percent has been imposed, according to regulations posted on the central bank's website, which said the rules aimed to protect cardholders and introduce international best practice.
The Saudi central bank has a reputation as a conservative and cautious regulator. Last year it published new consumer lending rules which gave it the power to cap retail lending at individual banks and limit fees that banks can charge.
Consumer lending, including credit card use, climbed 8.8 percent to 322 billion riyals ($85.9 billion) in 2014, according to the central bank.For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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