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Banks push for credit-card use

With signs that the prolonged political stalemate may be easing, commercial banks are competing to stimulate credit-card spending with nationwide promotional campaigns.

Araya Pupanich, Siam Commercial Bank's first executive vice president responsible for credit cards and personal loans, said most banks were trying to boost credit-card spending. SCB will continue to focus on spending for essential items, rather than luxury goods.

Zero-interest privileges will be available for several months of instalments for some items. Holders of SCB credit cards will also be entitled to 50-per-cent discounts at selected restaurants next weekend, especially at Siam Paragon and CentralWorld, which were affected by the anti-government protests for a few months.

Banks say credit-card spending has fallen a bit more than they predicted in the past two months. They now expect spending to grow to Bt220 billion this year, up by 10 per cent compared with the previous projection of 16-17 per cent.

Meanwhile, banks will curb personal loans despite strong demand from clients. The number of approvals for personal loans is less than 20 per cent compared with the previous approval rate of 20-30 per cent.

Thakorn Piyapan, managing director of Ayudhya Capital Service Co (Krungsri Consumer), said the anti-government protests had dampened credit-card spending, especially in Bangkok. However, consumer-goods financing (instalment loans) are still going strong, especially with the popularity of smartphones, digital televisions and beauty enhancements.

Krungsri Consumer and more than 120 participating retail stores, restaurants and other businesses are organising the "Krungsri Consumer Expo". The company will hold this promotional event in five major provinces in all regions of Thailand, beginning in the South at Central Festival Hat Yai in the middle of this month.


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