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Banking Awareness

Banking Awareness

What are the benefits of using credit cards?

One of the reasons behind the widespread use of those cards on an international level is the special characteristics that these cards offer to the card holder, the vendor accepting the card, or the issuing bank. If it is maintained well and used when necessary in an elaborate way, it will offer many benefits to its holder, the most important of which are as follows:

  1. An easy instrument to use and keep.
  2. A secure instrument that spares the trouble of carrying cash money.
  3. You can use it daily to carry out any transaction.
  4. All executed transactions can be reviewed and checked through obtaining a monthly account statement.
  5. You can benefit from the grace period and repay after a period of 20-50 days from the execution date of the latest transaction.
  6. A useful financial instrument that helps in financial planning when used in a well deliberated way.
  7. Many shops and centers accept those cards (some of those cards are accepted by more than 25 million shops centers on an international level).

What are the risks of using credit cards?

Using a credit card in a careless way may lead to significant risks that affect the customer's credit record and his ability to repay and manage his financial liabilities. The most significant risks are as follows:

  1. It is an easy financial instrument that encourages consumption, if its use is not controlled.
  2. The possibility of being used by others, especially relatives (son, daughter, husband, or wife) if it is not safeguarded. The cards can be used to carry out transactions through the telephone.
  3. The possibility of it getting lost, stolen, and used by another person.
  4. Paying additional amounts as fees in case of default or repaying part of the amount.
  5. Increased commission and interest rates linked to the use of credit cards.
  6. It is considered one of the financial instruments that require ongoing monitoring, sound management, and compliance with repayment dates.

What does an applicant need to know when applying for a credit card?

Every person wishing to apply for a credit card has to make sure that he/she has an answer for the following questions:

  1. Why should I have a credit card?
  2. Have I understood the conditions and controls of the agreement for careful use and dealing therewith? For example, do I know the amount of the various fees, card interest rate in case of a delayed repayment, annual issuing fees, default fees, cash withdrawal fees, and fees for exceeding credit limit?
  3. Can I repay the total amount of purchases with the credit card every month? Or the minimum amount only?
  4. If I did repay the minimum amount, can I repay additional commissions on the existing balance?
  5. What is the bank's procedure towards me in case of default?

Where can I find the terms and conditions for my bank product or service?

provided to new consumers or at the request of existing consumers, through the channels available from the bank and in accordance with the consumer’s preference. They are also detailed either by way of a general terms and conditions booklet or by individual brochures. Consumers should be encouraged to read these terms and conditions before committing to a product or service.

The bank has changed the terms and conditions on my product/service. Are they allowed to do that?

A bank must communicate to the affected consumers any changes in terms and conditions at least 30 business days in advance of any such changes being implemented.

When I asked for a copy of the terms and conditions, the bank said they would send them later. Is this the correct procedure?

A copy of the terms and conditions should be provided to consumers at the appropriate time in order to enable the consumer make an informed decision on whether they wish to purchase the product or service.

What happens if I do not comply with the terms and conditions of a product or service?

Banks must include specific ‘warning statements’ in all terms and conditions, application forms, and advertisements, stating clearly the potential consequences for the consumer in not meeting the product or service conditions as agreed in the product or service application form.

What fees, charges, or commissions can a bank deduct from me?

A bank will only deduct the approved fees, charges, and commissions that are detailed in the schedule of fees, charges, and commissions.

When can I ask for a list of the fees, charges, and commissions?

A bank should provide consumers with a copy of the schedule of fees, charges, and commissions when they provide a product or service, when signing a contract or as requested by a consumer at any time.

Can the bank increase its fees and charges without informing me?

No, a bank must inform the affected consumers of any changes in fees and charges 30 business days in advance of any such changes being implemented.

I don’t understand how the bank calculates my fees. What can I do?

A bank should clarify to consumers the methodology for calculating fees, commissions, and the amount of profit earned by the bank for the products and services held by those consumers.

I applied for a credit card, but have now decided that I do not want it. Will I have to pay any fees and charges?

You can cancel your credit card without payment of a fee or charge to a card issuer within ten days after receipt of the card, provided that you have not used the card after receipt.

Do bank advertisements show the fees or charges for a product or service?

Where SAIB advertising refers to product or service that will incur a fee or charge, the advertisement or promotional material will for sure show the amount of all fees and commissions relating to the use of the service or product.

I find that bank documents have names and titles that I do not understand. How can I understand these?

A bank must ensure that an advertisement that contains any acronyms (for example APR) states clearly what the letters actually stand for.

I am regularly receiving SMS messages and emails from banks advertising different products and services, but I do not want to receive them. How can I stop the bank from sending these messages to me?

Consumers have the right to receive short messages (SMS) or promotional material for services and products provided by a bank, and the bank should obtain the prior approval of the consumer, whether in writing or electronically, according to the preferences of the consumer.

Some banks have refused to open an account for me. Do they have this right?

A bank should accept and fulfil all requests to open new accounts, where the consumer has completed all of the required documents and met the conditions required to complete the account opening process, with the exception of the cases provided for in the rules of opening and operating accounts issued by SAMA.

When I tried to open an account with a bank, they gave me an appointment for another day. But when I called on that day to open the account, they gave me another future appointment. Is this allowed?

A bank must not unreasonably delay the opening of a bank account for a consumer by engaging in delaying tactics.

My bank closed my account without informing me. What is the correct procedure?

A bank should inform consumers of a decision by the bank to close a consumer’s account 60 days in advance of the account being closed and the reasons for this. In cases of fraud or embezzlement by a consumer, a bank can immediately close or block an account without communicating with the consumer.

When I asked to open an account with a bank, they advised that I must make a minimum deposit to open the account.

A bank should not require a consumer to have a minimum deposit to open a personal bank account. However, a bank has the right to close an account if the account balance is zero for a period of 24 months days from the date that the account is opened.

Will the bank explain how I can operate my new bank account?

A bank must inform a prospect consumer of the consequences of opening and operating a bank account. This must include a formal process of ensuring that consumers are fully aware of the consequences of granting access to third parties to their bank accounts.

If I lose my mada Debit Card from The Saudi Investment Bank, where should I go to report the incident?

A bank will provide appropriate electronic channels and free-phone to assist consumers to easily report loss, theft, or misuse of their cards.

My credit card issuer recently increased my credit limit. Why?

A bank should not issue a credit card or increase a credit card limit, except upon the written request of the consumer, according to the regulations and circulars issued by SAMA relating to credit cards and mada Debit Cards from The Saudi Investment Bank.

What happens if someone steals my card and uses it? Will I be liable?

A consumer will be responsible for any transactions made on their credit card before they reported the loss of their card to the bank. The issuing bank is responsible for any fraudulent transactions (transfer of credit card information) without the knowledge of the card holder, whether made before or after the cardholder informs the bank, except in cases which the bank proves the cardholder’s responsibility for these transactions.

I received a telephone call from my bank asking me for personal details in order to update my account. Is this normal practice by banks?

A bank will never telephone, send text messages, or email a consumer for any details regarding their passwords, PINs, or any other account verification methods.

If I take out a loan with a bank, on what date will deductions be made for repayment instalments?

A bank will deduct the instalment on the date agreed upon with the consumer and in line with the date of deposit of the consumer’s salary account with the bank.

My bank agreed to accept a partial payment so that I can apply for a new loan. But my credit record has been affected and now I am unable to obtain approval.

A bank should give clear written information to consumers regarding the consequences that non-payment of their liabilities will have for their credit record in the information held by credit information companies. 

In the event that a consumer partly pays their indebtedness, banks should not issue a letter of ‘final clearance’. They should avoid using any such phrases or words in their communication with the consumer unless the consumer has fully paid off their liabilities, or unless the bank is agreeable to accept a partial payment in full and final settlement of all amounts due.

I want to send money to an overseas beneficiary through the bank, but cannot find details about how much this will cost.

A bank has the right to impose fees on consumers for the transfer of funds outside the Kingdom. These fees should be a fixed amount and not a percentage of the amount being transferred. Any beneficiary bank fees should be included, as well as any fees imposed by the correspondent bank. The consumer should be informed of the amount of all fees before confirming the transfer of funds.

How long does it take for the funds to arrive with the beneficiary?

Before completing the transfer of funds, a bank should advise consumers of the expected arrival time that the funds will be with the beneficiary and the fees or charges deducted and the net amount that will be paid to the beneficiary.

What happens if I send money overseas and it does not arrive in the beneficiary’s account?

A bank should advise a consumer within two business days of return of funds by a correspondent bank. The funds returned should be credited to the consumer’s account as soon as received from the correspondent. Where the consumer is not an account holder, the returned funds should be available in cash or by cashier’s cheque within two business days.

How do I know what hours the bank branches will be open? It seems to vary?

A bank will display the branch hours of business on a fixed notice at the main entrance to each branch and the branch will open and close in accordance with these advertised hours of business.

I have a poor reading ability; will this prevent me from opening a bank account?

A bank will not discriminate against consumers in any way, in the sale or usage of any banking product or service.

Where can I find out how to make a complaint? And what happens after I make it?

A bank should clearly display their complaints procedures in all of their branches and on their websites, as well as provide a hard copy to a consumer if requested.