How to obtain a credit card in Ghana
A credit card is a short-term financing option issued by a commercial bank to allow holders to borrow money at the automated teller machine (ATM) or pay for goods and services at a point of sale device. The limit one can borrow is predetermined by the issuing bank, after the credit worthiness of the applicant has been ascertained. Obtaining credit facilities is a major challenge to most people in Ghana due to a high rate of non-performing loans in the banking sector. Not until December last year (2016) (when Barclays Bank launched their credit card facility), credit card facilities were exclusive to high income earners; Ecobank launched the first ever credit card facility (Ecobank VISA Gold Card) in Ghana a decade ago, a service accessible to the rich people in the country.
Before you apply to any of the issuing banks, make sure you have a relationship with them; basically, an active bank account. Banks in Ghana do not have a common database to measure the credit score of clients so they do rely a lot on the relationship clients have established with them. If you have a history of paying back a loan and its accrued interests on time, that will boost your chances. An impressive credit turnover will also be key. If you do not have an account with them, they will require you to open one and run it for at least, six months. This will give them a fair idea of your earnings and cashflow. One other criteria banks look out for is employment. If you are self-employed, they may require some information about what you do and how you generate your income. If you are a salaried worker, the issuing bank may require your employer to sign an undertaking, promising to continually pay your salary through the bank.
Aside Ecobank Ghana and Barclays Bank Ghana, Stanbic Bank Ghana also issues credit cards. It must be reiterated that only the credit card offered by Barclays Bank caters for the needs of low and middle income earners. To be eligible, you must be a salaried worker who receives your remittances monthly through an account with the bank. Ecobank has two types of credit cards; Advantage Gold Credit Card and Premier Platinum Credit Card. These are cards you can apply for on an Advantage Current Account or a Premier Current Account. Just like Ecobank, the option Stanbic also offers is for high income earners. To know which card is ideal for you, know the specific requirements by each of the issuing banks and measure them with your level of income. You can conveniently walk to any of their branches, call their customer service centers or drop a query in GhanaCompares.com online portal. This will also help you to compare the benefits that each of the card provides.
Credit cards can enhance living conditions, as they provide a short-term financing option to have access to an amount with a flexible payback terms. For example, the credit card offered by Barclays Bank gives customers 55 days of free access to an approved amount, after which a 5% interest will be charged on the amount (an interest rate far below the industry’s average for credit facilities). Some credit cards come with discounts at partner shops and selected retail centers; when a Barclays Bank credit card holder uses his/her card to shop at Game, Orca Deco, Maxmart, Holiday Inn and other Barclays Bank alliance partners, up to 50% discount on all purchases is guaranteed. Unlike cash, when you lose your credit card, you have not lost your money; it can easily be blocked and replaced after you inform your issuing bank immediately. Credit cards can also be used to pay for goods and services worldwide.
It must be acknowledged that other banks will soon launch credit card products and this will increase access and usage, but compared to advanced countries, the use of credit card is at an infant stage in Ghana. We at GhanaCompares.com believe that a competition in the banking sector for credit cards is welcomed!