On 23-6-2023, the Reserve Bank of India (‘RBI’) imposed a penalty of Rs. 30 lakhs on Axis Bank Ltd. for non-compliance with Directions on ‘Prudential Norms on Income Recognition, Asset Classification and Provisioning pertaining to Advances – Credit Card Accounts’.
On 31-3-2023, statutory inspection for Supervision Evaluation was conducted by RBI. The inspection revealed that the bank had levied penal charges in certain accounts for late payment of credit card dues though the customers had paid the dues by the due date, through third party platforms.
Directions on ‘Prudential Norms on Income Recognition, Asset Classification and Provisioning pertaining to Advances – Credit Card Accounts’ provides that:
“In credit card accounts, the amount spent is billed to the card users through a monthly statement with a definite due date for repayment. Banks give an option to the card users to pay either the full amount or a fraction of it, i.e., minimum amount due, on the due date and roll-over the balance amount to the subsequent months’ billing cycle.
A credit card account will be treated as non-performing asset if the minimum amount due, as mentioned in the statement, is not paid fully within 90 days from the payment due date mentioned in the statement.
Banks shall report a credit card account as ‘past due’ to credit information companies (CICs) or levy penal charges, viz. late payment charges, etc., if any, only when a credit card account remains ‘past due’ for more than three days. The number of ‘days past due’ and late payment charges shall, however, be computed from the payment due date mentioned in the credit card statement.”
Hence, the RBI held that the charge of non-compliance with the aforesaid RBI directions was substantiated and warranted imposition of monetary penalty on the bank, to the extent of non-compliance with such directions.