Iran Issues Local Credit Cards for the First Time in Decades

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) —
A credit-card pay station at the green market in downtown Miami. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
(AP Photo/J Pat Carter, Illustrative)

Iranian banks have begun issuing credit cards for the first time in decades, local media reported on Monday.

The report by several newspapers, including the daily Donya-e-Eqtesad or World of Economy in Farsi, said the cards will be for domestic use only and do not involve any sort of partnership with a major international credit card company.

The cards are usable for purchasing products and services from Iranian online shops as well. The move is aimed at helping to boost Iran’s sanctions-damaged economy. The credit limits and fee percentages will be fixed by Iran’s Central Bank, although individual banks will be responsible for determining if a customer qualifies to receive a card.

Cards will come in three set credit limit amounts, with a top tier of 50 million rials, or about $14,000. Bills that are not paid within a month will be subject to 18 percent APR fees.

So far, Iranian banks have only issued debit and prepaid cards.

The move comes following last summer’s landmark nuclear deal that brought the lifting of international economic sanctions in return for capping Iran’s nuclear activities.

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