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The Consumers Association of Penang reportedly has come out against a proposal from Bank Negara Malaysia, the country's central bank, to prohibit cardholders from enjoying a 20-day grace period from interest rates if those cardholders fail to pay back their card bills every month. The group could not be reached for comment on the report, which appeared in The Star newspaper in Malaysia. But the group reportedly says the rule would discourage consumers who cannot pay back their card bills from using credit cards. "It is ... not surprising that consumer groups would lobby for the 20-day, interest-free period to be retained," Sunil Devmurari, an Asia-Pacific analyst for United Kingdom-based research firm Euromonitor International, tells CardLine Global. "A significant proportion of cardholders are likely to need additional time to make full settlement of outstanding arrears." Devmurari says issuers likely will fight the rule if it causes "a significant reduction in transaction volumes or cards issued."

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