Las compañías de crédito estadounidenses rompen nuevos terrenos en Malasia

Malasia es uno de los países más endeudados de Asia, pero sólo una pequeña parte de los ciudadanos del país tiene acceso al crédito. TransUnion, Experian y Fair Isaac Corp. (también conocido como FICO) se están asociando con la Agencia de informes crediticios de Malasia para encontrar un nuevo sistema de puntuación que le dará a una porción mucho mayor de la gente del país acceso al crédito.

La brecha crediticia de Malasia

Malaysia’s levels of borrowing are high for Asia; household debt is equal to just under 87% of the country’s GDP. But, this credit is only spread among a very small portion of the population.

In the World Bank’s June rankings for ease of credit, Malaysia ranked 23. The U.S. ranked 2; China ranked 71. About 11% of Malaysians took a loan last year; around 12% have credit cards. By contrast, 20% of Americans have an installment loan of some kind, and around 62% have credit cards. At least one major bank has raised the minimum income requirements for getting a loan or credit card, making it even more difficult for many people in Malaysia to qualify for credit.

Un enfoque estandarizado

As things stand now in Malaysia, many banks use their own internal programs for credit scoring. But, the models used don’t offer a lot of versatility. “Whether you pay your bills on time or not, the interest rate is pretty much the same,” said Dawn Lai, who is the general manager of credit-reporting agency Ram Credit Information.

Ms. Lai’s agency is partnering with Experian to provide a standardized credit-scoring model that can be used by financial institutions throughout the country. Under the new system, people who are higher risk will be able to take out loans but will be granted lower credit limits or higher interest rates. By better calculating risk, banks can more comfortably loan to larger portions of the population.

FICO is also developing a scoring model to be used in Malaysia. The scores will range from 300 to 850, as they do in the U.S. system. Higher scores are better. The scoring will take into account the length of a borrower’s historial crediticio y si el prestatario ha demostrado la capacidad de pagar las facturas a tiempo.

Crédito en Malasia

Another factor affects the way that many people in Malaysia use credit. The population of Malaysia is 61.3% Muslim. Followers of Islam are not permitted to collect or pay interest under Shariah law. This is both because of the risks of usury and the risk that come in the form of variable interest rates. Many people who are Muslim avoid credit cards, opting instead for debit cards or cash. However, credit cards offer a degree of flexibility that many people desire.

Banks that wish to reach this audience use alternatives to interest when extending credit. In some cases, the bank will offer a line of credit and charge a monthly or annual usage fee that is tied to the amount of money that is owed. In others, customers can use their credit cards to buy items. When the transaction goes through, the bank will instantly purchase the item and then resell it to the cardholder at a higher price that is paid when the credit card bill is due. Some Sharia-compliant tarjetas de crédito work in a lease-purchase situation; the customer is technically renting to own items bought on the card until the balance is paid off.

However, not all credit cards offered in Malaysia are bound by these requirements. Sites that rate Malaysian credit cards also list reward cards, cash-back cards, low interest cards and cards for new borrowers who have little credit history. There are no limits to the number of cards a person in Malaysia can hold. There is a limit of two card issuers per person.

Abriendo nuevas posibilidades

Las tarjetas de crédito facilitan la compra de las personas, pero ese no es el límite de sus ventajas. Las personas que utilizan tarjetas de crédito tienen mejores protecciones contra el fraude que las personas que se apegan sólo a las tarjetas de débito. Al alquilar un coche o un hotel, el depósito no tiene que ser pagado en efectivo. Y, muchas tarjetas, incluyendo las que se ofrecen en Malasia, ofrecen ventajas tales como reembolso de efectivo, millas de avión, descuentos y otros servicios. Al hacerlo para que más personas en el país puedan pedir prestado, si así lo desean, las nuevas asociaciones de calificación crediticia brindan a las personas más flexibilidad y mejores oportunidades. A los ojos de muchos comentaristas, esto no es sólo bueno para las personas, sino que también aumentará las oportunidades financieras y ampliará la economía malaya en su conjunto.