On March 1, 2024, Decree 2-2024, “Credit Card Law,” was published in the Official Gazette of Guatemala. This new law will come into effect six (6) months after its publication in the Official Gazette, except for those articles that became effective on publication day.

Among its most relevant provisions are the following:

  • Savings and credit cooperatives may act as issuers and co-issuers of credit cards, enabling more than just banks in the system to be providers of this service.
  • The credit card agreement must contain clear terms such as interest rates, calculation methods, and rights and obligations of the parties, among others.
  • If, during the term of the financing, the issuer identifies that the cardholder cannot pay or disagrees with an interest rate modification, it must inform that the cardholder can request a payment agreement.
  • The Superintendency of Banks, credit card issuers, and the Directorate of Consumer Services (DIACO) are required to publish, on their websites, a report regarding the interest rates managed by credit card issuers.
  • Issuers are required to finance and provide cardholders with financial education programs based on the programs and criteria established by DIACO.
  • Issuers may not capitalize interest on amounts due. In case of the existence of a payment agreement, interest may become part of the principal of the new debt.
  • Issuers may not offset accounts, except in those cases where there is an express authorization from the cardholder or by court order.
  • Issuers’ affiliates are prohibited from charging a surcharge for accepting credit card payments at their establishments.
  • The issuer is prohibited from harassing or hounding, in an insistent and repetitive manner, during the collection of a debt arising from a credit card contract. The following are considered acts of harassment: (i) requests for payment through any method of communication on non-business days and hours; (ii) making more than two communications during the same day; (iii) communication to persons other than the cardholder, requesting payment, and (iv) posting notices relating to the debt in areas close to the cardholder’s residence or work.
  • Articles are added to the Consumer Protection Law for those cases in which the provisions contained in Decree 02-2024 are violated.
  • Four new crimes are added to the Guatemalan Criminal Code, relating to cloning, illegal use, illegal distribution and commercialization, and fraudulent use of credit cards.
  • The law creates the Financial Services Protection unit within DIACO’s Verification and Surveillance Department in charge of ensuring respect for and compliance with cardholder rights and issuer obligations.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected].