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Can I keep my conventional credit card for emergency or specific uses but pay all money owed within the stipulated deadline such that I don’t incur interests? What about the service fee that I remain paying for maintaining the card? If I understood correctly, paying service fee is fine as long as it is a flat charge, as this is a fee that is paid for the services rendered to me. But, some friends have said that it is not permissible. I do also have an Islamic card which is the main card I use. But the providing bank of the conventional card is much more recognised, efficient and most importantly reliable, hence my plan to keep it for specific or emergency uses especially since I travel quite a bit for work. Appreciate your advice.
There is no doubt that supporting conventional credit cards represents support for the conventional system. There is also no doubt that signing a contract that contains an interest clause (which is basic to a conventional lending contract) is forbidden.
Thus, we strongly encourage you to choose using Islamic credit card in any circumstances and avoid using conventional credit card as much as you can. If you are not able to use Islamic credit card, then use only cash, or do not use the conventional credit card at all.
However, considering your unique situation (regarding your work) and also considering that you are living in Malaysia (where there are options), we are of the view that you may keep your conventional credit card for emergency purposes only. However, this permission is granted up to the extent required for meeting the emergency.
In other words, the use of credit card is limited at that time only. Only you yourself know when exactly the emergency time is. If the emergency time is no longer exists, such as you are no longer required to travel for work, then you are encouraged to dispose the credit card.
In addition to the above, another condition for you to maintain the conventional credit card for emergency purposes is that, you have to make sure that the money owed is paid within the stipulated deadline to avoid interest. Therefore, the service fee that you have to pay may be forgiven.
Dr. Monzer Kahf has mentioned in one of his fatwa in 2003: “accepting credit cards and using them by any Muslims who have genuine need for them is permissible provided they know for sure that they are both keen and capable of making full payment during the grace period without incurring any interest.”
Allah knows best!