Since the early 1970s, credit card transactions in Guatemala
have been regulated by one article in the Commerce Code. This
has led to self-regulation in the credit card market. In 2013,
in an attempt to adequately regulate the market, three bills
were presented to Congress. However, since then, all three
bills have been locked away without much thought.
In November 2015, after almost three years, Congress
approved the Credit Card Act (Ley de Tarjetas de
Crédito). It did so through an expedited
process after Congress decided that approving the legislation
was a matter of national urgency. This much-debated legislation
came into effect in Guatemala on March 8 2016.
The Credit Card Act contains some game-changing provisions
which issuers, as well as certain political, financial, and
economic players in Guatemala, believe will have a negative
effect on the economy. Among other things, the new legislation
sets ceilings on interest rates and requires issuers to
restructure their debts mandatorily and under unfavourable
In addition, Congress did not seek feedback from the
Monetary Board, the entity responsible for Guatemala's credit
policy, when it was formulating the law. This has raised major
concerns regarding the impact the legislation will have on
national financial policy.
Since the Credit Card Act came into effect, 13 actions have
been filed in Guatemala's Constitutional Court requesting that
it be declared unconstitutional and, as such, expelled from the
country's legal system.
Although it is not yet known how the Constitutional Court
will rule, it is clear that this controversial law will
continue to generate unrest in Guatemala's economy and