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Decoding Mauritius Credit Cards: Understanding a Unique Financial Model

The Truth Behind Mauritius Credit Cards: A Misnomer in the World of Credit


In the global landscape of financial services, credit cards serve as indispensable tools, offering individuals a line of credit based on their financial standing. However, in Mauritius, the concept of a "credit card" diverges from the conventional understanding. This article delves into the intricacies of Mauritius credit cards, shedding light on their unique functioning and challenging the conventional perception of credit.

Close up image of several credit cards
Mauritius Credit Cards

Mauritius Credit Card: A Misunderstood Concept

In most parts of the world, a credit card acts as a financial instrument that extends credit to cardholders, allowing them to make purchases up to a specified limit. This credit is typically repaid on a monthly basis, with interest accruing on any outstanding balance. However, in Mauritius, the term "credit card" is somewhat misleading, as it operates more akin to a prepaid card with a twist.

Understanding the Mauritian Credit Card Model

Unlike traditional credit cards, where the issuer extends credit to the cardholder, Mauritius credit cards require individuals to deposit a sum of money with the bank or financial institution issuing the card. This deposit, typically exceeding the desired credit limit, serves as collateral and is held by the issuer as security against any outstanding balances.

For instance, if an individual wishes to obtain a credit card with a $5000 limit, they would be required to deposit an amount greater than $5000, say $5500, with the issuing bank. This deposit effectively acts as a prepaid balance, from which the cardholder can make purchases up to the specified limit.

Monthly Repayment and Replenishment

At the end of each billing cycle, the cardholder is obligated to clear the outstanding balance in full, effectively resetting the card's balance to zero. Failure to do so may result in hefty interest charges, similar to those associated with traditional credit cards. However, unlike conventional credit cards, where the available credit replenishes automatically upon repayment, in Mauritius, the cardholder must initiate the replenishment process.

To reclaim the deposited amount of $5500, the cardholder must first clear the outstanding balance on the card, effectively reducing it to zero. Subsequently, they must contact the issuing bank, request the cancellation of the card, and initiate the repayment process. Only upon completion of these steps will the deposited amount be returned to the cardholder.

The Paradox of "Credit" in Mauritius Credit Cards

Despite being labeled as "credit cards," the financial mechanism employed in Mauritius bears little resemblance to traditional credit offerings. While cardholders are granted access to a predetermined credit limit, the requirement of an upfront deposit blurs the lines between credit and prepaid cards. In essence, the term "credit card" in the Mauritian context seems more aptly described as a misnomer, reflecting the unique intricacies of the local financial landscape.


In conclusion, the concept of credit cards in Mauritius deviates significantly from the global norm, presenting a unique financial model characterized by prepaid-like features. While providing individuals with access to credit, the requirement of upfront deposits and manual replenishment processes challenge the traditional understanding of credit cards. Thus, it is imperative for consumers to comprehend the nuances of Mauritius credit cards to make informed financial decisions in the local context.

In essence, while the term "credit card" may persist in Mauritius, its true essence embodies a blend of prepaid functionality and credit-like features, underscoring the intricacies of the Mauritian financial system.

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