Friday, November 10, 2006

美信用卡食水深惹禍

去海外旅行,禤中怡總喜歡以信用卡支付帳項,一來可以減少利用手頭的外幣,避免找兌換店耗費寶貴的時間,二來值簽帳儲積分,有些發卡銀行更歡迎大家海外簽帳,以積分加倍等作招徠。不過,看著最新的帳單時,發覺當海外簽帳的金額兌換為港元時,所涉金額似較市面牌價為高。

雖然所涉金額有限,但不代表這種做法公平。

喜歡打官司的美國人也看不過眼,除了向信用卡龍頭的VISA和MASTER 埋手外,滙豐控股(005)、美國銀行、花旗集團等巨型銀行亦成為訴訟的被告,指控他們在處理美元以外貨幣的信用卡交易中,密謀收取過高費用。而經過長達5年時間,美國地方法院終批准這宗集體訴訟達成和解協議,被告願意付出高達3.36億美元(約26.2億港元) ,賠償予於美國發行的MASTER、VISA信用卡和記帳卡,及大來信用卡的客戶於96年2月至今在海外的簽帳。

每人可以分多少以及怎樣分錢就無從稽考,但起碼現在開始銀行需將這項收費獨立顯示出來,有助提高透明度,即變相增加競爭空間。提出訴訟的律師指,將海外簽帳轉換回美元時,VISA和MASTER可能收你1%費用,銀行又收2%至3%,但實際所需的成本可能僅佔1%裡面的四分之一而已!試問一些供僱員海外簽帳額的公司怎不「肉赤」。

亞洲區的「順民」特別多,要挑戰巨人不易,但相信這種趨勢必蔓延過來,或者消費者委員會不妨起帶動作用,想想有何對策,讓大家有機會「回水」。

越南成投資新星
由共產黨控制的越南,相信香港人熟悉不已,皆因納稅人早年曾掏荷包「招待」越南難民和船民也,若果想了解當年難民營的悲壯場面,可往赤柱的懲教博物館走一趟。

今日越南未見船民湧來,明顯是經濟好轉,有飯食自然想生根,怎會離鄉別井。這個邁向市場經濟的國家剛獲世貿組織批准加入,成為第150名成員,意味走向新階段。

其實,外資早已洞悉先機,如英特爾剛獲准加碼投資當地,從6.05億美元(約47億港元),大增至10億美元(約78億港元)。這間美資企業正於胡志明市興建晶片裝配和測試廠,提供1,200個就業職位。銀行生意亦做到手軟,商業銀行單是在胡志明市的工業區和出口處理區最近爭開多達50間分行,真是多過米鋪。若果想拓展業務就要行快一步,因為首3季已有1,048間新公司設立!

至於房地產就更熱鬧。單是第三季房地產交易已較今年上半年增長20%,有胡志明房地產組織便指最少有超過20個來自香港、澳洲、新加坡和台灣等商團有興趣投資,包括建商場、寫字樓和高級住宅等。

要知道這個8,400萬人口的國家,經濟增長達8%,但能否趁機發掘一些明星股呢?最短時間想起的定必是陸氏實業(366),皆因主席陸擎天可算是新興市場的先鋒,如率先走入內地開發,然後又在越南拓展水泥廠和物業發展,儘管當年捱得頗辛苦(水泥廠折舊支出大和市場尚未暢旺),但今日自然先飲頭啖湯。至於利星行(238)在中期業績披露,於越南經銷平治汽車,期內銷量增31%,反映有前途,但是否值得追捧這類越南概念股份,投資者當然要精挑細選,包括管理層質素和企業管治等。

(11月10日刊於《am730》)

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