Imam Khaled Abdul-Hamid Syed has issued a fatwa against credit cards, even if they are paid off every month.
There are two schools of thought about credit cards among Islamic scholars. Some argue they are permissible as long as no interest is accrued, meaning bills must always be paid in full.
Others disagree, quoting one of the earliest religious authorities, Ibn Mass’ood: “Allah has cursed the one who consumes Riba [usury or interest], the one who gives it to others, the one who records it and the one who witnesses it…. All of them are equal in sin.”
This group believes anyone who signs a contract for the card “is ready to pay interest, thus he freely approves of dealing with interest.”
Of course, one of the problems with this whole debate is the fact that, despite the claims, Shariah-compliant instruments are NOT “interest-free.” Instead of expressing their charges as interest, Shariah-compliant financial institutions calculate a series of fees instead. Ironically, such “interest-free” loans often end up being more expensive than conventional loans which disclose their interest charges in a transparent way…