Standard Chartered Bank is to increase the fees imposed on credit card holders who fail to pay the minimum monthly payment for two months out of six, a spokeswoman said. The bank will impose an additional 5 per cent fee on the annual percentage rate charged on a card's outstanding balance. Current interest rates range from about 25.5 to 28.5 per cent, depending on the type of card that has been issued, although most cards carry a standard 25.5 per cent rate, the bank's spokeswoman said. The bank's move comes two months before the implementation of a policy that is designed to allow banks to share the credit history of their customers to tackle the growing problem of credit card debt. The regulation has been touted as a way to reduce Hong Kong's steep credit card finance charges as a pay-off for easing privacy restrictions. But Standard Chartered's move suggests that banks will continue to tack on high fees in their battle against surging bad debt, which costs them millions of dollars a year. In the past year - amid rising personal bankruptcies and record unemployment levels - banks in Hong Kong have been forced to write off a record 13 to 14 per cent of credit card debt, more than double the level for last year, according to preliminary estimates from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Personal bankruptcies rose to a record 25,328 last year, compared with 9,151 a year earlier as job losses and a depressed economy continued to force people to default. However, most local banks do not plan to match Standard Chartered's new policy. Hang Seng Bank increased its late-payment charges in August, although its fees are not as aggressive as Standard Chartered's. The bank raised its late fees to between $50 and $150 from a previous range of $30 to $100, said spokeswoman Cecilia Ko. The bank also has the right to increase the finance charge by four per cent if a customer fails to pay the minimum balance on time. The highest rate, including the additional four per cent late charge, would be 35.25 per cent, or 2.67 per cent a month. HSBC and Bank of East Asia have no plans to adjust fees on credit cards, according to officials. Both banks charge a 5 per cent late fee on the minimum amount due but do not impose fees on the balance. Dah Sing, which is aggressive in the credit card market, also said it had no plans to alter its rates. Standard Chartered's new fee is the latest measure to battle the rising problem of bad debt. The monetary authority's top banking regulator, David Carse, said recently that he expected the credit card write-off rate may start to level off as banks become more prudent about issuing cards and reducing credit lines. Meanwhile, the new personal privacy ordinance is also expected to make it easier for banks to determine risk. At the moment, banks are only able to share data on card holders who have defaulted on their payments, but they cannot determine just how stretched a customer is. Standard Chartered was a vocal proponent of the new law, which will allow banks to share information on how many cards a customer has and the level of credit on each card. But Standard Chartered is not waiting for the new regulation to take effect. The bank decided to implement the new fee because it will not be able to access credit data on all its customers right away and needs to take steps to manage its risk, a spokeswoman said. For the first two years, the revised regulation will only apply to new customers and will not cover existing card holders.