Mastercard Issues Diamond-Encrusted Credit Card
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[Diamond Studded Toenail Clippers]
|Markets are plunging, banks are collapsing and talk of recession is all about, but the global gloom is not stopping the launch of a MasterCard credit card inlaid with a diamond and laced with gold.
Known as the “Diamond”, the card has a 0.02-carat gem embedded in its centre and a picture of a peacock for female cardholders and a winged horse for men.
The card, which has a $1,000 annual fee, is to be issued in two weeks’ time by MasterCard and Kazkommertsbank, the second largest bank in commodities-rich Kazakhstan, where the oil and minerals boom of recent years has created a fresh crop of billionaires.
Asked about the timing of the launch, the bank’s head of international payment systems, Alla Voyakina, said: “The [financial] crisis is also affecting us but we are talking about rich people, they can afford to have such cards. It’s a question of prestige to have such cards in your wallet.”
The diamond was “only a design element”, Ms Voyakina said. “It’s showing your status.”
MasterCard had done “all the testing” to make sure such a card would fit into automated teller machines and point of sale slots, she added.
The card comes as even the super-rich are feeling the pain of the credit crunch. Spending on items such as $1,000 mobile phones is expected to end a boom that more than doubled the size of the global luxury goods market in the past decade.
However, Ms Voyakina said the bank had a target audience of “the best of VIP customers” and only planned to issue 1,000 cards, at a rate of about 30 a month, starting on November 13.
Each would have a credit limit of $50,000, about $20,000 higher than the highest limit on some MasterCard platinum cards.
MasterCard, which launched a similar card in Dubai last year, said such cards were “leading examples of MasterCard’s ability to support our customers in meeting the lifestyle needs of these premium customers”.
The invitation-only “Royale” card issued by Dubai First, a consumer finance group owned by the emirate’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, offers a “lifestyle manager” and has no pre-set spending limits.
The Kazakh card comes with a personal card “manager”, available around the clock.