A bank in Kazakhstan is offering its top 100 customers a gold Visa card with a difference - it really is made of solid gold and it has a few diamonds adorning it to boot.
Handcrafted and embedded with 26 diamonds as well as mother of pearl and totalling 0.17 carats, the super flashy credit card is being offered to high net worth customers by the Russian banking group Sberbank in partnership with the credit card provider Visa.
According to Visa, the card, which weighs between 40 and 50 grams, comes with a matching price tag at US$100,000 (Dh367,300) for the first year - that's $65,000 for the card alone with the remaining $45,000 put on to the card as credit. And even when you have paid all of that there is still the small matter of the $2,000 annual fee.
"Visa Infinite cards are not just any card - they deliver service and privileges not available to other card types and are a reflection of the cardholders' status," said James Lim, the head of consumer products for Visa Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa. "Ultra wealthy cardholders want differentiation and with this coveted piece of luxury, the card becomes the ultimate status symbol."
"Issuance of such premium cards is part of a comprehensive programme meant to ensure the highest level of service. The unique card is the best way to reflect the ultimate status of a cardholder," added Sergei Inushin, the deputy chairman for retail business at Sberbank.
Despite the price, however, Kazakhstan's super rich will still need a more prosaic plastic companion Visa card if they want to take money out of an ATM. The card has no magnetic strip on the back and can be used only in chip and pin transactions.
And if the card catches on with Sberbank's first 100 invitation-only customers, it could well be coming to theArabian Gulf next. According to Visa Infinite, the high net worth division of Visa, which is issuing the cards, the company plans to make similar cards available in other countries over the coming years - just make sure that if you get your hands on one you don't lose it.