x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Gold not standard

A gold credit card? Made of real gold? Get yours now – or not.

Kazakhstan may finally have found the perfect way to polish its national image, which was so cruelly tarnished by the satirical film Borat. Although it has been unfairly portrayed as a backwards agrarian society, the former Soviet republic is now home to a gold credit card that's actually made of gold, studded with 26 diamonds and mother of pearl.

Russia's Sberbank is issuing the Visa Infinity card to its top 100 customers in Kazakhstan, and other banks - including some in the UAE - are said to be keeping an eye on the exercise to decide whether they will also make this ultimate status symbol available to their customers.

The card isn't for everyone, of course. You have to be rich (and, let's face it, gullible). The card costs US$100,000 (Dh367,300) up front. That buys the card, for $65,000 and credits the user's account with the remainder.

However, because gold is soft and ductile, and because the card lacks that ugly magnetic strip, you can't actually use it in an ATM; you get a less impressive plastic version for that.

But it does contain a chip, so the bank's gilt-edged customers can still casually whip it out for those all-important over-the-counter purchases - luxury cars, houses, yachts, private jets and other essentials.