Kazakhstani bank offers diamond-encrusted credit card

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3441.TWO21.250.00

Russia's largest bank will offer the 100 best customers of its Kazakhstani branch a solid gold bank card encrusted with 26 diamonds, although they will have to carry an ordinary plastic card to use in cash machines.

Sberbank (MCX: SBER03.ME - news) will offer 100 of the premium cards, which weigh between 40g and 50g, for around $100,000 each. The card itself will cost $65,000 and the remainder of the purchase price will sit as credit on the card.

Included in the price is health insurance worth 40m Kazakh tenge (£164,000), entry to business class lounges at airports, a 24-hour phone concierge service and a free iPhone 5.

The bank said the card was: “Unique (Taiwan OTC: 3441.TWO - news) in its class, like nothing else it will underline the high status of its owner.”

As well as 26 diamonds totalling 0.17 carats, the cards include the same chip as normal plastic bank cards and can be used to make payments. But with no magnetic stripe they cannot be used in shops where customers are still required to swipe their cards. To get around this, and to allow customers to safely use cash machines, the bank will also issue a standard, plastic bank card with the account.

There will be no fees to pay during the first year, but after that the card, and the accompanying luxury services, will attract an annual charge of $2,000. The card will only be offered to the bank's 100 best customers.

Functionally, it is an "Infinite" card, the premium offering from Visa. There are already 400,000 cardholders using the service across Asia, and 2,000 in Kazakhstan.