Al Hilal unveils first ‘Qibla’ credit card
Abu Dhabi, October 9, 2012
Al Hilal Bank, an Islamic lender based in Abu Dhabi, said it has collaborated with MasterCard and a card-based solutions provider InfoTec Systems to launch its latest pioneering payment solution - the ‘Qibla’ credit card.
Al Hilal has marked another world’s first with the launch of its ‘Qibla’ credit card, which incorporates a digital compass and at the press of a button locates the ‘Qibla’ (the direction a Muslim must face while performing Salah), said a top official at the evening launch ceremony held at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi on Monday.
The Qibla card was unveiled in the presence of Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
In addition to its unique feature of being a convenient prayer tool, the Qibla Card also offers a zero profit rate for up to 12 months for ‘Hajj’ and ‘Umrah’ travel, said Mohamed Zaqout, the head of personal banking group at Al Hilal after signing the exclusive product agreement with Eyad Al-Kourdi, MasterCard’s VP and country manager -UAE, and Houssam Khatib, the CEO of Infotec Systems Group.
Card holders can avail of many other benefits such as complimentary travel vouchers worth Dh500 ($136) for Hajj and Umrah travel packages, a zero profit rate for up to six months on travel, electronic, jewellery and other purchases, airport lounge access, travel and personal accident coverage, and purchase protection, explained Zaqout.
Customers can also opt to round off their local retail transactions to the nearest multiples of Dh5, 10 or 100 and credit the rounded off amount to the Red Crescent UAE, the official stated.
"Our innovative Qibla credit card is yet another testament to our ability to constantly surprise our patrons with pioneering products and services that reflect our progressiveness as an Islamic bank. Our new offering enables cardholders to benefit from a rich array of exclusive benefits and special privileges," said Zaqout.
In keeping with Islamic tenets, Qibla card holders can also make meaningful contributions to the welfare of local communities, he observed.
"Marking yet another first, card holder will also be entitled to a zero profit rate for up to 12 months on balances transferred from conventional bank credit cards, said Zaqout .
This is intended to encourage more customers to shift to Islamic cards and help them pay off their high interest-bearing card balances from conventional credit cards, the official added.
Al-Kourdi said the new card reflects its capability to develop highly innovative and tailored payment solutions for consumers in the Middle East. "MasterCard is honored to be associated with a financial institution that shares our passion for community welfare," he noted.
On the novel concept, Houssam Khatib, Infotec Systems Group CEO said,“It was like a ‘Mission Impossible’ task when the bank approached us with the idea of having a compass built into a payment card that would indicate the Qibla direction from anywhere in the world."
"We are proud of our work with Al Hilal and the confidence they have given us in bringing this innovative concept to life,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service
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