Global Economics

MasterCard Creates an Islamic Debit Card


The credit-card company pairs with Eoncap Islamic Bank to launch a Shariah compliant debit card with ATM functions

MasterCard Worldwide and EonCap Islamic Bank (a member of Malaysia's Eon Bank Group) have jointly launched what they are billing as the world's first Islamic debit MasterCard—the EonCap Islamic Debit MasterCard.

The EonCap Islamic Debit MasterCard is basically a debit card with ATM functions as well. It also works on PayPass systems, which enables a person to swipe it on a terminal without the card leaving the cardholder's hand. It is referred to as blending traditional purchasing power with modern technology and is Shari'ah compliant.

"It is designed to appeal to both Muslim and non-Muslim individuals who prefer better financial control as the card ensures that purchases are automatically deducted from the cardholder's account and approved only if enough funds exist within the account. It helps track spending, comes with worldwide acceptance at more than 26 million locations and can be used at an ATM for e-banking," says Fozia Amanulla, chief executive officer of Eoncap Islamic Bank.

"MasterCard is pleased to collaborate with Eoncap Islamic Bank in order to introduce this card to Malaysian consumers. The EonCap Islamic Debit MasterCard card is designed for individuals who prefer to spend what they have in their accounts, yet seek the same functionality and assurances of a credit card," said Shuan Ghaidan, head of product sales and delivery, Asia-Pacific at MasterCard Worldwide.

According to a MasterCard survey on payment habits and perceptions of consumers conducted in 2007, the convenience factor was perceived as the biggest benefit by consumers to using contactless payments such as PayPass (47%), followed by the additional security features contactless cards provide (39%).

As of the first quarter of this year there were more than 28 million MasterCard PayPass cards and devices in use at over 109,000 merchants worldwide. There are MasterCard PayPass trials and rollouts currently underway in 24 countries—including Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. In the Asia-Pacific, some of the key merchants that accept PayPass include: Starbucks and KFC (Malaysia); Petrovis gas stations (Mongolia); and Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit, public buses, ferries (Taiwan).

Wozniak is an editor at FinanceAsia.com.

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