Diners Club has introduced a world first in Islamic banking, a charge card that complies with Shari’ah principles. This means that holding a Shari’ah Charge Card incurs zero interest payable by the user for transactions. It is also not referred to as a “credit card” because one won’t be able to rack up charges over R50 000 etc; it is more a short-term cash flow facility for lifestyle spend, such as travel and entertainment.

The Shari’ah Charge Card is NCA compliant; holders have to pay the balance due in full every month; and no cash withdrawals allowed or option for Travellers Cheques. It is driven by a host of travel and lifestyle benefits, outlined further below.

According to Mohammed Ameen Hassen, head of Shari’ah Banking at Standard Bank, who owns Diners Club, “The card will bring the bespoke convenience of an internationally accepted charge card to our clients who have been demanding innovative Shari’ah compliant products, specifically within the lifestyle space.” Diners Club is accepted in 185 countries globally.

Most of all the traditional services that the Diners Club card offers are available on the Shari’ah card and those elements that were not compliant were removed. Amongst the benefits offered to users are bespoke Hajj and Umrah packages, Islamic tour travel offers, and other benefits.

Mohammed Ameen Hassen, head of Shari’ah Banking at Standard Bank

Travel/Lifestyle/Entertainment Privileges

The main focus areas for the Shari’ah Charge Card is travel, lifestyle, and entertainment. Users will get access to exclusive offers for Hajj and Umrah – and from what I’ve seen at the launch event on Friday, 1 March, these include an Umrah offer from Jhb or Durban at R8990; and R9499 from CT for flights, and the visa is covered for first timer travellers – but offer ends on 31 March 2019.

The Hajj benefit is a discount on flights, which has not been loaded onto the system. If you sign up for the card, keep an eye on the mailout that will be sent at the end of March if you’ve been selected for Hajj and interested in saving money. According to the brochure handed out, you get access to lifestyle and entertainment discounts, shared below.

A list of some of the benefits

  • A 24/7 travel concierge
  • Free phase 1 travel insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • VIP check in (meet and greet)
  • Access to over 1000 airport lounges (131 countries; 501 cities)
  • Discounts on Emirates (30% off economy and first class; 35% off business class)
  • An Avis Preferred Plus status
  • Earn miles with ClubMiles, BA Avios or SAA Voyager
  • Lifestyle related events (coffee, chocolate)
  • Sporting discounts (golf shops, magazines)
  • Partner restaurants special offers
  • Access to over 65million WiFi hotspots globally
  • Instant VIP Platinum membership at Tsogo Sun rewards programme
  • Discounts at all Tsogo Sun establishments (hotel, restaurant, amusement parks)

The benefits are very similar to FNB’s eBucks offering, but Shari’ah compliant. So if you ever felt like you want the benefits of eBucks but didn’t want a credit card, this is the best way to go about it. If you’re a family with kids who love traveling, I think this is a no-brainer (no interest; and all the discounts!).

How to apply for a card

You can apply for the card online (link below), which they say is quick and easy with a 48 hour turnaround time on approvals. All secondary cards are free. You get real-time transaction updates and notifications, statements online/email/post, and 24/7 customer service. There are no initiation fees for new cards and loyalty programs. 

More info and if you want to apply for a card, visit: 
https://www.dinersclub.co.za/products/personal-card/shariah-banking/

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