Diamond-set credit card being offered to wealthy Kazakhstanis

Credit card company Visa is producing a special credit card for its top clients in Kazakhstan – going beyond the usual silver, gold and platinum cards with a diamond-set version made of gold.

Sberbank in oil and gas-rich Kazakhstan will offer the card, which is set with 26 diamonds with a total weight of 0.17 carats, to its top 100 clients, says a report in The Wall Street Journal.

However, the card, made in Russia, does not replace the customers' standard plastic Visa Infinite credit, but merely accompanies it.

Customers cannot swipe the card in order to make a purchase since the card does not have a magnetic stripe, but they can use it for chip transactions that require a PIN number, says the report.

Sberbank has not detailed how cardholders can qualify for the diamond card, but Canada’s CIBC bank only allows applications from clients with a minimum household income of US$100,000.

Visa says there are 400,000 owners of Infinite cards across Asia-Pacific, including 2,000 in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan “is an increasingly affluent market, and this card was designed in response to the growing appetite for elite, status-symbol cards,” a Visa spokeswoman tells The Wall Street Journal.

Visa aims to introduce the gold-and-diamond Visa Infinite card to other Asian countries in the coming months, but at it currently has no confirmed plans.