Credit cards have found their way from the designer wallets of the wealthy to the pockets of the average Joe. The result is that card issuers have been pushed to their creative limits in their attempts to maintain their appeal to those who demand that little bit more.
Check out the moneyland.ch pick of the world’s quirkiest credit cards:
1. JCB Linda. Forgot to perfume yourself before leaving home? No problem – as long as you keep your perfumed credit card where everyone can smell it. Japanese payment network JCB introduced the idea with its Linda perfumed credit card. According to JCB “Linda is a card product targeted to single working women in their 20s and 30s, who have high disposable income and are motivated to spend.” That might sound and smell wrong on so many levels, but Linda struck a chord among young Japanese women, 550,000 of which became cardholders with above-average spending habits.
2. Commerzbank aromatic credit cards. German bank Commerzbank was next to jump on the scented bandwagon, offering a series of credit cards marinated in an array of fragrances. Luckily – or not – Commerzbank stuck to the conservative fragrances which one might expect to find in a German bakery (think oranges, cinnamon and coffee). Unfortunately for Commerzbank, the scent of food failed to lure enough cash-loving Germans to justify their continued production.
3. Dubai First Royale. Want to add some spark to the mundane business of settling payments via credit card? Look no further than the diamond-studded credit cards offered by United Arab Emirates bank Dubai First. The great thing about this card is that it doubles as a diamond investment. Unfortunately, the single diamond on its face doesn’t carry a candle against the 333 diamonds embedded into the Royal Legend credit card which is also issued by Dubai First but is only available to middle-eastern royal families.
4. Kazkommertsbank diamond credit card. If the somewhat conservative card art of the Dubai First doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps one of the gold-enlaced diamond credit cards from Kazakh bank Kazkommertsbank might suit your taste.
5. Sberbank Gold Visa Infinite. If diamonds alone don’t do it for you, consider the solid gold visa credit card issued by the Kazakh subsidiary of Russian bank Sberbank. While the card has a lot of aesthetic promise, partly thanks to its 26 embedded diamonds, its high cost makes it a luxury rather than an asset. But thanks to widespread acceptance of gold, you can rest assured in the knowledge that, should you find yourself short on cash in a location where credit cards are not accepted, you may well be able to pay in kind.
6. Lady Solitaire Swarovski card from UOB. Singapore bank UOB took bling to a whole new level when it introduced its limited Lady Solitaire Swarovski edition credit card to its well-heeled lady customers. If you can’t get ahold of the Kazkommertsbank diamond credit card and aren’t interested in diamond investments, you can get the same sparkly effect with this card.
7. Pure + Solid Gold, Silver and Platinum cards. When Swiss card issuers talk about silver, gold and platinum credit cards, they are referring to the benefits and lines of credit offered – by the same old plastic cards. When London-based card manufacturer Pure + Solid talks about silver, gold and platinum credit cards, it is referring to the elemental value of the card itself. Sadly, the huge markup you pay on the value of the metal annihilates these card’s value as precious metal investments.
8. JP Morgan Palladium Card. Gold had already been done, so palladium seemed a logical next step. While lack of familiarity with this metal makes this card a less effective emergency bargaining tool than its gold counterparts, it is an effective conversation starter (“so what exactly is palladium?”).
9. IMGold Bullion Visa card. This visa credit card issued by Isle of Man gold pool IMGold is quirky because it is made of 14 karat gold. Aside from that, the idea behind the card is solid: Investors who hold gold reserves at IMGold can use the card to access a line of credit secured by their gold reserves. In this way, the credit card performs much the same function as the lombard loans offered by Swiss banks and stock brokers, allowing investors to access liquidity without selling their assets.
Swiss credit card comparison