Gold vault operator IMGold, based on the Isle of Man, has announced the launch of a credit card made of solid gold.
The Bullion Visa gold card – equivalent 14 carat – will enable customers to draw down cash on their holdings of the precious metal.
Ed Pearce, managing director of IMGold, said: "There are people who invested in 2011 at $1,900 an ounce and now gold is worth less than $1,300 an ounce. They are sitting on losses and don’t want to sell."
Currently advertised with the banner ‘The card that carries more weight’, it will be made available to customers possessing at least £100,000 ($168,000) of gold bars in their vault.
It aims at enabling customers to use the card to borrow against their reserves, effectively hedging against a decline in the value of the metal.
"Now those customers can spend and get some liquidity," explained Pearce.
The interest rate on the card, which will be disclosed later this year, is expected to be bellow 10%.
Cards made of precious materials have been issued for several years now, in countries such as Kazakhstan, where MasterCard and Kazkommertsbank introduced their gold and diamond-encrusted credit card designed for oligarchs in 2008.
At the time, Alla Voyakina, the bank’s head of international payment systems, said: "The financial crisis is also affecting us but we are talking about rich people here, they can afford to have such cards. It’s a question of prestige."
In 2012, bank Sberbank-Kazakhstan issued, for its top 100 customers, the Visa Infinite Exclusive card, made of pure gold, pearl embossing and 26 diamonds.