The ongoing search for credit card-derived social status took an interesting turn this week when IMGold unveiled its Bullion Card, the world’s first 14-carat Visa gold card backed by actual bricks of the stuff.
Should you happen to have $123,000 in gold bullion, give or take a nose ring, just lying around the manse collecting gold dust, this new Kanye of cachet cards can be yours simply by instructing Jeeves to place your bricks on deposit in the IMGold vault on the Isle of Man. As its website boasts, the Bullion Card is “the card that carries more weight.”
In other words, if you deposit a sufficient amount of your bullion with IMGold, a “secure bullion depository” on the banking haven Isle of Man, you can borrow against it using the card.
If neither you nor Jeeves has any clue as to the whereabouts of the Isle of Man, simply ping either Simon Cowell or Bono, taking care to put “gold bullion” in the subject header. I’m sure they’ll get back to you.
But I digress.
Unlike the Exclusive credit card from Sberbank in Kazakhstan, the world’s first solid gold credit card that hit the social scene 18 months ago, the Bullion Card is less about flash and more about helping out a brother who may have bet just a little long on precious metals. Last year, gold prices plummeted 28 percent after a 12-year run, the largest annual decline since 1981.
“There are people who invested in 2011 at $1,900 an ounce and now it is worth less than $1,300 an ounce,” IMGold managing director Ed Pearce told the Financial Times. “They are sitting on losses and don’t want to sell. Now they can spend and get some liquidity.”
In fact, Pearce says the Bullion Card may be the ritziest chit still available to gold diggers whose plunge in net worth dropped them below the hazy criteria of such “invitation only” cards as the American Express Criterion “Black” Card. Bullion Card depositors are expected to be charged an interest rate of less than 10 percent when the card rolls out later this year.
Since the launch of the Sberbank Exclusive gold card, other precious metal cards have followed, including Qatar First Bank’s chit for billionaires only, Qatar National Bank’s diamond-studded, invitation only card and the upcoming Visa Infinite card from Luxembourg’s Catella Bank.
The most exclusive card in the world? That would be the Azerbaijan Zaminbank gold-and-gemstone beauty issued to a party of one: the bank’s chairman and chief shareholder, Nadir Amir Ismayilov.
Granted, most of us carry around no more gold than can be found in our mouths. We have no idea how to get to the Isle of Man or we’re still waiting in vain for Jeeves to punch in.
But chin up: You can still feel like a gold-plated swell. Just log onto to the IMGold Bullion Card site as I did and register to be first in line (well, next in line) for the world’s only gold-assured credit card.
After all, you never know when your bricks will come in.