Islamic debit card to be rolled out across Russia

MoscowNewsWeekly – Islamic debit card to be rolled out across Russia

The new Islamic debit card promises customers that any interest earned on their accounts will be donated to charitable causes, such as maternity wards for local hospitals. The terms of the card were decided by the bank in cooperation with the Spiritual Council of Muslims in Dagestan, which also helped with the card design to insure its appearance would conform to Islamic law, such as avoiding visual depictions of living beings.

“There are no other banks in Russia offering this kind of service so we had no format to follow, we had to do it all on our own, consulting Muslim leaders every step of the way. But the success of the card shows that there is a demand for this type of service and we are considering expanding into other types of Islamic financial services,” said the spokeswoman.

…Bekkin welcomed the new debit card as a step in the right direction but added that other Islamic financial services such insurance and mortgages are more urgently required than a debit card particularly in the capital.

…One of the biggest obstacles to the development of specialised Islamic financial services in Moscow is the lack of awareness and education among many Muslims about the prohibition on usury. Whereas in Dagestan the principles of Islamic banking are preached by Sufi sheiks to packed-out mosques, the religious leaders in Moscow have far less clout and smaller audiences.

…The card has also received attention from some unexpected quarters since its release in Dagestan: “The card has been surprisingly popular with Christians and Jews in the region, apparently they really like the design,” explained Express Bank’s spokeswoman.

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