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Monday, October 25, 2010

Intercontinental unveils Visa Hajj Card

Leader in electronic banking, the Intercontinental Bank Plc (IBplc), has unveiled its Visa Hajj card to boost the financial freedom of Nigerians who are going for this year’s annual hajj in Saudi Arabia and online shopping.

Unveiling the Visa Hajj card promo in Lagos, the Group Managing Director, Mr. Mahmoud Lai Alabi, represented by the Executive Director, North, Mr. Danlami Sule, said that as a leading electronic transaction bank in the country, the Visa Hajj Card, is the latest e-banking product from the stable of bank.

He explained that the Hajj Card is a product of several months of research work on Muslim customers who seriously desire a financial product that assures easy access to foreign currency accounts and financial freedom while on Holy Pilgrimage.

This desire, he said, encouraged the bank to develop the nation’s first Visa Hajj card designed to meet the aspirations of not only customers but also prospective ones who are embarking on the annual pilgrimage (main hajj) or visiting the Holy Land for the lesser hajj.

He noted that the cardholders could use the Visa Hajj Card anywhere in the world where Visa Cards are accepted to withdraw cash on the ATM, shop using the Point of Sale (POS) terminals as well as use for online shopping. “The use of this card is therefore not restricted to only Saudi Arabia but also anywhere in the world and in any currency of choice,” he clarified.

He stressed that with the card, cardholders could easily pay for goods and services while performing both Lesser Hajj (Umrah) and Hajj.

According to him, the feedback from customers who are already using the card showed that travelling with the card eliminates the risks associated with fake currencies, cash theft and difficulties associated with sourcing foreign currencies while embarking on the pilgrimage.

“The Hajj Card is valid for two years, and can be used during, after the hajj or Umrah and anywhere Visa Cards are acceptable during the two-year validity. It is also renewable after the validity period,” he said.

In addition, he said that all cardholders benefit from available favourable exchange rates when making purchases or withdrawing cash abroad.

“They need not visit any bank while performing the holy pilgrimage as they have 24-hour access to their funds, without any need to carry cash or cheques,” he said, just as the cards could be purchased over the counter at any of the bank’s 360 branches nationwide with or without necessarily having an account with Intercontinental Bank Plc.

“It comes with a unique benefit of availability of multi-currency transaction support feature,” he said.

He underlined the fact that with this product, Visa Hajj cardholders have access to other services from over 1.4 million Visa automated teller machines (ATMs) and 10million Point of Sale (POS) in more than 200 countries and territories.

He assured of the security of the card, saying that the Hajj Card is very secure since it is a Chip and PIN card based on the functionality of Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) security standard which is adjudged the best globally with almost zero level of card cloning.

All cardholders, he said, are eligible to participate in the on-going promo, noting that to qualify, “just load your card 3 times within a month and spend $500 in the same month. Then Intercontinental Bank gives the customer a cash reward of $10.”

He pointed out that in consideration of the financial security of customers, the bank blazed the trail in deploying the Verve Card, another Chip and PIN compliant debit card to secure customers’ debit card on ATM, POS and online transactions, thereby expanding the frontiers of e-banking through products like EMV (Chip and PIN) Visa and Master Cards, internet Banking, IMobile and ICash among others.

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