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“Halal” MasterCard due to launch soon

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Written by Staff Writer   
Friday, 23 April 2010 16:36

UM Financial is set to launch Canada's first "halal-approved" credit card this month and will also offer it to US Muslims by year end.

The iFreedom Plus MasterCard meets the requirements of Sharia law, which prohibits usury, by being prepaid and therefore interest-free, said Omar Kalair, president of the Toronto-based financial services company.

 "Trade is allowed, but usury is not," he explained.

A similar card is already available in Britain, but nowhere else in the West, he said.

Until now, devout Muslims in Canada have either had to do without credit cards or paid off the balance each month to avoid interest charges that go against their faith.

About 100 people are testing the card, which can hold up to $6,000 and 10,000 cards will be made available to the general public this month. Activating the card for two years costs $50. Benefits include no monthly fee, no transaction fees, one per cent cash back on purchases of more than $100, and discounts on flights with Etihad Airways. ■