The UAE credit card with a scent: Al Hilal Bank targets women with aromatic offer

Al Hilal Bank seeks to make women stronger and more confident with a credit card that gives off the fragrance of Arab musk.

Al Hilal Bank in Abu Dhabi. There is heated competition among UAE banks for individual customers. Alia Jeiroudi for The National.
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Al Hilal Bank, an Abu Dhabi-based Islamic lender, has come up with an imaginative way to entice young, ambitious women in the UAE – a credit card that gives off a scent.

Called Laha, or “For Her”, the credit card lets off a smell through an absorbent pad on its top right corner. Hind Al Oud, a perfumer that specialises in musky Arab scents, has partnered with Al Hilal in the creation of the themed card and will be providing customers with a complimentary package of perfumes to get them started.

A bank spokesman said any scented matter could be applied to the card. It is not yet clear, however, if a male version will follow.

“Today’s modern woman wants to send out a strong message about her individuality and her capacity to become a productive member of society while staying true to her heritage,” said Mariam Yousef Ahli, the bank’s head of corporate communications.

“Al Hilal Bank’s Laha credit card is a unique form of expression for aspiring women who desire to make a genuine difference,” she added. “It is also a reflection of Al Hilal Bank’s full support for women and our passion for innovation and social responsibility.”

But behind the social affirmation there lies increasingly heated competition among UAE banks for individual customers who provide lenders with handsome returns, especially when they take out credit card debt that usually carries a finance rate of no less than 3 per cent a month.

The recent crash in the price of oil, the lifeblood of regional economies, has made it more urgent for banks to entice individuals to take on debt, as many corporations that rely on hydrocarbons to fuel their business will suffer a slowdown this year. The price of Brent, a benchmark for crude oil, has plunged almost 60 per cent since June.

Scented credit cards have existed for years, but this appears to be the first scented card designed to empower women.

“We want the holders of this unique card to be proud of being a woman and exploring possibilities together with Al Hilal Bank,” said Mohammed Zaqout, the head of the personal banking group at Al Hilal.

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