19 Aug 2013

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 19 August 2013 – Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, said today (ed note: 19/08/13) that the new savings account it launched exclusively for youth at the start of Ramadan, offers exciting benefits.

Called 7esabi, an Arabic term meaning “My Account”, the innovative account offers unique benefits and features, including a dedicated MasterCard debit card, for youth between 12 and 18 years old. The new account was designed to get youth familiarised with the basic concepts of banking as early as possible.

The 7esabi account includes its own uniquely designed MasterCard debit card which will be issued directly to the accountholder and allow them to make purchases at Point of Sale (POS) machines, withdraw or deposit cash at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), shop or pay bills online and conduct banking transactions at their favourite Ithmaar Bank branch. The 7esabi account will be a joint account between the youth accountholder and one of their parents which, in turn, will allow parents to decide spending limits. Parents, along with the accountholder, will also receive SMS notifications – which include the amount, time, merchant name and available balance – for all 7esabi transactions to allow everyone complete peace of mind.

“At Ithmaar, we have long maintained that growing ever closer to our customers is one of the most important factors that can contribute to our ongoing success,” said Ithmaar Bank Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohammed Bucheerei. “This new account is an example of our ongoing efforts to meet and exceed the expectations of all our customers,” he said.

“The launch of the 7esabi MasterCard debit card is a step towards extending financial inclusion to the youth with a product that is tailored specifically to their needs,” said MasterCard Vice President Somu Roy. “This is indeed a milestone for all of us and is a sign that the financial sector continues to evolve in line with the needs of the market it serves,” he said.

The new account allows youth liberating new freedoms in terms of their ability to spend, save and shop under simple but effective control mechanisms by their parents. Ultimately, this will help create financial discipline in perhaps the most important unit in our community, the basic family unit.

7esabi accountholders will enjoy the same expected profit rates as regular saving accountholders. As an additional feature, there will be no minimum balance charges for 7esabi accounts, and standing orders form a parent’s account to the associated 7esabi account will be free of charge. A special discounts-and-benefits loyalty programme is also in place for the immediate benefit of 7esabi cardholders. It includes big discounts and savings at a number of shops and outlets of specific youth interest. Every new 7esabi account holder will be presented an exclusive booklet of twenty Buy-One-Get-One-Free vouchers for use at various, predominately food, outlets, and all active 7esabi account holders will have a chance to be one of two winners of a BD50 cash prize every week.

Bucheerei said 7esabi was introduced in line with Ithmaar Bank’s strategic plan, and marked another important step forward in the right direction.

“Ithmaar is firmly committed to becoming the region’s premier Islamic retail and commercial bank as we continue to increase our focus on core banking activities,” said Bucheerei. “Ithmaar now boasts one of the largest retail banking networks in Bahrain with 17 full service branches and 43 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in 26 strategic locations around the Kingdom. We will continue to work towards further developing our core retail business in the year ahead with the commissioning of additional new branches as well as the introduction of new products and services,” he said.

Ithmaar’s achievements have helped earn the Bank international kudos, with the Bank’s Mobicash offering earning multiple awards including the “Best Mobile Banking Service” award at the Banker Middle East Products Award 2013 and the prestigious UN-based “World Summit Award mobile (WSA-mobile)”. Most recently, Ithmaar also earned the Hawkamah Bank Corporate Governance Award, a prestigious regional award, in recognition of its corporate governance policies.

Earlier this year, (ed note: April 2013), announced plans to further expand the Bank’s debit card offerings. Ithmaar Bank has since launched two new debit cards from the MasterCard Premium Debit Card Collection which are the first Islamic segmented MasterCard Debit Cards in Bahrain. Under the newly introduced program, all eligible Ithmaar Bank customers will have their existing debit cards upgraded, at no additional cost, to the new MasterCard Debit Plus card, while Ithmaar Premier Customers will receive an exclusive Ithmaar MasterCard Premier Debit Card. MasterCard Debit Plus card holders will not only gain free access to various airport lounges in the region including Dubai, Kuwait, Cairo, Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh, but they will also be automatically enrolled in the MasterCard Moments Program. This program is managed by MasterCard and it offers numerous benefits, privileges and discounts from prestigious brands around the world.

The new Debit Plus card will offer special daily cash withdrawal limits and daily Point of Sale (POS) purchase limits. With a MasterCard branded debit card, cardholders will have access to payment facilities at more than 34 million merchants worldwide. The Ithmaar MasterCard Premier Debit card, which offers additional benefits and features, will be presented exclusively to Ithmaar Premier members. Ithmaar Premier is an invitation-only programme for Ithmaar Bank’s customers.

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