How to Tell Who's Ultra Rich: They've Got Gem-Encrusted Credit Cards
When someone pulls a credit card out of their wallet, you can get a sense of their net worth. A plastic no-annual-fee card? You're part of the hoi polloi. Move up to a gold or platinum card that has an annual fee, and you're starting to climb the ladder. Whip out a metal card, and you're starting to show some serious game. A black card? Now you're talking about being wealthy.
However, there's a new card hitting the U.S. that's not even for the 1%. The next hot trend in the credit card industry is just for the ultra-rich, the .001%: a jewel-encrusted credit card.
According to Bloomberg, a London-based "luxury lifestyle management and travel company" called Insignia Group has partnered with Certares, a private equity company, to launch a line of super premium jewel-studded charge cards in the U.S. in 2020.
Insignia says on its website that each of the cards in its Visa Jewellery collection is individually designed and customized, so each card can look like a piece of art or share something about the cardholder's history. Created by Swiss artisans, the card is reproduced using precious metals and stones, such as diamonds, rubies and sapphires. Even the chip in the card can be integrated into the design to be part of the artwork.
But this charge card isn't for everyone—even membership to Insignia is through invitation only, so it makes sure you have a high enough net worth to afford its services. CEO Magazine says Insignia has about 800 clients worldwide, and even with its recent expansion into the U.S. market, it will have only 300 to 500 clients here, many of whom will utilize Insignia's luxury lifestyle and travel services, which include a dedicated assistant who's always on call to manage travel and entertainment plans.
According to CEO Magazine, the bejeweled card has a $10,000 annual fee, and users spend over $1 million a year on it. Because it's a charge card, it must be paid in full every payment period, or users will pay an additional late payment fee.
If a bejeweled card is too much for you, Insignia has a full line of super premium charge cards, including its classic Royal Card, the company's "first super premium payment card" that meets the challenges of the demanding lifestyle of an affluent person.
Other cards in its super premium portfolio build upon the Royal Card. The Glamour Card adds access to exclusive experiences and previews in fashion, shopping and entertainment. The Black Card gives you a dedicated 24-hour personal assistant.
C by Insignia, a black card for C-level executives. This card offers deferred payments on purchases with no interest charges. It comes with a dedicated personal assistant and a key account manager, all for a $1,490 annual fee. Of course, if those are a little beyond the scope of what you want in a credit card, Insignia also has a line of premium cards that target different needs of those who travel frequently, or those who want additional cards for their family members. Insignia even offers a business card and a prepaid card that allows you to load a lot of money onto it and take large withdrawals.
Insignia's card applications are very simple. You fill out a form giving Insignia your name, phone number, email and a message. Since you're already a member, they'll have the financial information they need to determine whether or not to award you a card—but if you're a part of this ultra-high net worth class and a member, they already know your ability to pay your bills.
Bloomberg notes that Insignia is still working on obtaining a banking partner in the U.S., so you can't get one of these cards yet unless you go through a European bank. However, if this world is your reality, you can likely make that happen pretty easily in order to give that magical sparkle to your wallet.