Islamic Finance Series: Are Debit Cards Considered Islamic?

Islamic Finance Series: Are Debit Cards Considered Islamic?
Debit Cards Islamic?  Islamic Finance Series: Are Debit Cards Considered Islamic? IMG 1372

Are Debit Cards allowed in Islam?

In the past decades, people are increasingly facilitated by many payment transaction alternatives. We do not need to laboriously carry a bundle of cash everywhere. Beside carrying cash is a hassle and more riskier. Just bring plastic cards, insert in your wallet, done! Transaction especially for large amounts can be accepted in most stores or places. Types of plastic cards admitted in the International transaction become more diverse, for instance the debit card, charge card, and credit card. Consumers can get the convenience of shopping in places (that have been cooperating with the issuer bank) such as discount facilities, insurance, membership in the VIP airport lounge, resort hotels, and much more.

Are all types of plastic cards is lawful for Muslims and allowed in Islam? Let’s review each type.

Debit card, in principle acts as an ATM (automated teller machine) card, or a “medium” to withdraw money from our checking or savings account where our money resides at the bank. Debit card owners are required to have savings in the bank by certain amount greater than the money we take. We can use our debit card in places such as at the bank where customers save money, banks or ATM machines that has logos that association with the issuer bank such as Maestro, Cirrus, Star, MasterCard, Visa, etc, and the EDC (electronic data capture)/POS (Point of Sales) machine that are available at the checkout counter.

Some Fiqh experts state that debit card operations is in accordance with the practice of representation (wakilah) where the customer in this case acts as the party represented (muwakkil) by the bank (wakil/representative) to pay the bill receipts provided by commercial organizations (tajir), with customers’ deposits in the bank.

But to be more clear, the Debit card is allowed according to Islam if it fulfils the following conditions.

  • Customer must have a deposit in the bank;
  • There is no element of riba in it.

Therefore, it can be concluded that debit card in its legal practice is according to an Islamic religious law.

NEXT: Article about charge card and credit card will be discussed in aMuslima in our next edition.



Prof Dr Husein Syahatah (2004) Islamic Bank Products; theory and practice, 2nd ed., Center for Islamic Economics (PAKEIS), ICMI Orsat Kairo

Dr Wahbah as-Zuhaili (2002), al Maliyah al Mu’ashirah, 1st ed., Beirut: Dar Al Fikri al-Mu’ashir, Suriya: Dar al-Fikr.

Delina Partadiredja

The author has been writing since elementary school. Prior to be the in-charge person for contents she often contributed to an Islamic website. Further, she has co-authored two books and one book of poetry. Her previous banking career followed her completing Bachelor of Economics. She obtained an MBA from Leicester University in the UK. She currently lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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