Meezan Bank has blocked its online payment facility for Netflix.
Netflix users can’t pay their subscription fee through Meezan Bank anymore due to the recent restriction, forcing them to look for other payment methods.
The bank previously allowed Netflix payments for their customers but its Shariah Scholars raised an objection causing the interruption of the service.
According to the official statement:
“As per the regulations and Shariah Compliance Guidelines of State Bank of Pakistan, Meezan Bank cannot provide any product or service that is not in line with the guidelines of Shariah Compliance.
Netflix, an online subscription service for movies and videos, also falls under the category of entertainment services that are not allowed in Sharia. (It is not a mixed content platform), hence based on customer complains and after compliance review, the bank was required to block Netflix as part of its regulatory and Shariah Compliance requirement.”
It’s the same for debit card users, the terms and conditions of the debit card restrict its use on non-complaint products or services. The bank can also restrict or cancel the card if it is used for similar services or products.
As per the guidelines provided by Shariah experts, most Islamic banks are required to restrict their card from usage in casinos, bars, gambling, cinemas, etc. Accounts and financing services are also not provided for these professions. Certain entertainment activities and vendor categories are also blocked at Visa or Master Card level.
Debit cards can also be blocked based on complaints received by the bank or regular compliance checks.
Some people may disagree with this view but each organisation has its own policies and regulatory requirements.
Naturally, ultra religious people welcomed the move while the more sane people are condemning it. People argue that policing their customers and dictating the use of their spending habits is a bad business move and will only push the customers to to close their accounts at Meezan bank. Some people also called on this move as being a hypocrisy at the bank’s side as they happily allow lending and borrowing on interest all the while claiming to be an “Islamic bank”. Needless to say, backlash to the bank for this move was serious and only time will tell if the broader segment of the society accepts this restriction imposed by the banks.