Credit Cards need no introduction. Almost everyone has availed the benefits of using a
Credit Card at least once in their lifetime. For those who haven’t, Credit Cards allow
you to purchase goods or services on credit for a small fee. It is an alternative for
cash and enables you to carry out internet-based and shop-based transactions with ease.
UAE also offers Shariah compliant Credit Cards based on ‘Bai Inah’, ‘Wadiah’ and
‘Qardhul Hassan’. The high-cost of living in UAE makes Credit Cards a must-have
financial tool in every household.
Credit Card companies recognize your needs and offer cards well-suited to your spending
habits. This has led to a plethora of cards available in the market in UAE. Let’s look
at some variants available:
- Dining Credit Card: A foodie’s delight. These
cards offer discounts at participating restaurants making your dinner outings lighter
on your pocket.
- Travel Credit Card: Bitten by the travel bug?
This is the card for you. It offers a host of benefits when you travel like free
miles, free night stays at partner hotels, discounts on car rentals and many such
- Islamic Credit Card: These cards are
compliant with the Shariah laws and are free from any Riba (interest) or Gharar
- Insurance Credit Card: These cards are
specifically designed to provide an insurance cover in exigencies. They offer
benefits like Takaful insurance or personal accident cover.
- Student Credit Card: These cards offer
discounts on school fees or cash backs along with the other benefits of a Credit
Card. As a parent, this can be a huge relief considering the ever-increasing cost of
- Fuel Credit Card: These cards offer exclusive
discounts at petrol pumps. Some of them also offer a range of free services like road
assistance, discounts on International driving license, etc.
- Reward and Cashback Credit Card: Every time
you spend on your card, these cards offer a small percentage of it back. A Reward
card provides points which can be redeemed on specific products/services. A Cashback
card converts a small percentage of your spending into cash and credits it back to
your Credit Card account.
- Grocery Credit Card: Time to go grocery
shopping but miss the haggling with the roadside vendor? The Grocery card offers
special rewards and discounts at different grocery store chains.
There is a growing concern about various fees charged by Credit Card companies. While
some of these are unavoidable, being meticulous with your finances can help avoid most
of these charges. Here is a look at a majority of those fees:
- Annual Fee : charged annually for the
- Supplementary card annual fee : charged
annually for all supplementary cards.
- Retail Interest : interest charged on the
purchases made using the Credit Card
- Cash Advance Interest : interest charged on
cash withdrawn using the Credit Card
- Cash Advance Fee : fee charged for availing
cash advance on your Credit Card
- Late Payment fee : charges applicable if you
do not pay your bills in time.
- Over Limit Fee : in case your spending +
interest exceeds the prescribed limit.
- Card Replacement Fee : in case you want to
replace your existing card.
- International Transaction Fee : for use in
- Credit Shield : a cover to help you pay back
the balance if you are unable to do so due to disability or death. This is provided
on a monthly fee.
You need to be at least 21 years of age to apply for a Credit Card in UAE. You must
have proof of regular monthly income. Every bank has its own criteria which need to be
While every bank may have its own set of documentations required to approve an
application for a Credit Card, below is a list of basic documents needed:
- Salary Certificate not more than 30 days old (for
- Income details (for self-employed individuals)
- Bank Statements
- Valid Passport
- Valid UAE ID
You must ensure that these documents are available with you before you approach a bank
for a Credit Card. Apart from these, banks may choose to ask for more documents to
ascertain your credit viability.
- Usually, the minimum monthly payment is about 5
percent of the outstanding balance due.
- Expatriates can apply for a Credit Card too.
- Expats must surrender the UAE Credit Card if they
move out of the country.
- You can own multiple Credit Cards if you want.
However, ensure that you can afford the fees and charges associated with them.
- If used correctly, Credit Cards can be a great
- Take advantage of the discounts and features of your
- Some cards offer interest-free periods so make sure
that you pay back within that period to avoid extra charges.
- Contact your bank immediately if your card has been
stolen or if you suspect misuse of any sort. Timely action can save you thousands of
- Don’t be reckless in your spending because you can
always pay later. Beware of the debt-trap.
- Don’t delay your payments – avoid additional
- Cash advance has additional fees associated with it.
Use this feature judiciously.
- Don’t share your card details with anyone and ensure
that your cards are kept secure always.
Remember, Credit Cards can be your best friends or worst enemies. They are financial
tools designed to make life easier if used correctly. With an increase in the number of
spending avenues due to growing number of shops online, you must exercise optimum
control on your spending to make the best of this tool.