A Guide to Select the Best Credit Cards in UAE

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The emergence of credit cards is a spectacular achievement for the banking and finance industry. It has aided in creating a globally accepted way to conduct and monitor transactions. Today, credit cards in UAE offer the cardholder incredible spending power and a path to achieve their financial aspirations.

But this incredible variety of credit cards in Dubai has also brought forth a uniquely 21st-century problem, aptly termed by the American psychologist Barry Schwartz as the ‘Paradox of Choice’. With so many types of credit cards easily available, the modern customer faces various anxieties such as those of choosing the best credit cards in UAE, fear of missing out on the benefits of other credit cards and the biggest worry of all – paying too much for the selected credit card.

However, all these worries can be put to rest with an organized and well-researched process of elimination. This simple 5 step guide will help even the most indecisive of applicants pick the best credit card in UAE.

Step 1- Decide Why do you need a Credit Card?

A majority of websites offering a credit card in UAE begin by asking the visitor one simple question, “What do you want to use your credit card for?” The question may seem intrusive, but it also forms the very basis of how to pick the perfect credit card in UAE.

Credit cards offer a wide range of features for the cardholder. They may be used for:

  • Availing Large Credit Limit - The credit card limit allows the cardholder to make purchases as per their credit limits.
  • Build Credit History - On-time payment and regular spending through the credit card earns the cardholder a clean track record and the ability to access other financial services such as loans and mortgages.
  • Pay off Debts and Overdue Amounts - Many of the best credit cards in UAE offer interest-free balance transfers ranging from 3 to 12-month Balance transfer amount is generally restricted to the credit card’s limit but can prove to be extremely helpful in avoiding extra charges.
  • Spread out Expenses via Instalment Plans - Termed by many credit card issuers as ‘Easy Instalment Benefit, the credit card enables the cardholder to convert big transactions into monthly instalment plans. Such instalment plans help the cardholder maintain a tight grip on their monthly expenses. Some credit cards in UAE even offer the cardholder a 0% interest.

Once you have a clear understanding of your spending habits, you will be in a better position to logically select the best credit cards in UAE.

Step 2- Decide the Type of Banking you want to opt for.

  • Credit Cards in UAE are offered under two major types of banking: Conventional banking and Islamic banking. While the credit card itself is simply an instrument used to make purchases, type of banking directly influences the various charges incurred by the cardholder and more.
  • Under Islamic Banking principles, interest is forbidden. As such, Islamic banking credit cards in UAE do not charge any interest. The sharia-compliant credit cards come with the feature of profit sharing. It enables the cardholders to invest money in the bank at a fixed profit rate. Any profits made by the bank are shared as per the fixed profit rate, among all credit card holders. Similarly, any losses incurred are borne by the cardholder and the bank in unison.
  • Banks such as ADIB and Emirates Islamic offer some of the best sharia-compliant credit cards in UAE. Islamic Banking offers an ethical and communal approach to credit card spending, while conventional banking provides a relatively lower-risk model of investment. Keep in mind that the credit card benefits offered by both styles of banking are mostly similar.

Step 3 - Evaluate Membership & Associated Costs

No credit card in UAE is completely free of charge. While many credit cards in Dubai are termed fee-free for life (i.e. they don’t charge an annual membership fee), there is sure to be a list of associated charges and interests on transactions.

Go through this brief explanation of credit card fees and charges, and pay careful attention to them when looking for the best credit cards in UAE.

  • Annual Membership Fee: A fixed yearly amount that the credit card holder pays the bank for enjoying the basic privilege of using the card.
  • Retail Interest: Charged on a percentage basis, the retail interest is a monthly charge. The credit card member is expected to pay the retail interest on any outstanding amount at the end of the month.
  • Cash Advance Interest: Every time you use a credit card in UAE for withdrawing cash, the bank charges a cash advance fee. Furthermore, credit card withdrawals attract interest on the withdrawn amount, which is calculated from the date of the withdrawal itself. International credit card withdrawals attract the same charges and may also attract an additional transaction fee based on the bank’s policy.

Other credit card charges include late fees, over-limit charges, supplementary card fees and more. Go through the relevant credit card policy document before making a choice, to understand how and when you are liable to pay.

Step 4 - Check the Income Requirements

  • While getting a credit card in UAE is not a difficult process, the credit card issuer may disqualify you if you don’t meet the eligibility criteria. The biggest criterion for eligibility is the minimum monthly income.
  • The best credit cards in UAE offer huge rewards and benefits, but they also face the biggest risk of not receiving payments (i.e. of defaulting customers). To minimize this risk, the credit card application is filtered on the basis of eligibility criteria. It determines whether the applicant will be able to pay the dues on time.
  • Higher income requirement is typically an eligibility criterion for the credit cards offering bigger rewards. For example, the more benefits a credit card in Dubai offers, the higher its minimum monthly income requirement will be. Shortlist your credit card preference on the basis of the salary bracket you fall under.

Step 5 - Compare the Benefits

  • Finally, it is time to compare the various lucrative credit card benefits. Purchase protection, air miles, dining discounts, complimentary travel insurance and more; there’s a wide variety of credit card benefits offered in UAE. The benefits are formulated on the basis of credit card needs of various credit card applicants.
  • Ensure you opt for the best credit cards in UAE by looking at its benefits. Focus on the various factors mentioned in the article before making your final choice of a credit card in UAE.

Over to You

Selecting the best credit cards in UAE is not as difficult as it may sound. Make sure you compare the short-listed credit cards and select the one that fulfils your credit card expectations.

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