How to Get a Credit Card despite Having a Bad Credit Score?

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One of the most frequently asked questions among credit card applicants happens to be this — “Will I get a credit card even if I have a bad credit score or a monthly salary lower than AED 5,000?” 

The straight answer to this question is that you cannot get a credit card with a low credit score or if your monthly salary is below AED 5,000. It’s also important to understand that even if your monthly salary increases but your credit score remains poor or bad, you will still not get a credit card.

Coming to credit score, it is a 3-digit number that determines your creditworthiness as a borrower. So if you have a poor credit score, major banks and other lending organisations in the UAE will not see youas a reliable borrower and will end up rejecting your application. 

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Which Options are Available in Such a Situation?

The best way possible to get a credit card in the UAE is to improve your credit score and bring it into the good credit score range, which is usually between 680 and 730. It is only then that you would get a good, reward-loaded credit card in the UAE. Furthermore, as we mentioned earlier, most banks in the UAE offer credit cards only to those who have a good aecb credit score.

Keep in mind that there are only a few banks that may provide alternative credit cards. Some of the alternatives available include -

Secured Credit Cards

Some banks in the UAE offer the option to apply for a secured credit card. When you apply for a secured credit card, you need to provide a certain amount as security — this amount gets refunded or adjusted later. 

These credit cards work the same as conventional credit cards. The only difference here is that you need to pay a cash deposit right away to secure a credit line. If you miss out on your credit card bill payments, the credit card issuer will keep your deposit.  Another pitfall of secured credit cards is that their interest rates are generally high. 

At the same time, secured credit cards present a great option to improve your credit score. So keep track of your transactions and make timely bill payments to improve your credit score — only then can you get the best credit cards at a good credit score. 

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Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

So far, we have understood that it is crucial to build a good credit score to get the best credit cards. A good score certainly opens many doors in terms of credit card options. 

Before following some steps to improve your credit score, however, you should know that your credit score will not improve in a night. It requires a constant and disciplined lifestyle to improve your credit score. 

With that clear, here are a few tips that can help you improve your credit score so that you can get the best credit cards in UAE -

  • Monitor your Credit Report - Start by getting a copy of your credit report from the AECB to see your credit score and your credit history, including outstanding payments and missed payments. If you spot any errors, report them immediately. Errors can harm your credit score without you knowing it.
  • Pay on Time - Promptly paying your debts is crucial for your credit score. Set up automatic payments if it's challenging to pay bills on time. This ensures that your credit score won't be affected by late payments.
  • Clear Credit Card Debt - If you can afford it, always pay your credit card bill in full. Only paying the minimum amount increases your debt and interest rates. Clearing your credit card bills, on the other hand, improves your credit score.
  • Handle Multiple Cards Wisely - Managing multiple credit cards matters more than the number you own. Avoid applying for too many cards suddenly, as it can lead to multiple hard inquiries, which can bring down your score. 

Similarly, as their long history is valuable, closing old credit cards can hurt your score as it can reduce your overall age of credit. For this reason, you should only cancel cards that you don't use.

  • Reduce Debt - Having lots of debt can hinder future loans or credit cards. Cut unnecessary expenses and manage loans to pay them off quickly.
  • Be Patient - Improving your credit score takes time, just like it takes time to drop. Practise patience throughout the process, understanding that it won't happen overnight. 

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Best Credit Cards in the UAE for a Good Credit Score

Once you improve your credit card, you can apply for any of the following best credit cards in the UAE -

Credit Cards Features and Benefits
Citibank Citi Rewards Credit Card
  • Minimum Salary - AED 8,000 per month
  • Annual Fees - Free for the 1st year
  • Unlimited access to over 1,100 airport lounges across the world using the MasterCard Travel Pass application
  • Up to 30% discount on 2 movie tickets at VOX Cinemas per month
  • Access to an array of ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free’ offers MasterCard priceless special mobile application
  • 2 free airport rides annually (up to AED 110 each) by using the code “MAUAE2” on the Careem App
  • Thank You Points -
  • Get up to 1.5 Thank You Points per USD spent by spending on grocery and non-AED items and 1 Thank You Point per AED. 
  • You can redeem the points as cash rebates, gift vouchers, travel rewards, merchandise, and many other experiences.
  • Pay with points for your purchases via SMS or Citibank online. 
Emirates Islamic Flex Credit Card
  • Minimum Salary - AED 5,000 per month
  • No annual fee required
  • Get up to 2 “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” complimentary Reel Movie tickets per month at any point in a week
  • Up to 4 complementary supplementary credit cards with no Account Maintenance Fee (AMF)
  • Get up to USD 25 credit for food and beverages at more than 900 hotels globally via Visa Luxury Hotel Collection
  • Avail of up to 25% cashback on more than 1,500 brands at 
  • Enjoy secured online shopping with the 3D Secure feature
  • Enjoy the best reward program - EI SmartMiles
  • The Miles can be redeemed at 300 airlines and around 180,000 hotels around the world
  • Option to exchange EI SmartMiles with U By Emaar, Etisalat Smiles Points, Emirates Skywards, EtihadGuest, and Intermiles
  • Purchase protection for lost, stolen, and damaged goods purchased using the credit card
  • Noon Gift voucher of AED 200 (Terms and Conditions apply) after a minimum retail purchase of AED 2,500 by November 30th, 2023 - Valid for 3 months from the date of issuance. 
  • Noon Gift voucher of AED 500 (Terms and Conditions apply) after a minimum retail purchase of AED 5,000 by November 30th, 2023 - Valid for 3 months from the date of issuance. 
  • Convert big purchases into small, easy payment instalments
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Talabat adcb credit card 
  • Minimum Salary - AED 5,000
  • Free for life
  • Welcome Bonus of AED 500 as Talabat credit
  • Exclusive Talabat Rewards -
    • 35% back on Talabat orders on the first 10 orders per month — order value should be AED 35 per order 
    •  Enjoy unlimited free delivery on Talabat pro orders with a minimum order worth AED 50. 
    • Earn up to 1.25% back as Talabat credit on all other retail purchases
    • 0.35% back as Talabat credit on domestic retail purchases - education, fuel, real estate, government services, charity, supermarkets, insurance, auto dealers, and more
    • 0.35% back as Talabat credit on international retail purchases at merchant stores in Europe 
    • Get free, unlimited delivery on Talabat orders when you reach the minimum order amounts:
    1. For Talabat pro restaurants, it's AED 50 or more
    2. For Talabat mart, grocery, and pharmacy orders from 'pro' stores, it's AED 100 or more
  • Option to select from 7 different card designs to satisfy your inner foodie!
  • Get up to 30% discount on any roundtrip, international airfare, or hotel by booking on Cleartrip
First Abu Dhabi Bank Infinite Travel Card
  • Minimum Salary - AED 30,000 per month
  • Annual Fees - AED 1,500
  • Welcome Travel Voucher worth AED 1,500 upon card activation 
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • One complimentary night for every 3 paid nights’ stay when booked through the FAB Travel Portal
  • Unlimited access to more than 1,000 international airport lounges for the credit cardholder and 1 guest
  • Facility to exchange FAB Miles at participating airline and hotel partners
  • Register as a Jumeirah One member and get exclusive benefits with tier-level upgrades
  • Use the credit card for Uber internationally and avail of up to USD 25 credit per ride
  • Get up to 8 free airport transfers annually within the UAE 
  • 1 free ride per trip within the same Emirate
  • Earn 1.5 FAB Miles for every dollar you spend on shopping.
  • Earn 2 FAB Miles for every dollar spent on travel.
  • Use the portal to make the most of your FAB Miles:
    • Book flights with over 800 airlines, stay at over 500,000 hotels, or rent a car
    • Transfer your FAB Miles to a partner travel program
    • Get gift cards for popular international brands using your FAB Miles
    • Convert your FAB Miles into credit on your Travel Card
  • Get a 30% discount when you use your FAB Visa Travel Card for Meet and Greet services at airports in more than 450 places around the world.
  • Visa's 24-hour concierge service is here for all Visa Infinite cardholders. With this service, you can relax and enjoy your trip while the concierge handles the little things.
  • You can also save on golf fees at various golf clubs worldwide.
  • With the ‘Visa Offers MENA’ app, you can enjoy a 'buy one get one free' deal.
  • If you dine at Jumeirah Hotels, you can save up to 20% — the same goes for Meraas dining, leisure, and entertainment places.
  • As a Visa cardholder, you can get up to 35% off on regular rates and 30% off on international leisure rates.
RAKBANK World Mastercard Credit Card

        You can enjoy various discounts with this card - 

  • Minimum Salary - AED 20,000
  • Annual Fees - Free for the first year
  • Cashback: You can get money back when you use your card — 
    • Up to 10% cashback on travel expenses
    • Up to 10% cashback at supermarkets
    • Up to 5% cashback on purchases in other countries
    • Up to 3% cashback on purchases in your own country
  • Discounts & Offers
    • Up to 10% off on luxury serviced apartments
    • 10% off and other perks at select properties in popular cities
    • 50% off at VOX Cinema at any time
    • ‘Buy 1 Get 1’ cinema tickets at REEL Cinemas and 20% off cinema food and drinks
  • Rewards
    • Get an AED 500 gift card when your spending crosses AED 6,000 after getting the card
    • Get a chance to win a luxury car
    • No fees for transferring balances from other cards
  • Airport Lounge Access
    • You can use over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide for free
    • To enjoy access, simply show your card at participating lounges.
  • Dining Discounts : Up to 20% discount on grocery or food orders twice a month with the Talabat app when you pay with your card.
  • Travel Discounts / Benefits : Get discounts on Cleartrip bookings.
    • 10% off on international round-trip airfares
    • No minimum spending required
    • Discounts valid for all airlines
    • You can use these discounts as many times as you want
  • Complimentary Insurance
    • You're covered for accidents (up to USD 500,000)
    • Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation (up to USD 500,000)
    • Medical emergency expenses (up to USD 500,000)
    • Daily cash benefit for hospital stays (USD 100 per day)
    • Your visiting parents can be covered if their trip is paid for with your card (up to the age of 80)
    • Your visiting children can be covered too
Read More

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To Conclude

You cannot get a credit card with a low credit score, as most banks prefer to approve credit cards only for those who have a high or a good credit score. With a few straightforward steps as discussed in the article above, however, you can improve your credit score to get the best credit cards in the UAE. 

Once you have achieved a good credit score, you can always apply for the best credit cards on!


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