Easing the burden of school fee payments


Easing the burden of school fee payments
Credit cards come in handy to prevent additional strain on savings

Banks in the UAE are providing parents with a number of useful options

By Deepa Narwani

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Published: Mon 12 Mar 2018, 9:04 AM

Last updated: Mon 12 Mar 2018, 11:07 AM

With rising costs, parents often juggle with budgets and face difficulties when it comes to meeting financial commitments such as the monthly school fees. As a parent you want the best education for your children but how can you efficiently manage to pay for the school fee along with everything else that goes with it such as transport, after-school activities, clubs, uniforms, stationery and electronics, among other expenses?
These fees can make a dent in long-term savings, as a survey conducted by Zurich last year found that it costs Dh1 million on an average to send a child to school and university in the UAE! Therefore, parents, today are increasingly turning to banks to ease the burden and credit cards come in handy to prevent additional strain on savings.
In the past, loans were taken to assist children's higher studies but the rising costs at primary and secondary school levels have put enormous financial stress on parents who have started to look at the facilities offered by banks at the earlier stages itself. Banks offer a range of solutions, right from arranging personal finance and interest-free payment plans to providing debit cards and credit cards that offer cashbacks, free gifts and pre-paid student cards, among other facilities.
Banks in the UAE have started gauging the financial pressures on families and have started offering a number of credit cards to help parents with ways to resourcefully manage the rising school fees.
One of the banks offering such facilities is the First Abu Dhabi Bank's GEMS Titanium Credit Card that offers a 7 per cent discount for GEMS school tuition fees. It offers a host of other benefits such as 3 per cent cashback on school fees and non-school fee spends of Dh10,000 within 60 days of card issuance date will allow parents to earn 3 per cent on the quarterly school fee in the form of statement credit. Also, Emirates NBD's GEMS Rewards Programme allows parents whose children are enrolled in GEMS schools to redeem their plus points at a GEMS Education school in the UAE.
While Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) offers flexibility when it comes to paying children's school fees with its credit card that offers a 0 per cent interest payment plan on school fees for up to 12 months. The school fees can be paid through the 'Bill Payments' section of the ADCB Personal Internet banking or the mobile app.
Also, National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) offers a Cash-on-Call facility that lets credit card holders request up to 70 per cent of the credit limit as cash or a draft made out to the school at a nominal interest rate repayable over 12 months. The BNF credit card also allows parents to convert fee payments into one of NBF's Easy Payment Plans, available on the credit card, starting at 0 per cent interest for up to 12 months, allowing them to take advantage of any school discounts for annual fees that are paid up front.
Parents who ensure that dues are paid back at the end of every month can receive advantages such as 0 per cent short-term loan, earn air miles or other bonuses, depending on the offers stipulated by the banks. However, the use of cards to cover school fees should be managed wisely and the key is to not get caught in a debt cycle. The best advice for parents in order to be prepared for future costs and school fees is to start saving early and ensure financial discipline.
- deepa@khaleejtimes.com

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