Credit card companies intensify competition

DUBAI — Competition among credit card companies has intensified since a month a go in the run-up to Christmas season, with some of them offering cash-back feature that gives back to cardholders a percentage of the amount they spend.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 23 Apr 2008, 9:37 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:42 AM

Cash-back cards currently make up 10 per cent of the cards on the market and the average interest rate on purchases through credit cards has been 0.72 per cent, Reuters said in a report earlier. It said that cash reward was paid annually. Thus, a cardholder who uses a cash-card today would take some rewards next Christmas. American Express, for instance, has recently begun offering a five per cent cash-back for the first three months, more than the market leader Capital One’s offering of four per cent for the same period. Yesterday Dubai First joined the fray by introducing its MasterCard that provides the Middle East’s highest cash-back to cardholders at four per cent for every purchase made here and abroad. “The cash back offering...will be a permanent feature of the credit card programme, with no time bound and merchant restrictions,” said a statement from Dubai First, although it stressed that certain terms and conditions apply. A part of Dubai Group, one of Dubai Holding’s seven entities, consumer finance company Dubai First yesterday said its MasterCard credit card also has the PayPass contact-less payment feature.

Offered in both Classic and Gold credit cards, the new feature allows cardholders to simply “tap and go” when making purchases under Dh100 at selected outlets in the UAE. “The introduction of the cash back and contact-less features is another remarkable achievement that will position Dubai First as a leader in the mass market segment,” said Ibrahim Al Ansari, country corporate officer, Dubai First.

The company’s chief operating officer, Ravi Bhardwaj, said the challenge in today’s credit card market is to develop propositions that ensure strong reasons to use a particular card. “This initiative fits with our overall strategy to deliver tailor-made offerings to our customers across all segments,” he said. “This new MasterCard differentiates Dubai First as a customer-focused, service-oriented consumer finance player.”

Today there are over 20 million PayPass cards and devices being accepted in more than 80,000 merchant outlets worldwide, according to Eyad Al Kourdi, UAE country manager for MasterCard Worldwide. The Classic and Gold MasterCard credit cards are the third and fourth products launched by Dubai First, which said it was on track to achieve its goal of becoming one of the UAE’s top five consumer finance players over the next three years.

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