UAE: 'Credit passports' make it easy for new expats in UAE

The move enables expats from India, Philippines, UK to bring their credit history upon arrival to the Emirates


Muzaffar Rizvi

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Photo: Reuters file
Photo: Reuters file

Published: Tue 7 Mar 2023, 4:24 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Mar 2023, 10:01 PM

New expatriates in the UAE can avail of quick and easy loans and other financial services, thanks to an initiative being billed as a 'credit passport'.

The initiative will enable newcomers to leverage their home country's credit history when applying for financial services upon arrival to the UAE. The move is also expected to give a fillip to the retail banking sector.

Al Etihad Credit Bureau (AECB) said it was partnering with Nova Credit to power cross-border credit. Initially, 'credit passports' will be available for AECB subscribers with financial history in countries including India, the Philippines, the United Kingdom. Officials said it will extend to other countries soon.

“As we continue to introduce cutting-edge products to our customers, we reiterate our commitment to creating a positive social impact, in line with the UAE’s vision of becoming the epicentre of a borderless global economy,” said Marwan Ahmad Lutfi, CEO of AECB.

Win-win collaboration

The collaboration facilitates real-time, large-scale application approvals by enabling AECB subscribers, namely UAE-based local and international financial institutions and lenders, access to translated credit history of new UAE expatriates, upon their approval as part of credit applications.

“Building a borderless financial system has been our guiding vision since our inception and by bringing the Credit Passport to new parts of the world we are one step closer to making this a reality,” said Misha Esipov, Co-Founder and CEO of Nova Credit.

“With this collaboration, AECB will be able to better support the thousands of newcomers to the UAE every year seeking access to the financial services they need to get started and thrive in their new home.”

Boost for UAE financial ecosystem

The AECB’s latest initiative will enhance the UAE financial ecosystem as the first institution in the GCC with the capability to provide real-time access to standardised foreign credit data from multiple bureaus around the world.

“Today’s consumers deserve the ability to take ownership of their financial data and not be locked out of accessing basic services due to the siloed characteristic of our global credit reporting system,” said Collin Galster, VP of International at Nova Credit.

“We are looking forward to taking this next step with AECB and expanding the global footprint of Credit Passport so consumers around the world can experience borderless credit reporting.”


Positive feedback

Iftekhar Salim, chief executive officer of Appro, said AECB plays an instrumental role in upscaling the lending ecosystem within the UAE and the introduction of the “Foreign Credit Report” is a significant milestone.

“Appro is delighted to avail these disruptive solutions from AECB, which will help the UAE residents to meet their financial product needs within minutes. There will be more visibility on the new-to-country applicants’ credit health based on their home country credit portfolio, which will allow them to have any lending product rather than waiting for 2-3 months,” he said.

Chandra Ganapathy, group chief risk officer of Dubai Islamic Bank said the bank has been a regular user of AECB’s suite of products including AECB Credit Score, Bureau Alerts and has now also subscribed to their latest offering of Foreign Credit Report.

“AECB solutions enable DIB to have a holistic assessment of the customer’s profile and credit behaviour through data feeds that are collected from all the credit institutions across the UAE,” he said.

He said AECB credit reports and data also serve as an input to our internal underwriting policies. Furthermore, DIB has leveraged AECB information to further strengthen its credit and fraud risk modelling framework, he added.

Farhan Mahmood, group chief risk officer of RAKBank said AECB understands the importance of providing transparent and seamless access to customers’ data and offering a comprehensive view of their credit worthiness across borders.

“This is especially critical in the UAE market where many expatriates seek to take advantage of their home market credit history. With advanced scorecard models, we aim to enhance our performance and offer seamless access to credit and banking services for all customers entering the UAE,” he said.


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