Credit card companies may be falling over each other offering cards to people with an income of Dh 1000 or more, but people aren't falling for them. City Times spoke to several persons in the lower income category to find out whether they think their life will improve with a credit card.

By Shalini Seth

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Published: Sat 4 Jun 2005, 12:57 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:20 PM

"I don't think so. It will just become another debt to pay. I have seen too many people burdened by the card. I have never felt the need for one and I will not take it," says Felly S, a nanny who earns Dh 1000 per month.

There are some who have been living with cards. Tanvir Ahmed, a salesperson with four cards on his name, says, "I got the first card when my salary was deposited in the bank and they offered a free card for a year. Then someone offered another one, then another and now I have four."

But is he happy with the experience? "No," says Ahmed. "It's like a bad habit. I'm going to cut up all of them." There are several reasons why people do not like cards. For one, the fees are high. "I am spending a Dh1000 per year on them since the fees range from Dh150-200 each card," explains Ahmed.

Others, like accountant Shiraz Khan, have been there, done that as far as credit cards go. "My wife and I have decided to leave the card at home now when we go out. We were spending on things we did not need, because of the sales and offers. And actually, it's not even cheaper since what you save, you end up giving the card company as interest or insurance money," says Shiraz.

But are there no advantages to cards at all? "Of course, there are," says security supervisor John Christopher, "When you do need money, you don't have to ask your friends. You can withdraw cash or use your credit card. I keep my card only for emergencies. That also means I will have a good credit record when I need one," he adds.

What works better is an ATM or debit card. Says Shiraz, "I always use my debit card for any purchases now. That way I am spending the money that I have rather than living on credit." Shiraz uses two bank accounts to channelise his payments. "I pay for my bills from one account and put spending money in the other," he explains.

The answer seems to be in being money wise. Says Tanvir, "Earlier we used to borrow money from each other when in need. Credit cards have actually made us more distant.

Now we don't depend on others, nor do we want to help. I think saving money for emergencies and having friends for times of need, is much more dependable!"

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