88% of affluent UAE residents have credit obligations

88% of affluent UAE residents have credit obligations

Dubai - Survey shows improvement in the levels of awareness of the bureau and credit reports.

By Muzaffar Rizvi

Published: Mon 12 Oct 2015, 5:52 PM

Last updated: Mon 12 Oct 2015, 10:45 PM

Credit cards are the most popular form of credit among affluent UAE citizens and they used them mostly for paying utility bills, day-to-day purchase and travelling abroad, according to a latest survey.
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The first-of-its-kind survey, conducted by YouGov in collaboration with Al Etihad Credit Bureau and Citibank UAE, shows that credit cards are the most popular form of credit, with 82 per cent of respondents indicating they use one. Of those, around 71 per cent had more than one card. Credit cards were also used frequently, with almost a third using their card daily, and almost half using it weekly.

The survey, which was conducted from July 23 to August 6 involving 157 affluent people living in the UAE who earned a net monthly income of $8,000 or more, said credit cards were mostly used to pay bills (71 per cent), followed by day-to-day purchases (64 per cent) and travelling abroad (63 per cent).

Marketing manager at Al Etihad Credit Bureau Fatma Obaid Farhan said the survey shows that awareness about the bureau's credit reporting services is growing with every passing day and strong among the financial sector.

"The bureau provides consumers and lenders with invaluable information about their credit history, which helps consumers to avoid borrowing more money than they can comfortably repay, and assist lenders in making informed decisions," she said.

To a question, she said this survey is just a part of series and more projects will be coming in near future.

The survey, which offered insights into the credit repayment habits of respondents, said about 56 per cent of respondents use credit cards for large purchases while 49 per cent opt for plastic cards only in case of emergency. Two thirds of credit card holders (63 per cent) chose to pay off their credit card in lump sums.

In Dubai, use of credit cards to fund large and luxury purchases was more prominent, with 64 per cent of respondents in Dubai using their card to fund a large purchase, compared to 56 per cent nationally, according to the survey.

It further noticed that personal loans were the second most popular form of credit at 47 per cent, followed by consumer leases (16 per cent) and bank overdrafts (12 per cent). Only 12 per cent of respondents say they do not have any credit products at all.

The survey said personal loans were most often taken out to cover large purchases, and were usually paid off in installments over time (85 per cent). It said around one in 10 respondents, or 12 per cent, make use of a banking overdraft, and of that small number, the most common use was for a few specific purchases. The majority chose to pay off their overdraft in one go, rather than in monthly instalments.

The report also highlighted strong awareness of credit reporting. A third of respondents (32 per cent) were aware of the Al Etihad Credit Bureau and its credit reporting service, and of those one quarter (24 per cent) had obtained a credit report from the bureau.

Dinesh Sharma, Citi's consumer banking head in the Middle East, said the main objective of the survey is to create awareness about the cards usage as well as ensure financial discipline and transparency in the credit usage.

"We take responsible finance seriously at Citi and we are happy to partner closely with Al Etihad Credit Bureau to help our customers manage their credit and practice responsible finance by making wise borrowing decisions and maintaining a healthy credit history," Sharma said.


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