You're better off without a credit card, advises lawyer in UAE
Dubai - Others see it as a source of quick cash to sort out daily needs.
For many people in Dubai who find themselves surrounded with shopping offers, holiday deals, and buy-now-or-regret-later promos - getting a credit card is tempting. Applying for one is easy, but it is a decision that must be made with caution, a lawyer has warned.
For Hani Hammouda, an Egyptian lawyer with Kefah Al Zaabi Firm for Advocacy and Legal Consultancy, one would be better off without a credit card.
"Unless it is urgently and really needed, then the credit card is dispensable. One should be aware of his or her income and arrange expenditures accordingly," he said.
At times when a person wants to get something he is raring to buy but cannot afford it yet, swiping a credit card is convenient.
From designer bags, the latest gadget, and clothes and shoes fresh from the runway to fine dining cravings and luxurious hotel stays, almost everything is within reach for someone who holds that plastic card. Others see it as a source of quick cash to sort out daily needs.
Many would easily fall for the constant attempts of bank customer service staff offering generous credit card freebies and exclusive discounts.
But by the time the client finds himself/herself stuck with mounting penalties and interest charges, the same banks would not act so 'generous'. And before the person knows it, a notice of legal action is served.
"If the bank client really can't do without such a card, it is preferable to take it from the bank where his account is deposited," Hammouda said.
"Even when taking a credit card, he should be aware of the limit the bank is setting for his card. The bank does not have the right to send a client a credit card without his or her prior approval."
How to safely use your card
Hammouda's best advice would be to never share copies of the credit or debit card on social media.
"Hacking is easy nowadays and hackers have multiple resources to get the whole details of the bank clients by tracking one detail," he said.
A credit card user should also avoid logging into unauthorised retail store websites.
"You have to be sure of how secure the website is and whether the trademark is duly registered and trustworthy. Never do online transactions with your bank cards before making sure the website is secure, encrypted and protected."
People should also be wary of freebies and special offers, the lawyer added.
"Using a credit card to avail of such promotions is definitely not advisable. After the free trial period is over, retail businesses start collecting subscription fees from customers' cards. It is better to avoid such offers so as not to be compelled into sharing your credit card details."
In case the card is stolen, lost or misplaced, don't hesitate to report the incident to the bank.
"Calling the bank is the first must-do. Then, the client has to go to the nearest branch to formally file his complaint. In that way, the bank can block any attempt to withdraw money or do any shopping transaction in the name of the card's holder," Hammouda stressed.
All forms and contracts should also be read thoroughly prior to signing, even if the client trusts the bank, he added. "The client should read any paper thoroughly and understand the terms and conditions. He should not approve or sign any such contracts if the details are vague. Business knows no friends and ignorance is no bliss when it comes to law," the lawyer pointed out.