Travel Insurance

 

Get to the grips of what to expect when you buy a travel insurance policy.

Travel insurance covers both minor and major mishaps while travelling overseas for business or on holiday. Travelling without a suitable travel insurance cover can be risky and cause you financial distress in an unknown foreign location.

A travel insurance policy can cover you against any financial losses caused due to a wide range of events that can affect your trip. The policy covers you for whether they occur before, during or even after your trip.  Travel insurance should be a priority for all UAE residents, whether you travel regularly, occasionally or for that once-in-a-lifetime (YOLO) trip.

What is travel insurance and what does it cover? Here are the basics you need to know before you buy.

Types of travel insurance

  1. How often do you travel? Single trip and annual trip

Depending on the number of trips you are making in this year you can choose between a single trip and an annual multi-trip travel insurance cover. The rule of thumb is, if you are travelling overseas more than twice a year for more than 15 days, you can save valuable Dirhams by opting for an annual multi-trip cover.

  1. Where are you travelling? Europe or Worldwide

It is mandatory to have a travel insurance cover while travelling to Schengen (Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland etc). Then, there is a worldwide cover which includes US and another one which excludes US. Make sure to check whether your chosen destination is covered under your insurance policy.

  1. Who are you travelling with? Individual or Family

If you are travelling with your family, you have the option of covering everyone under the same policy. It makes perfect sense to go for a family cover where the single sum assured floats amongst all the members of the family. It is cheaper as well. Just one caution, if you have a senior citizen or a family member with a special medical condition, discuss with your insurance agent before including them.

Benefits of Travel Insurance

Travel insurance policies offer a number of features that help cover you and your belongings while you’re on holiday or business.

  1. Emergency Medical Cover

Medical cover is the most crucial part of your travel insurance policy. The amount you need may sound huge but the cost of hospital treatment abroad could be many hundreds of thousands of dirhams. Without travel insurance, it will be scary to pay your own medical bills in a country like the US and this could be very expensive. Also, make sure to inform your insurer of any pre-existing medical conditions that affect you or a family member travelling with you, even if it seems minor or irrelevant.

Most of the insurers in UAE settle hospital bills directly all over the world. Also 24X7 call centre facility to help with emergency situations comes handy when you are stuck in an unknown location.

  1. Trip Delay, Cancellation or Curtailment Cover

If you are unable to travel due to an illness or bereavement, you can claim for the ticket or hotel expenses paid. You can claim reimbursement for the unused part of the travel and accommodation services you booked, based on a pro-rata proportion of these services.

It’s always important to check the terms and conditions of your policy to see exactly what is covered and what is excluded.

  1. Baggage and Personal Belongings Loss or Delay Cover

Travel insurance normally covers you up to a certain limit for lost or stolen baggage and personal belongings (Passport, Traveller’s Cheques, Cash, Mobile phone etc) and even delayed baggage arrival beyond a certain period. As well as an overall limit for lost and stolen belongings, most travel insurance policies will limit what you can claim for single items and all valuable items. Be sure to bear this in mind when packing for your holiday.

  1. Other features

Other policy features covered in most travel insurance policies include door- to- door personal accident, legal expenses in case of personal liability, cover for disasters or unexpected events.

Whether you’re skiing in the Alps, lounging in the Maldives or trekking across the Amazon, we advise you take travel insurance cover for all your overseas trips. The cost of travel insurance in UAE starts from AED20 per day. That’s too small a cost for a worry-free holiday. Bon Voyage.

What is a no-claim bonus?

 

Car Insurance is as such a pricey affair. Month after month, you diligently pay your insurance premiums. Being the cautious driver that you are, let’s say you never get involved in any unprecedented events on the road and subsequently make no-claims. Does this fact go un-noticed by your insurer? Not quite. In fact, they reward you the next time you renew your policy with what is known as a ‘no-claim bonus’. Well, the term ‘bonus’ might be misleading, so to clarify, it is actually a discount on your future premiums. Interesting. Isn’t it?

However, until recent times, not all insurers adjusted premiums based on the no-claim factor. This anomaly was duly noted by the Insurance Authority of UAE and the Board of Directors issued an order mandating all insurers to provide no-claim bonus. Subsequently, drivers with a clean record for one year would receive a 10% reduction in premiums. Furthermore, drivers with a 2-year incident free period can avail up to 15% discounts and ones with 3-years, can receive a whopping 20% discount. So, it definitely pays to be a safe and cautious driver in UAE.

Previously, insurers had also been charging customers a nominal administration fee to purchase the no-claim certificate. This has also been done away with and insurers must provide the certificate free-of-cost. In fact, customers are encouraged to lodge a complaint through the UAE Insurance Authority’s website in case their insurers are not complying to these regulations.

So, what if you indeed made a claim or two in the past insurance period. Does it mean your no-claim bonus drops to zero? Not necessarily. Insurers sometimes use a step-back scale to reduce the discount rate for the renewed premiums. You can also protect your no-claims discount by purchasing an add-on. Through this, you will be eligible to make claims (up to a pre-specified amount) in the insurance period and still be eligible for a no-claim bonus the following insurance plan-year. Some insurers even offer you the benefit of transferring your no claim bonus to another insurer or car, subjected to applicable conditions. It is to be noted that the no claim bonus is associated with the driver and not the car.

The concept of a no-claim bonus creates a win-win situation for both the insurer and the insurance holder. On one hand, Insurers like to do business with customers who make minimal or no claims, as the chances of the company making a lump sum pay out in the event of an accident is reduced. While on the other hand, customers get rewarded with good discounts for maintaining a clean record.

There is no set formula to calculate the discount that you are eligible for. There are various factors other than a claim-free period, such as age, profession and customer record (among others) that determine how much discount you might get. Every Insurer has different terms and conditions and you have to be wary about them before you sign the dotted line. Lastly, if you would like to get a no-claim bonus, you have to maintain a clean slate in the first place, so drive safely and happy motoring!

What are the types of Car Insurances in UAE?

 

Car insurance premiums have become dearer over the years. It is not just about insuring your car with a plan that is within your budget, but also finding one that best suits your needs. You should consider your driving history, preferences, lifestyle and experiences, among other factors to determine the type of coverage that befits your case. The types of car insurance available in UAE are given below:

  • Third Party Liability Insurance: As per the UAE Insurance Authority, a motorized vehicle (with specifications as per policy) must at least have a Third-Party Liability Insurance. The Third-Party Liability insurance is the cheapest kind of policy that you can purchase. As the name suggests, it covers only damages to property or bodily injuries to a third party caused by your car. As a result, you would have to pay out of your own pockets for any repair costs to your own car. In the case where the damage is caused to your car by a third-party, then you can only hope that their insurance covers damages done to you. Although it is not suggestable to opt for this kind of insurance as it offers only bare minimum cover, if cost is your sole concern, then you need not look further.

  • Third Party Liability Insurance with Fire and Theft coverage: This type of policy is pretty much the same as the above mentioned one, with the exception that it includes coverage against cases of fire or theft. This type of policy is also marginally expensive.

  • Comprehensive Insurance (basic): This is a complete package offered by an insurer and offers a wider protection. It not only covers damages to a third party but also the ones to your own car and other bodily injuries. It also includes cover for other unprecedented events such as fire, theft, lightning, natural calamities, damage from an animal, etc. A comprehensive package offers better value for money and it is usually charged at a maximum of 5% of the car value.

  • Comprehensive Insurance (with add-ons): Along with a basic comprehensive plan, there are many other unfortunate events that insurance companies offer coverage for. These are termed as add-ons and you may pick the ones that best meets your interests and subsequently pay a small additional price for it. With add-ons, the price of your insurance plan might be around 3-10% of your car’s value. Some of the add-ons are…

    • Off-road cover: If you frequently take off to the desert and are in an un-marked road, then this add-on is something you should definitely opt for. However, these are often only offered for cars that have a 4-wheel drive or an owner who possesses an off-road license.

    • Road assistance: While you are on-road, there are chances that your car may experience break-downs, fuel shortage, lockouts, flat-tires, etc. In such cases the Road-assistance add-on covers cost incurred for mechanic or towing services.

    • GCC -countries: If you frequently travel around the GCC-countries in your car, then this add-on is a must. In fact, you cannot enter Oman without an insurance coverage such as this one.

    • Agency-repair: Your local repair shop may fix up your car for a lower price, but if you prefer that the authorized dealership of your car (who usually quote higher prices for spare parts and repair work) fix your car, then this add-on would be apt.

    • Car rentals: During the period when your car is being repaired, if you wish to rent another car, then the insurer would pay for those expenses if you purchase the ‘car-rental’ add-on

    • Some of the other add-ons worth mentioning are Zero-depreciation, personal-belongings cover and multiple riders cover

  • Premium insurance: If your car is your prized-possession and you hold it really close to your heart, then you should most definitely choose the Premium-insurance policy. Insurers typically provide this type of insurance for their premium customers who own swanky sports car of exclusive luxury cars. This is the most expensive type of policy and costs 1-2% more than other policies. It covers almost all possible cases of unexpected events discussed above.

Secure yourself, your car and your loved ones by purchasing a car insurance. Do keep in mind that Insurers are stringent against claims that involve driving under influence, deliberate accidents and false claims. Read our article factors impacting car insurance premiums to know how you can minimize the price you pay to insure.

AECB credit score is now available digitally for consumers through AECB App

 

Credit Score, the magic number that decides the fate of a loan or credit card application, had not been accessible to borrowers until recent times. The Al Etihad Credit Bureau (AECB), which began its operations 4 years back, has been filling this gap and started providing credit reports to customers. From serving 200 customers a month initially, the Bureau now fulfils 200 requests in just a day! Perplexed customers who face application rejections have turned to the AECB to know the reasons behind it. Acknowledging the ever-increasing demand for Credit Reports, the AECB has introduced its online services and mobile application since October 2018. Here are some highlights about the mobile application.

  • The current version (1.1) of the application, which was last updated on November 1st , is available on App store for IOS devices and play store for Android devices (version 4.1 and up)

  • To avail the facilities of the App, you have to follow the steps as outlined below.

    • Choose the type of report you want to buy (Credit Score, Credit Report with Score or Credit Report)

    • Register – Fill in the application form with personal details. Emirates ID is mandatory.

    • Answer security and Authentication questions.

    • Complete payment using credit or debit card.

    • You will receive the report/score within 30 minutes.

  • The application provides 3 types of services:

    • Credit Score: It is a 3-digit number (ranging from 300 to 900) that predicts the likelihood of you making your credit card or loan payments on time. A low score indicates high risk while a high score indicates low risk. It is calculated based on information from various sources such as Banks, Finance companies and Telecom Companies. The credit score is dynamic and varies according to your payment behaviour. Missing or delaying payment beyond due date, frequent usage of all limits on your credit card, carrying multiple credit cards, all of these would result in a low credit score.

    • Credit Report with Credit Score: The credit report is a detailed list that contains section-wise information as given below:

      • Section 1: Personal Information, such as personal identity info, address, employment details, income (if available) and credit score.

      • Section 2: No. of credit facilities availed, total exposure, percentage of credit limit utilization, worst payment delay, oldest contract start date, Summary of active credit facilities, total monthly instalments and total outstanding balance.

      • Section 3: Loan number, type of contract, provider number, start date, date last updated, Credit Bureau contract ID, A chronological table that shows payment history with colour codes (Green – Good, Yellow – delayed payment upto 90 days, red – payment delayed by more than 90 days). For credit cards, information such as credit card contract id, provider number, credit limit, maximum overdue amount and maximum days of payment delay will be displayed.

      • Section 4: Status of new applications for credit cards, application id, type of facility, total amount, no. of instalments. Etc.

    • Credit Report without score: This facility provides you with the same information as above, excluding the credit score.

  • Charges: The 3 facilities offered by the AECB app is considerably cheaper compared to the charges for the same when approached through one of the two customer happiness centres in UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai) . The charges are as given below.

    • Credit Report with score: AED 126

    • Credit Report only: AED 84

    • Credit Score: AED 52.50

The same services would have cost you AED 150, 100 and 60 respectively, if you had visited the AECB offices.

  • Data Correction: You can submit in-app requests to make corrections to any of the wrongly reported information from the reports. You can do this by sending a message that contains a subject, data provider and corrected information.

Armed with the Credit report or scores from the AECB app, you can approach suitable loan or credit card providers. Make timely payments and reduce your number of obligations to avoid loan/credit card application rejections. In the future, the AECB aims to include information from utilities, government agencies, courts and real estate, to gauge your repayment abilities more precisely. Make wise financial decisions for the future with the all new AECB app.

Factors impacting car insurance premiums?

Ever wondered why your friend who owns the same car as you does not pay a similar car insurance premium? It is because Insurance providers consider a whole lot of factors before zeroing in on an insurance plan apt for your car. A list of major factors contributing to your insurance premiums is listed below.

  • Age/Marital status: Unfortunately for young and single people, statistical observations show that there is a high correlation between age and marital status of the driver to the frequency of probable accidents. Mature men and women drivers have an established experience of driving safely, as opposed to young inexperienced drivers often driving frivolously. It has been often observed that the young adults under the age of 25 tend to pay 15-20 % more car insurance premium than their older counterparts.

  • Driving history: If a person’s driving record is peppered with traffic violations, parking tickets or accidents, then in those cases insurance providers take due note of these happenings and quote a higher insurance premium. On the contrary if a driver maintains a spotless record, then he/she might be eligible for a lower premium. Furthermore, elongated periods of un-eventful driving might even earn the driver a no-claim bonus, whereby a driver gets a discount in future premiums for not having made any insurance claims.

  • Type of Policy: The terms of an insurance policy can also greatly affect the premiums to be paid. For instance, if you already have another policy in place for personal accident insurance, then you might skip the share of car insurance premium designated for personal insurance cover. Another term influencing insurance premium is ‘deductible’, which is a certain share of amount an insurance holder should pay out of his own pocket before he/she can claim the rest of the expenses for repair from the insurer. If the deductible you agreed upon is ‘nil’, then you might end up paying higher premiums. On the other hand, the premiums might be lower if you agree to allocate a certain amount for deductibles. Some policy might also have add-ons like international coverage. If you do not plan to drive out of the country, then you might give this add-on a miss, thereby incurring lesser premium charges.

  • Car model/make: The model and make of a car definitely influences the charges for insurance. A swanky speedster or a luxury car would have higher premiums as opposed to a family SUV. The spare parts for the former might be difficult in procuring, thereby increasing repair costs. Studies show that high-performance muscle cars are at higher risk of being involved in an accident, thus resulting in costlier premiums. Very old cars also attract higher premium charges as they are prone to improper functioning and might result in accidents. The in-built safety features, engine type, fuel type, tra​_nsmission and other such features are also considered while establishing a score for your car.

  • Frequent insurance claims: If you make frequent claims, you will not only miss out on the ‘no-claim’ bonus, but also end up paying increased premium charges upon insurance renewal. Therefore, it is wise to pay yourself for small repairs and fixes, and keep insurance-claims only to major expenses.

  • Credit scores and reports: Although in its nascent stage, authorities are pushing for Credit scores to have some bearing on your car insurance premium. You can read the article How to improve my credit rating to manage your ratings well and thus avoid circumstances for increased premium charges.

  • Multiple quotes for insurance: You might end up choosing the first insurance provider without consulting others. As a result, you’ll miss out on great plans and ones that offer best value for money. Therefore, it is best to have multiple quotes and compare policy features before selecting one.

Consider all the above factors while making a decision on your car insurance. Choose wisely and travel safely.

Dubai Shopping Festival: A Sneak Peek

It’s that time of the year again! The latest edition of the world-renowned Dubai Shopping Festival, more popularly known as DSF is just around the corner. The month-long shopping and entertainment extravaganza is all set to kick-off on the 26th of December. Dubai will come to life with pop-up fashion shows, glittering fireworks, incredible mega sales, concerts and much more. Here’s a sneak peek into what you can expect as part of the festivities.

  • Sale Season: The five-week sale would feature over 700 brands showcasing their goods across over 3,200 outlets. The highly anticipated 12-hour long sale in Majid Al Futtaim malls will commence on the 26th of December at noon. With shops open till midnight, you will still have plenty of time after work to catch up with what’s on display. Top brands will be offering discounts ranging from 25 to 90 percent, exclusive offers and much more at their retail outlets. Keep your eyes and ears wide open as every weekend of the festival will get even more exciting with ‘Weekend Deals’ that will be announced by retailers just 24 hours prior to its commencement.

  • Market OTB: This edition of the DSF marks the fifth appearance of the “Market Outside the box” element. If you’re not a fan of ‘big’ brands and you’d rather admire the work of lesser known artisans and emerging brands, then the Market OTB which will be held at Burj Park is a place you should most definitely visit. You can drop-by not just for a bit of shopping but also to entertain yourself with some live performances in music, drama, dance, magic and so on. You can also catch up with some of the latest cinema and creative documentaries in pop-up cinemas. And don’t forget to bring your kids along too – there will be joy-rides, games and other activities that the tiny-tots in your family would find most enjoyable. Any shopping outing would be incomplete without some delicious food. Market OTB will be dotted with food trucks and eateries to serve your taste buds.

  • Prize contests: A wide array of exciting raffles are coming your way this DSF. Participate in mega raffles organized by noted brands such as the one by Infiniti. Buy one ticket worth AED 200 and if “luck” favours you, you might have a chance of winning the weekly prize of AED 20,000! Weekly winners then compete for a mega prize of, hold your breath, AED 500,000! There is also a contest organized by Nissan where you get a chance to drive away one of 7 Nissan flagship cars by making a non-fuel purchase of AED 20 at ENOC or EPPCO stations. Exciting, isn’t it?

  • Fireworks: The skies of Dubai are all set to be gloriously lit up again during this DSF. Every weekend during the month-long festival, there will be firework displays at various places such as The Global Village, The Beach at JBR and Dubai Creek. As this year’s DSF runs through the New Year’s eve, the occasion would be made all the more special. Come witness an explosion of bright colours against the beautiful night sky of Dubai!

  • Global Village Attractions: Global Village, the world’s leading multicultural festival park and a major entertainment & shopping hub will be playing host to over 3,500 shops through its 27 pavilions this December. The village will also provide a rich cultural experience as 75 unique cultures will be represented. Super-loop stunt shows, live concerts, cultural shows, circuses, themed food kiosks, thrill rides – the list is endless.

So make the most of the 24th edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival that features a wide array of family friendly events and retail bonanzas. Indulge yourself and ring in the New Year with happiness and joy.

Digital Banks – The Future is here!

The digital revolution has given a face-lift to all types of industries around us. So, it’s not really surprising that the Banking and Financial Sector has also risen to the occasion and revamped the way it operates. Banks across the UAE have been moving towards offering almost all of their services online. They have been investing heavily in technology to provide a better customer experience and to also reduce costs. As a result, in the near future, most of the brick and mortar offices of banks will be replaced by virtual ones in the digital space. This is a win-win situation for both customers and the banks. Read on to find out how banking of the future will benefit one and all.

  • Ease of Onboarding: You can now open an online account instantly in a completely paper-free environment. There is no need whatsoever for you to visit a branch. All you have to do is scan your Emirates ID and upload it to the app. Upon verification, within 24 hours your account will be opened and you will receive your debit card, chequebook and credit card by post, based on real-time credit bureau information. Accounts can be opened 24/7 from even the remotest part of the country.

  • Accessibility: Start banking with Digital banks that provide seamless, convenient, secured and cost-effective banking services. You can now pay bills, receive funds, check balances and perform other activities instantly through your smartphone anywhere and everywhere – on the go, instead of going to the bank every time you wish to do so. In case of your card being lost, you can secure it by simply toggling between the “off” and “on” mode for the card from your app.

  • Transfer funds: Easily scan details on your debit card from other banks and transfer funds into your digital account linked with the app at low charges. You can also make international transfers from your banking app for as low as AED 4 (ENBD liv).

  • Bill Splits: As a consumer, we rarely carry the correct change or physical cash to pay one another. With Digital Banking, you can split bills with your friends with ease. Pay from your app after which you can send automated notifications to your friends through social channels (such as Facebook and Whatsapp). An open list of people who owe you money will be maintained and once they’ve repaid you, their names will be crossed off. No more awkward conversations on how much you’re owed!

  • Exclusive services, products and offers: With certain digital banking services, doors will be opened to investment opportunities such as international stocks, gold and foreign currencies. Banks have also been promoting their digital platforms through incredible offers which you can cash in on. For instance, ADCB bank offers 17,000 touchpoints when you open your online account. Rewards with a cashback of up to AED 350 on your first credit card statement are also up for grabs. ENBD liv has recently offered a contest where maximum engagement with the app could win you a TESLA car!

  • Enhanced customer service: No more waiting in queues to meet your branch manager or a bank teller. Digital banks assist you with video interactions through a virtual relationship officer. You could also engage in an AI-enabled live chat session and get resolutions to your queries.

  • Smart Kiosks: Malls and shopping complexes across UAE are also being installed with Smart Kiosks, through which you can engage physically with automated devices of your bank. You could print cheques (limited to 6 a month), deposit cash into your account, replace debit cards, print account statements (albeit without a stamp) and much more.

  • Perspective: You can get personal insights into where you spend and how frequently. Easily track and compare your expenses over months, merchants or categories. The apps provide you with real time analytics with insights on transactional history and spending patterns.

By now you might have a fair idea as to how much digitisation of banks would help you as a customer. Prepare to empower yourself with an enriched and sophisticated banking experience like never before. Bid adieu to long waiting hours in bank offices and embrace smart digital banking options. Welcome to the new age of ‘digital’ banking!

Smart Payment Technologies: Google pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay etc., …what’s the big deal? Find out…

 

Through the years, the modes of payment that we use to make our purchases has evolved. From copper coins to printed notes to plastic cards, and now most recently, “mobile wallets”, technology has constantly redefined the way we shop. Each of these modes has outstripped its predecessor by overcoming its downsides. Let’s have a look at the how the most recent development, smart payment technology, is going to revolutionize this domain.

How does it work?

Although there are a host of technologies involved in the background to facilitate smartphone-enabled payments, the ease with which you, as a user, can quickly onboard on to this platform and start making purchases is quite straightforward. Below are the steps for you to get started:

  • Download the payment application, such as Google Pay, Samsung pay etc. for Android devices, or Apple pay for iPhones.

  • Manually enter information about your credit card(s) or debit card(s) of participating issuers/banks in the app.

  • Set a PIN, or in some cases, where supported by the device, use your fingerprint or iris scanner to make your application secure.

  • With this, you are on your way to making your first contactless payment for your next purchase. All you have to do is tap your device on the point-of-sale terminal at your retail outlet and voila, you have just “smartly paid” your bill!

Advantages

So how would owning a mobile wallet benefit you? Read on…

  • Convenience: There is no more a need for you to scramble through your wallets for coins or notes, swipe your card, provide a signature etc. Just one tap and you can quickly checkout and walk away with your purchase.

  • Security: Your hard-earned money is as secure in your mobile wallet than anywhere else. Back in the day, if you lost your wallet or if it was stolen, not only did you lose cash but you also ran the risk of having your credit cards swiped for a huge sum by a miscreant. With a smartphone, even if you lose the phone, no one can access your mobile wallet without your PIN or biometric information. Your card information is encrypted and stored separately in a secure data-vault.

  • Privacy: Your mobile wallets do not know what you purchased or paid for; the transactions are only between you and the merchant establishment. Your credit card number, CVV and other information is never shared with the merchant establishment. The mobile wallet uses a “token” as stand-in information and each transaction is combined with this token and a one-time security code (more like a virtual account number).

  • Other Benefits: You can pay all your bills from your wallet with just one touch, be it mobile post-paid, electricity, water bills, telecom, and so on. Some digital wallets also offer you exciting reward points and loyalty benefits to encourage usage. Also, a majority of wallets can help you split your bills with your friends the next time you are at a restaurant. You can also get customized reports on your spending habits from your wallet and make better budgets.

Disadvantages

As always, there are two sides to a coin. While there is a lot of value you can get by using digital wallets, there are also a few downsides which you must be aware of:

  • Smartphone dependency: If you lose your phone or your battery dies out, you cannot make payments.

  • Limited Retail Support: It is important to note that Smart payment is an emerging technology and therefore, only a handful of retail outlets support it currently. Apple pay, a widely accepted payment in North America is still at its early stages as only 36% percent of retail outlets support it. Some retail outlets are also wallet-sensitive, like in the case of Walmart which accepts only payments from the Walmart-pay app.

  • Other downsides: In developing countries, poor internet infrastructure can cause you hassles while making payments. Smartphones (and particularly ones that support “Near Field Communication” required for smart payments) are not ubiquitous.

Cashless payments is a top government priority in UAE. From being a cash-based economy, the country is moving leaps and bounds towards being a cashless economy. This is currently driven by aggressive credit card marketing leading the shift to plastic money. Samsung Pay, Apple pay, Citi pay, Payit by FGB, NBD Pay, Beam are a few popular digital wallets available in the UAE.

It’s only a matter of time before digital payments becomes mainstream. Ride the digital wave and get yourself a mobile wallet (if you don’t already have one)!

5 hacks you must know to choose the best Personal Loan (without a salary transfer).

 

While the first and the best solution is always go for a Salary transfer loans, there are situations where in one might have to look at a Personal Loan which does not require a Salarty transfer. Some of the reasons might be.

1)A second loan while a Salary Transfer Loan is still being serviced.

2) Company is not listed for a Salary Transfer loan and hence non Salary transfer loan.

In this topic, let us understand the key elements which need to be considered while choosing a Personal Loan in UAE without a Salary Transfer requriement.

A Personal loan is an unsecured loan which simply means that the borrower is typically not required to provide any collateral for the amount that is being borrowed. These loans have the advantage of lesser paperwork involved and thus a lesser processing time. Though personal loans are easily available, they generally carry a higher ate of interest than a Salary Transfer Loan.

UAE banks offer personal loan facility to customers and the ease of availing such a loan can be as early as 2 hours to 5 working days from an application processing perspective.

So here are 5 hacks that you must know in order to choose the best personal loan.

  1. Right Tenure : It is important to choose a tenure of repayment that would be just fine considering your monthly budget. A longer period of repayment might mean lower EMI. At first sight, this might seem very tempting. But in reality, you might end up paying a lot more in the long run than you bargained for. Let’s say you apply for a loan for AED 50,000 at 6.5% interest rate for 1 year. The interest that you need to pay would be AED 1782, whereas it would be AED 3458 for a 2 year loan period. The difference between these two interests, which is AED 1676, is quite significant. Though the EMI might seem to be attractively lower for the 2-year period, the Interest paid might make you rethink your decision.

              

  1. Borrow what you can repay: Some banks may offer you a loan amount that is more than what you require at the moment. This might be appealing as you might want to set aside this for some other expenses. But it is only advisable to borrow the amount that you might need. You might be also currently making payments towards other borrowed loans. In such a case, you should ensure that the total EMI outflow for all loans combined is not more than 50-60% of your total monthly income.

  2. Charges – Know the costs: The interest rate charges should not be the sole factor while choosing between loans offered by multiple banks. Loan origination fees, application fees, late payment fees, fore closure fees and other charges should also be taken into account. For instance if you have excess funds with you and are considering a fore-closure, a bank which charges low or no penalty for the foreclosue would be beneficial. Processing fees is another charge that you should keep in mind ( usually at 2-3 %)

  3. Credit Rating: A credit score, also known as the credit rating that is given by banks for your profile is based on the repayment history of loans previously taken, monthly income and other such factors. UAE uses Al Etihad Credit Bureau. You can get a copy of your credit report by visiting one of the Customer Happiness Centers by providing an Original Emirates ID card and passport copy. There is a nominal charge for the issuance of the report. For locations please visit Al Etihad Credit bureau website. Read our blogbuster “How to improve my credit rating”( http://blog.soulwallet.com/2018/10/19/how-to-improve-my-credit-rating/). The higher the score, the better the chances of the loan being sanctioned. The rate of interest and other charges also might vary depending on the score. It is thus critical that you keep a clean slate with no defaulted payments. You could also consider the credit history of a cosignee (such as your spouse’s) and jointly make an application for the loan. The Cosignee’s credit rating along with yours could improve chances of loan approval.

  4. Making the right choice: It may not be wise to accept the first choice of loan that you come across. It is important to shop around and find the best one that suits your need before signing on the dotted line. Consider the Interest rates, Early settlement fee, Minimum monthly salary required and other such factors of each of the available choices of loans and then make a decision. A comparison simluator such as the one shown below enables you to view the attributes of loans across multiple banks side by side and could consequently help you make a better judgement.

Personal loan might be an appealing quick fix while you are in need of some immediate cash. Therefore, it is only advisable to be aware of all terms and conditions of the agreement and make wise decisions so as to not choose one which weighs heavy on your shoulders.

As 2018 comes to an end, it’s time to review your wallet. Cashback, Travel or Reward Points, which credit card to choose? Here is our pick for you.

 

While we are in the process of choosing a credit card, one of the dilemmas we face is in deciding which type of reward card to choose. This is a common concern especially in a market like the UAE which has more than 200 different type of credit cards.

After being in the consumer banking industry for more than a decade, I personally find this an interesting dilemma to deal with. Rewards as we all know are ways of creating loyalty by banks while encouraging higher spends on their credit cards. Why do banks reward credit card usage? The obvious reasons are to increase spend on their products while also building loyalty. Banks employ experts who work on creating reward programs to attract their customers. They identify what the customers need or value the most and design the reward programs accordingly.

Please note that we are not referring to the various features and benefits commonly offered on most credit cards. These benefits can include dining discounts, complimentary golf access, valet parking, fitness club membership and so on. Reward programs are almost standard across the UAE market while specific designs and constructs are customized by each bank. There are primarily three different types of rewards that customers can get in the UAE.

Cash back Credit Cards:

The most popular reward where customers receive a certain amount of cash back as a credit on the card based on their usage. The qualification and the reward rates may vary from card to card. This is very popular because it can be deemed to be a discount on the purchase. How does one go about identifying which is the best one?

It is important to understand that cashback rates can be different across different spend categories, there may be maximum usage caps to avail cashback, the methods of redemption may vary from fee waivers to automated statement credits and so on. Hence, it is not necessary that a credit card which offers a 2% cash back is better than one which offers 1.5%. You need to consider the following as well:

a. Does the credit card offer you the maximum rewards from a cash back perspective for ‘Your Customized’ spend, i.e. for the specific categories that YOU typically spend on?

b. How does the cash back redemption happen – is it automatic or does this need a call back or request has to be raised for fulfilment? Which credit card provides the most easy and convenient option?

c. Small print: Are there any usage caps? Are there any exclusions? Are there any specific merchant criteria? Are there any timelines? These are points to consider while choosing the best cash back credit card for you.

d. Other benefits: Does the card have the benefits that you might want -complimentary airport lounge access, movie tickets, golf offers, valet parking etc? Explore!

SoulWallet’s “Saving Simulator” tool uses a smart algorithm which can give you an excellent indication on which credit card gives you the maximum savings based on your individual customized spend.

Airmiles / Travel Credit Cards:

Did you know that 2/3rds of the world’s population lives within 8 hours and 1/3rd within 4 hours of the UAE (Source: Gulf News)? With an expat population of close to 80%, travel is not a luxury but indeed a necessity for all UAE residents. Thus, it is not surprising that travel credit cards are very popular among UAE residents. These cards are usually loaded with benefits such as complimentary airport lounge access, marhaba meet & greet services, travel insurance, hotel discounts, free flight tickets and many more features.

Travel reward credit cards give you miles or travel points based on your card usage. The benefits don’t end there as free checked bags or airline fee credits may also be a part of the rewards package. There are broadly two types of travel credit cards:

a. Co-branded Travel cards: generally these are linked with a specific airline and offer value miles which can be redeemed with a specific airline. For e.g. Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest Airmiles and so on.
b. Bank-specific Airmiles cards: As a unique proposition offered by some banks where customers earn airmiles on their credit card spend which can then be redeemed with multiple airlines (based on the bank’s agreement with these airlines). The redemption rates may vary from one airline to another.

What are the key points to consider while choosing an Airmiles or a Travel Card?

a. Earn rate: In simple terms find out how much your spend is going to be rewarded in airmiles. For example, every USD of spend could earn you 1 Air mile.

b. Burn rate: How many miles do you need to spend to avail a free ticket or an upgrade? This might vary from bank to bank and might also include black out zones for booking with airlines.

c. Now the interesting question-do you get a joining bonus offer? There are several banks which offer irresistible joining bonus miles offers most of the time.

d. Is there a validity for these miles? In other words, do they expire if not redeemed within a specific period?

e. Benefits and Features: Does the card offer you benefits such as complimentary airport lounge access, airport pickup and drop, travel insurance, travel insurance certificates and so on. Do your research, compare all these options on the Soulwallet Credit Cards page and then make an informed decision.

Reward Points Cards:

These cards are popular among those who shop frequently. Banks offer reward points for spends incurred on their credit cards. These reward points can be redeemed in multiple ways including vouchers from your favourite malls or for purchasing, jewellery, holiday tours, electronics, beauty products and many more.

What are the key points to consider while choosing a Reward Points card?

a. Find out what is the worth of your spend from a reward point perspective i.e what is the value of 1 Reward point in AED?
b. Is there any expiry period for these points? If yes, what are the conditions?
c. Do the points get forfeited or lapsed in case payments are missed?
d. How can these points be redeemed? Is it an easy process or a complex one?
e. Does the reward card come with the required benefits as per your requirements?
f. Can you switch between different reward types?

While each of the above typesof credit cards (travel, cashback, reward points) caters to a specific need, it can also potentially be beneficial to have one of each type to maximise your savings and benefits. Provided one has a healthy credit score and manages credit card usage smartly and responsibly.

With 2018 coming to an end, it makes sense to review your wallet and see if you have the right credit card(s) for you. It only takes a few minutes to browse through the most suitable options on SoulWallet (www.soulwallet.com) and identify credit cards with the best savings for you using the “Savings Simulator”. After all, why say no to the idea of saving a few more valuable dirhams?