Emirates Skywards Credit Cards

All you need to know about Emirates Skywards Credit Cards!

The Emirates Skywards miles programme is one of the best, premium airmiles programmes offered by any airline in the world. It gives members the opportunity to redeem their Emirates Skywards miles against flight ticket purchases and ticket upgrades on Emirates airlines in addition to other options such as hotels and travel bookings.

Skywards miles programme members can earn miles by purchasing tickets on Emirates airlines, however, another popular option to earn miles used by thousands of UAE residents is by using an Emirates Skywards co-branded credit card. These credit cards are issued as part of a joint arrangement between Emirates Airlines and the banks issuing the credit cards.

In the UAE there are several such co-branded airline credit cards offered by many banks. While the main objective to apply for an miles credit card is primarily to earn rewards in the form of “miles” and use those miles for flight tickets and upgrades there are other unique benefits offered by these cards which also vary significantly from one credit card to another. The focus of this article are Emirates Skywards co-branded credit cards and to help readers understand which of the many options available are best suited to them.

Banks in UAE that currently offer Emirates Skywards co-branded credit cards are –

  • Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)
  • Citibank
  • Dubai Islamic Bank
  • Emirates Islamic Bank
  • Emirate NBD

Across these 6 banks there are currently a total of 14 different Emirates Skywards credit cards offered. These are broadly categorised based on the minimum income required to be eligible for each credit card, the features and benefits offered, annual fees charged and so on.

Income Eligibility

The monthly minimum income requirement for Emirates Skywards credit cards are as below:

Credit CardMin. Salary
Dubai Islamic Emirates Skywards Platinum Credit CardAED 5,000
Citibank Emirates WorldAED 12,000
Emirates Islamic Skywards Signature Credit Card AED 12,000
ADIB Emirates Skywards World CardAED 15,000
Dubai Islamic Emirates Skywards Signature Credit CardAED 15,000
Emirates NBD Skywards Signature Credit CardAED 15,000
Citibank Emirates UltimateAED 18,000
ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite Card AED 25,000
RAKBANK Emirates Skywards World Elite Mastercard Credit CardAED 25,000
Emirates Islamic Skywards Infinite Credit Card AED 25,000
Emirates NBD Skywards Infinite Credit CardAED 30,000
Dubai Islamic Emirates Skywards Infinite Credit Card AED 35,000
Citibank Emirates Ultima AED 36,750


Which is “The Best Emirates Skywards credit card” in the UAE?

While many readers would want to scroll directly to this section to find out the ‘best’, the reality, as is often the case, is that among the many options available there is no single “Best Emirates Skywards credit card” for everyone. Different Skywards credit cards offer different benefits. In the sections below we will help you identify which one is the “the best Skywards credit card for you” based on your specific needs, spend patterns and priorities as an individual.

Please note that the best credit cards identified tend to be ‘premium’ credit cards as they understandably have the highest rewards as well as features and benefits that the bank can offer. As such, these Skywards cards are likely to have higher annual membership fees. However, the benefits offered by these credit cards most often can easily justify the annual fees charged. This is especially true if the cardholder takes advantage of the specific features and benefits on offer – another reason to ensure they apply for credit cards most suited to their specific needs. However, there are also a few Emirates Skywards credit cards which have very low annual fees while still offering good benefits which can also be considered.EARNING SKYWARDS MILES FROM EVEN REGULAR ‘EVERY DAY’ SPENDS

Best for – Maximum Miles Earning Potential

This is perhaps the most important feature to be considered for any Emirates Skywards co-branded credit card as the main purpose for a cardholder is to maximize Skywards miles earned by using their credit cards.

This is also an aspect where there are significant differences in earning rates and eligibility requirements between the different Skywards credit card options available. Readers are advised to review the conditions carefully before arriving at a decision on which card is best suited to their specific spend patterns.

It is important to note that the cards in this category typically do not offer high earn rates on some regular, day-to-day categories such as groceries, utilities, fuel, school fees etc. but instead offer very high earn rates on almost all other types of spends - think electronics, clothes, luxury, travel, dining and most other categories. Depending on the individual’s spend patterns these cards are potentially the best options to earn the absolute maximum Skywards miles from your credit card spends.

ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite Credit Card

Emirates Islamic Bank Skywards Black Credit Card

Citibank Emirates Ultima credit card

The ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite credit card is an excellent option to maximise your Skywards miles earnings as it offers 3 Skywards miles per USD spent at Emirates Airline as well as offering 2 Skywards miles/USD for foreign currency spends and 1.5 Skyward miles/USD for domestic purchases.

The Emirates Islamic Bank Skywards Black Credit Card offers 3.5 Skywards miles for every 1 USD spent at Emirates airlines. This is the highest offered by any credit card in the UAE currently.

The Citibank Ultima credit card offers an extremely attractive combination of a high miles earn rate along with very minimal spend category restrictions. This credit card offers an even better earning rate on purchases made at Emirates as compared to the DIB Skywards Infinite credit card (which is also a great option). So, if you are a big spender at Emirates then this is the card to get to maximise your Skywards rewards. Compared to the Dubai Islamic bank Skywards Infinite card, it pays a lower earnings rate on two specific categories.
Earn rates are lower for specific everyday categories such as groceries, utilities, government spends, fuel, school fees, Salik etc. but for almost every other type of spend category this is an excellent option. In addition to the high Skyward miles earn rates, this card also has other very compelling features including complimentary Emirates Airlines home check-ins, Skyward Gold tier membership and so on.
In addition to this, it also offers 2 Skyward miles per USD equivalent of foreign currency spends and 1.5 Skyward miles per USD of domestic spends. This is again the highest offered by any Skywards credit card in the UAE (along with the ADIB World Elite Skywards credit card which also offers the same).

While this card has lower earn rates for some specific every day categories (grocery, fuel, utilities etc.) for all other purchases this is indeed a really powerful option to maximise your Skywards miles earnings.
Emirates Skywards miles earned per USD (equivalent) spent on the card:
2.5 Skywards miles for purchases made at Emirates online or at Emirates sales offices
1.5 Skyward miles for purchases made in foreign currencies
1 Skyward mile for all other local purchases
Spends at groceries/supermarkets and related to real estate will earn 0.5 Skywards miles per USD of spend and government services and utilities spends earn no miles

Best for – Earning Skyward Miles From Even Regular “Everyday” spends

These credit cards have the most ‘coverage’ of spend categories, that is they hardly exclude any category of spends from earning miles. Hence these cards have the advantage of ensuring that you earn Skywards miles no matter whether you’re buying groceries or paying for your child’s school fees.

Depending on your individual spend patterns, these cards could potentially save you the most of all the Skywards credit card options available. To see your specific individual savings on each please use the Savings Calculator on www.soulwallet.com.
Emirates Skywards Dubai Islamic Bank Infinite Credit Card

RAKBANK Emirates Skywards World Elite Credit Card

Dubai Islamic Bank Emirates Skywards Signature Credit Card

DIB Skywards signature
The Emirates Skywards Dubai Islamic Bank Infinite Credit Card is arguably the best credit card to maximise Emirates Skywards miles earnings as it offers an excellent combination of high earn rates on specific categories as well as no excluded spend categories.

This is indeed a rarity as almost all other Emirates Skywards credit cards have restrictions on some segments of spend (such as groceries, utilities and so on) which have a lower earning rate.
The RAKBANK Emirates Skywards World Elite credit card is also a great option to earn rewards on regular everyday spends. This card has a different way of awarding points – a fixed number of points are awarded for specific spend ranges.

As the number of Skywards miles are fixed for a specific spend range the actual earn rate can vary depending on how much you have specifically spent within that range. But rest assured, it is very competitive with other options available and again with the key benefit of not excluding several regular day to day spend categories (groceries, fuel, telecom, utilities etc.).

This card does, however, have a maximum cap of 40,000 Skyward miles per month.
The Emirates Skywards Dubai Islamic Bank Signature Credit Card is a great option just like it’s bigger “brother” the DIB Skywards Infinite credit card.

While it offers a slightly lower earn rate it also has a lower annual fee (AED 1,500 vs. AED 2,500) and also has the added benefit of having a lower minimum salary requirement (AED 15,000 vs. AED 35,000 for the Infinite).

It also offers an excellent combination of high earn rates on specific categories as well as no excluded spend categories.
The Emirates Skywards Dubai Islamic Bank Infinite Credit Card awards miles per USD (equivalent) spent on the credit card as below:

2 Skywards miles for purchases made at Emirates online or at Emirates sales offices
1.5 Skyward miles for purchases made in foreign currencies
1 Skyward mile for all other local purchases

A cap of AED 25,000 on government spends per statement (which we believe is quite generous!)
Spend based Tiers:

- 600 miles for 2000-4999
- 2000 miles for 5000-9,999
- 5000 miles for 10,000-19999
- 8000 miles for 20000-29999
- 11000 miles for 30000-39999
- 16000 miles for 40000-49999
- 20000 miles for 50000-74999
- 30000 miles for 75000-99999
- 40000 miles for > 100,000
The Emirates Skywards Dubai Islamic Bank Infinite Credit Card awards miles per USD (equivalent) spent on the credit card as below:

1.5 Skywards miles for purchases made at Emirates online or at Emirates sales offices
1 Skyward miles for purchases made in foreign currencies
0.75 Skyward mile for all other local purchases

A cap of AED 25,000 on government spends per statement (which we believe is quite generous!)

Best for – “Bonus” Skywards Miles:

Several credit cards award “bonus” Emirates Skywards miles based on specific criteria, such as a minimum spend levels achieved on the credit card within a specific time period. In this category, there can be varying opinions on which is the “best” option as some cards award higher total maximum bonus miles but at the same time require higher spend levels and over shorter time periods as well. The “best” option here would be determined by the individual’s specific spend patterns.
ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite Credit Card & ADIB Emirates Skywards World Credit Card

Emirates NBD Skywards Infinite Credit Card

Emirates Skywards Dubai Islamic Bank Infinite Credit Card

ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite Credit Card & ADIB Emirates Skywards World Credit

Cardholders can get up to 120,000 bonus Emirates Skywards miles with this card.
50,000 welcome bonus Emirates Skywards miles are awarded plus an additional 70,000 bonus miles if a minimum retail spend of AED 140,000 is achieved within 6 months of card issuance.
The Emirates NBD Skywards Infinite credit card offers cardholders the opportunity to earn up to 100,000 bonus Emirates Skywards miles:Emirates Skywards Dubai Islamic Bank Infinite Credit Card
offers cardholders the opportunity to earn up to 75,000 Emirates Skywards Miles
This credit card has a good combination of the total bonus miles awarded and the overall minimum spend requirement over a period of 6 months. In addition, there are no specific spend category restrictions.
35,000 “Welcome Joining Miles” on payment of the joining fee
40,000 additional “spend based miles” if cumulative retail spend of USD 20,000 is achieved within 3 months
"Annual miles”: 25,000 miles will be credited if USD 7,500 is spent at Emirates (online or at sales offices) within the first 12 months
25,000 miles on card activation
25,000 miles if spend of USD
20,000 is achieved in the first 4 statements
25,000 on balance transfer (minimum balance transfer of AED 50,000)

Best for – Joining offers:

While it is usually not advisable to apply for a credit only to take advantage of a specific joining offer by the bank, it is worthwhile considering the joining offers in addition to all other benefits and features offered by these credit cards.
Citibank Emirates Ultima credit card
Citibank Emirates Ultimate credit card

Citibank Emirates World credit card
Customers who apply online can get AED 2,000 back as a statement credit if a minimum retail spend of AED 25,000 is made within 90 days of the credit card being approved. Pls do verify on Citibank website before proceeding as this offer might change.

Customers can avail AED 1000 worth gift cards on booking. This offer is exclusive to customers who apply on Soulwallet.com
Customers that apply online on Citibank UAE can get AED 800 as a statement credit if a minimum retail spend of AED 20,000 is made within 90 days of the credit card being approved.Pls do verify on Citibank website before proceeding as this offer might change.

Customers can avail AED 1000 worth gift cards on booking. This offer is exclusive to customers who apply on Soulwallet.com
Customers that apply online on Customers that apply online on Citibank UAE can get AED 400 as a statement credit if a minimum retail spend of AED 10,000 is made within 90 days of the credit card being approved.Pls do verify on Citibank website before proceeding as this offer might change.

Customers can avail AED 500 worth gift cards on booking. This offer is exclusive to customers who apply on Soulwallet.com

Best for –Emirates Skywards Tier Membership

As most readers are probably aware the Emirates Skywards Miles programme offers different “Tiers” of membership – Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each of these tiers offer different benefits to members, with the type and number of benefits increasing in that order – starting with Blue and ending with Platinum which offers the maximum benefits.

An important feature offered by some Emirates Skywards co-branded credit cards is automatic membership for the cardholder into a higher tier of the Emirates Skywards programme simply by virtue of having the credit card. This saves cardholders from having to meet the minimum “tier” miles required to be eligible for the specific tier level, obtained normally through purchase of tickets on Emirates airlines.

In this aspect as well, there are a few differences in the options available among the various Emirates Skywards credit cards. Many cards offer direct membership to the Silver Tier for the primary cardholder. A few credit cards also provide supplementary card holders the opportunity to enjoy Silver status, subject to a few conditions being met. However, only 3 credit cards offer cardholders the option to upgrade to the Gold Tier Skywards membership. This can be considered to be a significant perk of having the card by people who value the Gold membership tier in the Emirates Skywards program (which offers, among other benefits, 16kgs of excess baggage allowance, guaranteed seats even on fully booked flights and so on).
ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite Credit Card & ADIB Emirates Skywards World Credit Card

RAKBANK Emirates Skywards World Elite Mastercard Credit Card
Emirates Islamic Bank Skywards Black Credit Card

This card offers cardholders Skywards Silver Tier membership as a basic feature of the card. However, in addition it also offers cardholders the option to upgrade their Silver Skywards membership tier to the Gold tier if they spend AED 5,500 at Emirates Airlines within 12 months of getting the card.

What’s more this card also offers the supplementary cardholder with the opportunity to upgrade to Gold tier status if a total spend of AED 200,000 is achieved in 12 months and 5,500 of that is spent at Emirates Airlines.

The RAKBANK Emirates Skywards World Elite Mastercard offers cardholders Silver tier membership as a default offering. Additionally, it also offers the opportunity to fast-track to Skywards Gold tier membership based on the below criteria being met:

Placing a deposit of AED 500,000 in the customer’s RAKBANK Emirates Skywards savings account. This credit card also offers supplementary cardholders the option to enroll in the Skywards Silver Tier membership at a fee of AED 900 per year.
This card offers customers Silver membership as a default tier for maintain the card. However, similar to the ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite credit card the Emirates Islamic Bank Skywards Black credit card offers customers the opportunity to upgrade to the Skywards Gold tier status by simply spending AED 5,500 at Emirates on their credit card (no additional spend criteria required).

This card also provides the option for the supplementary to be upgraded to the Skywards Gold tier membership by spending AED 5,500 at Emirates and by paying an annual membership fee of AED 4,000.

Best for – Association Benefits

Credit card associations refer to organizations that set common transaction terms for merchants, issuing banks and acquiring banks. The associations we are referring to in our context here are Visa and Mastercard. All the Emirates Skywards credit cards issued in the UAE are either associated with Visa or Mastercard.

The relevance of this for a cardholder is that there are specific benefits and features offered by these associations to the cardholder by virtue of the partnership between the bank and the association. Similar to the different tier levels available in the Emirates Skywards miles programme, both Visa and Mastercard offer different “tiers” or levels of benefits for different credit card types.

Please note that these association features are offered in partnership with the banks and are for the most part a standard offering for the specific credit card type across all banks. Examples of these include VIP airport lounge access, travel insurance cover, car rental offers and so on. Please note that the type of benefits offered vary significantly between Visa and Mastercard.

These (Visa/Mastercard) features must not be confused with specific features offered by banks directly to their cardholders which are not part of the Visa or Mastercard benefits. Examples of such bank-specific features include complimentary valet parking, cinema tickets, airport transfer offers and so on.

Customers are advised to review closely all the features offered for each credit card to understand all the benefits available before arriving at the best credit suited to them.

Below is a categorization of the available Emirates Skywards options based on their Visa or Mastercard credit card association type:

1. Mastercard World Elite:
This is the top-of-the-line tier of credit card benefits offered by Mastercard and are available in the following credit cards:

ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite credit card
Citibank Emirates Ultimate credit card
RAKBANK Emirates Skywards World Elite Mastercard credit card

2. Mastercard World:

This is the second highest tier of credit card benefits offered by Mastercard and are available in the following credit cards:

ADIB Emirates Skywards World credit card
Citibank Emirates World credit card

1. Visa Infinite:
This is the top-of-the-line tier of credit card benefits offered by Visa and are available in the following credit cards:
Citibank Emirates Ultima credit card

Dubai Islamic Emirates Skywards Infinite credit card
Emirates Islamic Bank Emirates Skyward Black credit card
Emirates Islamic Skywards Infinite credit card
Emirates NBD Skywards Infinite credit card

2. Visa Signature:

This is the second highest tier of credit card benefits offered by Visa and are available in the following credit cards:

Dubai Islamic Emirates Skywards Signature credit card
Emirates Islamic Skywards Signature credit card
Emirates NBD Skywards Signature credit card

3. Visa Platinum:

This is the third highest tier of credit card benefits offered by Visa and are available in the following credit cards:
Dubai Islamic Emirates Platinum credit card

All relevant features of this credit card, along with side-by-side comparisons can be seen at: www.soulwallet.com

Best for – Low-Fee, High Value Offered

Citi Emirates Ultimate Credit Card

While most of the above credit cards are premium credit cards and have reasonably high annual fees, the Citi Emirates Ultimate credit card offers excellent benefits for a very reasonable annual fee of only AED 800. Not only is this among the lowest fees on an Emirates Skywards credit card, this card also offers customers to earn the annual fee back as a statement credit if retail spend of AED 20,000 is made within 90 days of getting the card.

This card also has a very healthy Skyward miles earning rate of 1.25 Skyward miles per USD for all international spends and 1 Skyward mile per USD of domestic spends. Other benefits include free VIP airport lounge access for the cardholder plus a guest at over 1,000 lounges worldwide and golf and movie offers in the UAE.

Unique benefits offered by some Emirates Skywards credit cards:

  • Complimentary Emirates Airlines home check-in 4 times a year – ADIB Emirates Skywards World Elite Credit Card.
  • Complimentary access to Emirates Towers Health Club at any time, any day – Dubai Islamic Skywards Infinite Credit Card.
  • 15% discount on buying Emirates Skywards Miles – RAKBANK Emirates Skywards World Elite Credit Card.

The below Emirates Skywards credit cards all offer the primary cardholder complimentary Skywards Silver Tier membership as a benefit:

  •  Citibank Emirates Ultima credit card
  • Dubai Islamic Emirates Skywards Infinite credit card
  • Emirates Islamic Skywards Infinite credit card
  • Emirates NBD Skywards Infinite credit card
  • ADIB Emirates Skywards World credit card

All relevant features of this credit card, along with side-by-side comparisons can be seen at: www.soulwallet.com

We hope this article has been useful in giving you a better understanding of the various Emirates Skywards miles credit card options available in the UAE. While we have highlighted the best options for specific benefits offered by these credit cards we highly recommend that you review all the features in detail before deciding which is the best credit card for you. After all, the process of identifying the best option and applying for a credit card is not something undertaken on a regular basis and therefore getting it right will not only help one maximise potential saves but will also help enjoy specific benefits most relevant to your individual preferences.

Detailed features and benefits along with side-by-side comparisons of all these credit cards can be found at www.soulwallet.com.

Five Strategies to Manage Credit Card Debt Amidst Covid-19

We are essentially one year since Covid-19 has utterly transformed our lives. From our constrained day-to-day routines to the way that we interact with others, we are all trying our best to retain a sense of normalcy during these uncertain times.

One area of our lives which may not seem normal is our finances. Whether you have lost your job or are struggling to pay your bills, you may have taken on credit card debt to get through this global pandemic. While it’s unclear when the pandemic will end, there are several strategies you can take today to manage your credit card debt.

Strategy One: Consolidate Your Debt

Debt consolidation can be an attractive option to manage your credit card debt. If you haven’t yet heard of debt consolidation, it is essentially taking a high-interest credit card (or credit cards) and combining your debt into one lower payment. Not only are you paying a lower interest rate, but you are paying only one credit card bill per month. In exchange,

You can leverage debt consolidation by either taking on a debt consolidation loan or by rolling over your credit card balance onto a 0% interest credit card. This strategy is more suited for individuals who have significant amounts of credit card debt, rather than those with more minimal debt.

Crucially, however, consolidating your debt may result in a longer repayment period. You may have a smaller month-to-month payment, but you may be paying more in the long run. Keep this in mind as you are considering this strategy.

Strategy Two: Try to Pay More Than Your Minimum Payment

While it may seem simple, this is an outstanding strategy to minimize your credit card debt. Credit card companies want you to pay the minimum amount on your credit card statement (which is typically 2-3% of the overall balance). However, by paying this minimum balance, you are actually paying more later. This is because interest accrues on the remaining balance. The more you have on your balance, the more interest that you will need to pay.

Because of this, you should think hard about paying more than your credit card’s minimum payment. That said, there’s a fine line between paying more than your minimum and also having free cash to spend on other daily necessities. While you will need to make that determination yourself, paying more than your minimum credit card payment can save you money in the long run.

Strategy Three: Prioritize Your Debts

Prioritizing your debts can help you save some much-needed cash. The core of this strategy is looking at your credit card balances and focusing on paying off the card with the highest interest rate. This is a simple, yet effective strategy. Higher interest rate credit cards will cost you more in the long run, so you should pay off those bills first (ideally, more than your minimum payment).

You can also prioritize paying off a credit card with the lowest balance. This can remove one balance so that you can focus on your other balances. In the end, these are two ways that prioritizing your debts can help you obtain financial relief.

Strategy Four: Become a Great Budgeter

Part of getting into credit card debt is spending money that you may not necessarily have. Because of this, one natural way to manage your credit card debt is to impose spending discipline.

This can be especially difficult amidst Covid-19. While your income may have substantially decreased, your expenses may have remained the same. As hard as it may be, see if you can cut out any extraneous expenses. You may need to make some sacrifices right now. But by doing so, you will use that cash to pay off your credit card debt. Before you know it, you will be debt-free and will be able to adopt your old lifestyle.

Strategy Five: Contact Your Creditors

This strategy may seem a bit unconventional, but it has worked in the past. If you have excessive credit card debt that you’re struggling to pay off, don’t hesitate to contact your creditors. The natural place to start is your credit card company. Do some research on their website and see if they have any type of hardship program. That hardship program may have already existed before Covid-19 or the company may have implemented a new program due to the pandemic. Check out your options and see if you are eligible for these types of programs.

If that fails, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and directly contact your creditor. Explain your current situation and share your track record of consistent payments (if you have one). By doing this, you may find a hardship program that substantially eases your financial pressure.

Relief on the Horizon

As you can see, there are several different options that can help you manage your credit card debt. While each of these options can provide real relief, you need to determine the best option (or options) for you. From there, aggressively pursue those options. By being bold and aggressive, you will get that much closer to relieving your financial pressure.


balance transfer

5 Things You Must Know About Balance Transfers on Credit Cards

Balance transfer helps the credit card holder to pay off the balance amount on an existing card by transferring it to another card. A customer is usually drawn towards credit card balance transfers to avail lower promotional rates of interest and additional benefits like rewards programs, points, etc .. Most credit card companies aim to entice cardholders by waiving the balance transfer fee. They might even offer an introductory period of 6-18 months, during which no interest would be charged on the sum transferred.

Scrutiny of these offers is imperative to benefit. By being attentive you can gain a significant advantage while avoiding high interest rates during debt payment.

1. Zero interest card vs. balance transfer fee

When you are executing a balance transfer, you’re required to pay an interest of 3 to 5% of the total transferred amount, called the balance transfer fee. Although this can add up to a hefty amount on top of your balance, it might still be less than a card with high interest rate. It is important to calculate how much you are saving with a zero-interest credit card, compared to your current monthly interest rate. Choose what’s best for you- a card with 0% interest for an introductory period with an applicable balance transfer fee, or one without the zero-interest feature but no balance transfer fee.

2. Your credit score might get hit

If you’re planning to apply for a new credit card, be ready to brace your credit score from taking a hard hit. Whether your application is approved for the card or not, your credit score could decline after the enquiry. Canceling your original credit card upon making the balance transfer could result in your average account age to drop, as well as cause your total available credit to dwindle. So, beware of these factors impacting your credit score negatively. A simple way out of this mess is not to close the original card but to continue it with zero balance. Nonetheless, if you’re easily tempted to use the original card, then it’s best to close it.

3. The offer is temporary

It is important to remember that the zero-interest offer is only temporary for 6-18 months, and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will escalate once the introductory period gets over. Don’t let the low APRs tempt you, try to pay off your balance within this period itself. Make sure that you don’t miss the opportunity to pay off your debt while it is still low, and not start to accumulate high interests on your balance again.

4. Scrutinize the terms of your card

Your application has to be approved to avail a 0% promotional rate of interest. Also if the credit limit on your 0% balance transfer credit card is so low that it doesn’t even cover the amount you require, there’s no way the card can help you (even after you’re approved for one). You’ll simply have to pay two amounts instead of one, every month. Hence, remember to scrutinize the terms of what you’re getting yourself into. As promotional APR offers can exclude balance transfers, check whether the 0% interest is applicable on balance transfers and/or purchases, as a lot of companies offer it for either one.

5. Avoid making new purchases

If you’re an impulsive shopper, it is advisable to steer clear of getting a new credit card. If you keep adding debt to the original balance transferred via another credit card, it’s bound to put you in a worse position than where you started. More often than not, the 0% interest isn’t valid for new purchases, which means you’ll end up accumulating new interest immediately upon making that new purchase. Therefore, it’s best if you don’t start making new payments with your balance transfer credit card.

Your focus should be on strategically decreasing your debt through your balance transfer credit card. Make sure to enquire about each & every term singularly: starting from the expiration date of the 0% APR, to the interest rate after the introductory period, applicable balance transfer fee, and least monthly payment.


soulwallet car insurance

The 9 most important things to keep in mind while buying car insurance in the UAE

Are you looking to buy an Insurance policy or renew an existing policy? We know that this can be a little confusing and tedious with so many options available in the UAE.  Below are some key points which can help one make a smart decision while purchasing a motor insurance policy.

1) Get an accurate Vehicle Evaluation

Understand the value of your vehicle and how it impacts your insurance premium. Insurance companies usually evaluate your vehicle based on parameters such as age and overall condition. It is important to get a proper evaluation before one close out on the price. New cars usually have lesser depreciation value. So, they will receive a better evaluation closer to the actual purchase price of the car.  On the other hand, older cars with a higher depreciation value will be evaluated at a lower price. The coverage you will be offered is going to depend on the current market price of the car. When purchasing insurance, make sure to get this figure right.

 2) Choose the Plan which suits you best: Comprehensive Coverage vs. Third-party 

It is important to understand these two types of polices to avoid any possible trouble in the future with your claims. A third-party coverage fulfils your legal liability for any bodily harm, death, or damage of third-party property.  But this plan will not cover any damages caused to your own car. These policies are less expensive than the comprehensive policies.

A Comprehensive insurance cover also offers protection for own damages aside from the third-party property coverage. It also covers non-collision accidents, such as fire damage, natural disasters, and theft.  The cost is higher compared to third-party coverage. If your vehicle is new, we highly recommend considering this plan.

3) Choose the Best Insurance Provider in the Market

The quality of service is a key differentiator in this product.  It makes absolute sense to work with a reliable company that is customer centric and has a good reputation. A company with digital features and services will also save you lots of time.  One of the key measurement criteria that we at SoulWallet recommend customers is to ask for the claim settlement ratio of the company.  Before choosing a company, we recommend getting in touch with their customer support team and discussing any questions you may have. It is a good way to understand their approach towards providing quality service to customers.

 4) Compare Plans before you decide

Comparing insurance policies helps one understand the differences in the features, cover, offers and premium.  By comparing the plans, you choose the one that best suits your insurance needs and budget.

 5) Check the Insured Value in the Policy

When purchasing car insurance, it is vital one pays attention to fine print. Carefully look through the documents provided and keep a lookout for the sum insured offered by the policy. This is the maximum coverage you can receive from your insurance company in the case of complete loss of the vehicle. The value must come close to the current market price of your car. If these numbers are quite different, you should try looking into another company.

6)Check the Policy Inclusions

Inclusion is the coverage that is offered by the company and shows everything that is covered. One must make sure that the information is well understood in case you need to file a claim in the future. If one is not aware of what is insured and what is not, it might lead to rejected claims.  As a hygiene factor, one must ensure they read and understand the policy at the time of purchase to make sure all the inclusions as conveyed by the Insurance Provider or its representative is well documented in the policy.

7)Check the Policy Exclusions

Exclusion is whatever is not covered under the policy. One must make sure that the details of exclusions are understood prior to purchase of the motor insurance policy. This will help in identifying the risks and take necessary precautions. Below are a few examples of common policy exclusions:

    • If an accident occurs where the driver is under the influence of alcohol, then coverage is not provided
    • If insurance policy is not renewed before the due date, it will be considered as expired
    • When as vehicle is used beyond the coverage limits in terms of area, coverage does not apply

8)Check the Add-on Covers Carefully

It is possible to enhance the basic insurance coverage of a plan by purchasing various add-ons. While this is optional one can opt for it in case of customizations etc., These add-ons will be in addition to the price of your car insurance. In UAE there are various forms of adventure sports and if one wishes to do any of these sports it is best to have these add-ons.


9) Check the Validity of the Insurance Policy

Every car insurance plan in the UAE policy comes with an expiry date. Keep in mind that your car will cease to be insured after the end of your policy term. If an accident occurs even a single day after the expiry date, your damages will not be paid for. You must renew your plan before the expiry date to continue coverage.

Once you have carefully understood these tips, you are all set for purchasing car insurance in the UAE. Always remember to drive safely and avoid damages, even if they are covered by your insurance plan.


Terrible Credit Card Mistakes First-time Users Easily Make

Credit cards allow users to pay for items or services in lieu of cash. However, a person should be responsible enough to understand that the card must not be considered free cash.

That is why, for some people,  without proper guidance, it is easy to end up in serious debt within a short span of time.

Here are six of the most common mistakes first-time credit card owners make when using their cards and what can be done to avoid them.

1.Believing credit isn’t important

In the real world, having good credit is vital. Credit scores allow an individual to apply for mortgages and save up on car insurance premiums.

Without excellent credit scores, you won’t have access to lower interest rates or premium credit card rewards. Even potential employers and the landlord of your future apartment might check up on your credit score to see your ability to pay your debts.

By managing your credit responsibly, future credit card and loan applications are approved more easily and you can gain access to better offers. You can also use your good standing to negotiate better interest rates on loans. Even credit cards with a limit of $5000 can help build your credit score.

So apply for a credit card early, but make sure to use it wisely.

2.Spending too much

Credit cards offer users the opportunity to buy or pay for products or services that may currently be out of financial reach. However, if you’re not aware of where your money goes and how much you spend on a monthly basis, you could quickly max out your cards and end up in crippling debt.

Live below your means. This is true regardless of whether you are still currently relying on your parents for financial support or working multiple jobs.

Create a budget to get an idea of your financial state. Make a list of your sources of income and your monthly expenses. There are apps that can make recording this information easier, although simple spreadsheets can work just as well.

Write a goal to motivate yourself to save, then create a financial plan for achieving your objective. It could be as simple as skipping Starbucks for a year or avoiding mall sales.

3.Paying only the minimum amount

If you have any outstanding payments on your credit card, do your best to pay these off as quickly as possible. Compound interest can easily bloat your small debt if you are not careful.

Say, you paid AED5,000 for a used car and paid for the purchase using your credit card. With an annual interest rate of 15 percent making the minimum payment AED150, it will take 173 months or more than 14 years to pay it off. At the end of this period, you would have paid over AED8,300 on interest rates alone.

That is more than your original debt if you think about it, so make an effort to eliminate your credit card debt as quickly as you can.

4.Missing payments

Not paying on time can be devastating to your credit score. It stays on your record for at least five years.

As much as possible, avoid buying anything that you cannot afford to pay in cash. By doing so, you avoid going over your budget and getting into credit card debt.

Find a way to make paying off your credit card debt automatic if you are the type who forgets. Perhaps you can open a bank account that automatically debits a certain amount to pay off your debt. This way, you won’t have to worry about forgetting your payments.

6.Lending your credit card

For some, having a credit card gives the holder a license to spend to its limits. You may be responsible with using your credit card, but you can’t say the same thing about your friend, girlfriend, boyfriend or significant other.

Treat your credit card as you would your bank account PIN: always keep it secured to yourself. Never let anybody else use it to avoid souring your relationship and ending up in bad debt.

Remember these common errors so you can avoid getting into trouble with your credit card company.

Credit cards need not be just fair weather friends!

Credit cards need not be just fair weather friends!

As we are in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us in the UAE are taking a close look at our personal finances. Money can be tight—especially if we or a family member lost a job. These are uncertain times, and because of this, it can be helpful to think of ways to ease some of the financial pressures that we are experiencing.

One way to do this is through strategically using credit cards in UAE. The operative word, of course, is strategically. Used recklessly, credit cards can instill even more financial pain on your family. But if you carefully use some of the best cashback credit cards, you will find yourself with more hard-earned money in your pocket.

Tips on Strategically Using Credit Cards

Before describing some of the ways that credit cards can help you amidst this uncertainty, an important point must be made. That is the fact that all of these benefits and strategies are moot if you cannot make your monthly payments. Failing to make your monthly payments can result in onerous interest payments, which can be financially devastating. Even if there is a compelling signup incentive for one popular credit card or exciting purchase rewards for another, they will be for naught if you cannot pay off your bill. This is rule number one as you think about strategically using credit cards amidst COVID-19.

Now, onto the good news. Here are some of the many benefits that you can get if you strategically use credit cards:

  • Compelling credit card offers. There are plenty of credit cards out there today, including those from popular UAE banks, that offer terrific sign-up bonuses. All you’ll need to do is make a certain number of purchases within a specific timeframe to receive the bonus. For instance, with the FAB Cashback Credit Card, you can obtain AED 300 on your first retail transaction. You could theoretically make small purchases on this First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) Credit Cards and use your cashback reward for some other pressing purchases in your life.
  • Cash back rewards. Some of the best credit cards offer up to 5% cash back on certain purchases. You will want to read the fine print to determine which purchases qualify for some of the most compelling cashback offers. That said, every credit card awards you cash back or points, which can be used to redeem flights and more. To save money during this crisis, think about strategically using your cash back rewards. For instance, when you are grocery shopping, use the credit card that gives you the most cash back for your grocery purchases. Planning in advance can add some cash to your pocket.
  • Credit card offers with zero percent interest for an introductory period. Simply put, if you miss a payment during an initial zero-interest period, you won’t have to pay interest. These credit cards can be game-changers in paying down your principal, especially if you are pursuing a balance transfer. However, the introductory period doesn’t last forever. Typically, these credit cards will have a significant increase in your APR, so keep that in mind if you leverage this strategy.
  • Insurance benefits. Credit cards can go a long way in protecting you from fraud. Compared to making purchases through a debit card, it is much easier to dispute and remove unauthorized charges. No one ever likes being a victim of fraud, but the pain can be especially stark in this period of uncertainty. Ultimately, credit cards can remove some of that uncertainty by protecting your account from unauthorized purchases and other types of fraud.
  • Credit shields. Credit cards can also be helpful if they offer so-called credit shields. Credit shields are programs where you can pay a monthly fee now in exchange for future leniency if you’re unable to pay off your credit card. For instance, if you later lose your job due to COVID-19, you may be able to suspend payments and interest, keep your account in good standing in the eyes of credit bureaus, or only make minimum monthly payments. These benefits, to put it lightly, can provide an immense amount of financial relief.
  • Return protection. In this time of uncertainty, return protection can offer you some added flexibility. Essentially, it gives you extra time to return new items that you don’t want to keep. Even though a store may reject your return for not being timely, your credit card may be able to reimburse you for your purchase. For this benefit, you’ll definitely want to read the fine print. Assuming your credit card offers it, however, it can be a way to get some cash for purchases you intended to return.
  • Free credit score information. In these challenging and uncertain times, it is important to maintain a good credit score. That said, checking your credit score can be complicated. Generally speaking, it costs money to check your score. Some credit cards, however, offer this service for free, allowing you to skip these fees and get a granular look at your financial health. While the fee may not be too onerous, every dirham saved is valuable.
  • Tracking your payments. While it may not be the most exciting task, tracking your credit card purchases can be extremely insightful. You can get a granular look at your spending habits and cut back as necessary. Strategically using credit cards is all about building smart habits, so create a weekly (or monthly) practice of examining your charges. It can be extremely insightful.

Taking Control of Unique Opportunities

Credit cards can be terrific tools to build financial wealth—so long as you use them responsibly. You’ll need to be disciplined and vigilant, whether you just signed up for a popular credit card for its signup bonus or took on a zero-interest credit card for a balance transfer.

But having said this, it isn’t an impossible task. By being responsible, you can have access to a swath of rewards and cold, hard cash. Even amidst a global pandemic, this is an outstanding time to take advantage of everything that credit cards have to offer.

Soulwallet is a personal finance comparison portal in the UAE. With a team of “out of the box” thinkers and a deep understanding of the UAE consumer banking industry, we help customers make the best choices while shopping for financial products such as credit cards and personal loans in UAE.

Online Credit Card-Related Fraud – What to watch out for?

One of the best things about the Internet today is that you can purchase literally anything from the comfort of your own home. Whether you are browsing Souq or your favorite online clothing retailer based in the UAE, your next item can be at your door with just one click of the button.

That being said, there are some downsides to online shopping. One of the most notable is online credit card-related fraud. There are plenty of bad actors out there who are looking to steal your credit card number. With your credit card in hand, they can do a significant amount of damage before they are caught.

Yes, popular credit cards do offer some fraud protection. However, you cannot rest on your laurels, as there is no guarantee that your credit card company will reimburse you. Because of this, we want to take this time to share some key things to look out for related to online credit card fraud. Whether you think that you may a victim or you are simply trying to be proactive, these tips can keep some of your hard-earned cash in your pocket.

Things to Monitor to Avoid Credit Card Fraud

One of the first and most effective ways to prevent credit card fraud is to familiarize yourself with popular credit card scams. While it’s impossible to know every online credit card scam out there, understanding what some of the most popular look like can help you avoid them. While it is a never-ending task, it is a great habit to build in your personal finance life.

You can find some of these popular credit card scams by clicking here. For example, there is a scam where criminals call your phone and pretend they are from your credit card company’s fraud department. They ask you to verify some personal information—including the security code on the back of your credit card. Another scam involves credit card skimming, where fraudsters will steal your credit card number through a skimming device and use it to make later purchases. And you cannot forget about common phishing scams, where scammers impersonate your bank and try to have you click on a malicious link and enter your login information. These are just some scams that you’ll need to evade in your day-to-day shopping life.

From being knowledgeable about credit card scams, you’ll next want to be cautious when actually using your credit card online. Many Internet retailers have done a great job making their websites more secure. Nonetheless, you should only enter your credit card information on a website that is legitimate. Some scammers create websites that appear to be real, but were set up solely to steal credit card information. Be especially careful when making purchases on websites that do not have an “https://” in the address bar or a lock in the lower right corner of your browser.

Next, be careful when shopping on websites that are too good to be true. This is another common-sense rule in the world of personal finance. While there are plenty of great deals on the Internet today, you should be wary of those that seem truly unique or out of this world. It may be that a scammer or bad actor is simply trying to entice you to provide your credit card information without sending you your purchase.

Finally, make sure to monitor your accounts. For as much as we may want to monitor all of our purchases, we may fall short. Life gets in the way. A seemingly benign purchase on a new website may lead to stolen credit card information. Yet even though we may not be able to monitor every threat, we can view our statements every month. By getting into a monthly habit of reviewing your credit card purchases, you can quickly discover (and correct) any fraudulent activity.

Stay Vigilant

 For as many benefits that Internet shopping brings to our lives, we must protect ourselves from the downsides. Credit card fraud certainly exists in the UAE and throughout the world. Whether you are a holder of several popular credit cards or just obtained a new credit card, we urge you to stay vigilant. By doing so, you will save yourself from tremendous headaches down the road.

Soulwallet is a personal finance comparison portal in the UAE. With a team of “out of the box” thinkers and a deep understanding of the UAE consumer banking industry, we help customers make the best choices while shopping for financial products such as credit cards and loans.

balance transfer

Five Reasons to Consider Doing a Balance Transfer on Your Credit Card

The sudden rise of COVID-19 has presented varying degrees of economic stress among UAE residents. Institutions like the UAE Central Bank and some of the UAE’s biggest banks have acted swiftly to relieve some of this unexpected, yet very real financial pressure. Yet even with that assistance, this is a great time for all UAE residents to take a hard look at their current finances.

There are several ways that you can proceed, but we believe that one of the first things you should do is closely look at the balances on your credit cards. For many of us, our credit card balances are some of our highest payments per month. While we may be able to pay off our monthly credit card balances during “normal times, COVID-19 this increased time of uncertainty may make those payments much more difficult.

If you are feeling this type of financial pressure, you may want to seriously consider something called a balance transfer. Balance transfers, put simply, let you move high-interest debt onto another credit card that has a lower interest rate. By doing this, you can keep some of your hard-earned money in your pocket.

To better understand the power of balance transfers, we want to highlight five reasons why you should consider them. Whether one or all of the reasons resonate with you, we believe balance transfers can be compelling options in this era of COVID-19.

Five Reasons to Consider Balance Transfers

The first reason to go forward with a balance transfer centers on your current credit card interest payments. Simply put, balance transfers can temporarily eliminate a high annual percentage rate on your current credit card, allowing more of your payment to go toward your principal. If you are in deep credit card debt, this is a huge deal. A significantly lower (or even zero) interest rate means that you are getting significantly closer towards a zero balance. Therefore, even if there is a small fee to complete a balance transfer, a lower APR may be worth it.

Directly tied with lower interest payments is the ability to save cash in the long run. It’s pretty simple. Allocating more of your monthly payment to your debt outstanding rather than interest is going to keep more cash in your pocket. It is a substantial step on your way toward financial freedom. A balance transfer can offer that unique opportunity, letting you have a few key months where you can make your outstanding principal more manageable.

Balance transfers can also be a great idea because they may be able to raise your credit score. The effect isn’t direct, but there are some ways that your credit score can be improved with a balance transfer. Most notably, it can reduce your credit utilization ratio. This is assuming that you don’t close your old credit card account. Along with paying off your principal, you may see a bump in your overall credit score.

Fourth, a balance transfer can help you build good habits and instill discipline. One primary reason why borrowers seek balance transfers is to obtain some breathing room from overbearing interest payments and debt. Balance transfers can provide this, but they also provide great opportunities to get into great financial habits. For instance, paying down your balance every month and spending less than you make are terrific habits to build.

Finally, credit card balance transfers can make you happier. They can provide both short-term and long-term financial relief. By capitalizing on this relief and getting a better hold over your finances, you’ll feel happier and less stressed. This is a real benefit—especially as we are living through COVID-19.

A Compelling Option

These are just some of the benefits of credit card balance transfers. Granted, you will want to read the fine print and find a balance transfer that makes the most sense for you. Some balance transfer arrangements have a low (or zero) APR, but ramp up significantly after several months or if you miss one payment.

Even so, balance transfers can be a valuable tool in personal finance. Whether or not you choose to use this tool, we encourage you to do your research. You may find that a balance transfer is just the thing you need to get your financial freedom.

Soulwallet is a personal finance comparison portal in the UAE. With a team of “out of the box” thinkers and a deep understanding of the UAE consumer banking industry, we help customers make the best choices while shopping for financial products such as credit cards and loans.

How to Cope With Your Personal Finances and Debt Amidst COVID-19

COVID-19 has been one of the most disruptive public health and economic stories in recent memory. The UAE has 42294 total confirmed cases (source https://doh.gov.ae/covid-19 as of 15th June 2020) and there will undoubtedly be more. Moreover, shelter-in-place orders and nightly curfews throughout major cities across the world (including in the UAE) have caused massive ripple effects throughout the global economy.

Even though the UAE has a relatively low case count compared to other nations throughout the world, it isn’t immune to the economic stress. In fact, you may be experiencing some of these financial pressures right now. It can be scary—especially because it’s unclear when normal life will return.

Having said this, there are reasons to be optimistic. While the situation is constantly changing, we wanted to share several personal finance suggestions and resources that you can leverage in these uncertain times. These resources will help you obtain some financial relief (and even unlock exciting financial opportunities) as we continue to battle COVID-19.

Take Stock of Your Current Finances

Generally speaking, one of the first things that you should do amidst this economic uncertainty is to take stock of your current finances. Take a look at your cash in hand (if any) and note any upcoming bills or payments, whether it is your rent or mortgage, credit card bills, or something else. If there is a significant chance that you cannot meet any (or all) of these upcoming liabilities, you’ll want to take action now.

We will shortly describe some of these opportunities provided by the UAE government and financial institutions. Putting that aside, you may want to contact your credit card companies and lenders if you feel like you cannot pay your bills on time. While there are no hard and fast rules here, your lenders may be able to defer some of your payments if you explain your current financial situation.

Whether or not you are facing imminent financial pressures, you will want to adopt more stringent spending habits. Think long and hard about your discretionary purchases. While you may have been eyeing that new car or purse for some time, it’s probably better to be conservative here. It’s unclear when the economic pain from COVID-19 will end, so cash is king. Cash gives you optionality and will eliminate some stress if this crisis lasts longer than expected.

On a more optimistic note, COVID-19 can be a great investment opportunity if you have savings or significant discretionary income. Asset prices have fallen in the UAE and throughout the world. Because of this, you may want to think about purchasing index funds or other equities. As we’ll describe below, the government is also offering incentives for first-time homeowners. You will clearly want to do your own due diligence, but the bottom line is that this may be a great time to enter the markets. However, if you foresee any near-term financial pressures, you will likely want to stay liquid and keep cash on hand rather than make any long-term investments.

The bottom line? As with all personal finance advice, you need to closely monitor your income and spending habits. Stay conservative and make sure that you’re not spending more than you are making. And if you foresee any potential issues paying your current or upcoming bills? We encourage you to speak with your lenders and take advantage of the financial relief described below.

Financial Relief and New Incentives

Because of the sudden disruption that COVID-19 has caused, the UAE government has ordered banks and other financial institutions to provide relief to individuals and families. These are some compelling opportunities, so we encourage you to pay close attention.

For instance, if you have a mortgage, car loan, or personal loan, you can apply for a one month repayment holiday with no extra fees. Borrowers who have been financially affected by the COVID-19 outbreak may also be able to obtain loan repayment deferrals for up to three months and interest-free installment plans of up to six months on things like grocery purchases, utility bill payments, and school fee payments.

To take advantage of these payment plans and deferrals, you’ll want to follow up with your bank. UAE banks (like First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank) have moved quickly to support their retail and SME customers. If you bank with a non-UAE financial institution, you will also want to read the fine print to understand all of the incentives that may be at your disposal. As just one example, if you bank with Standard Chartered, you will receive refunds for foreign currency translation fees on canceled travel bookings. Along with this, cash advance fees on credit cards are cut in half. Again, make sure you complete your due diligence so that you can take advantage of your bank’s available incentives.

Getting some more time to pay your upcoming bills can go a long way in providing financial relief. But along with this, you may be thinking that this is a good time to make some investments. First-time home buyers, for example, can obtain a reduced down payment of up to 5% on their home purchases. You can also obtain interest-free installment plans for school tuition. This includes the waiver of service of charges or a 0% interest loan until 30 June 2020. Ultimately, the UAE government has moved swiftly to relieve financial pressure on residents and to spur continued investment in the country. Therefore, don’t hesitate to take advantage of these opportunities (the sooner, the better).

Finally, if you are a small business owner in the UAE, there are additional financial opportunities available to you. For example, you can reduce their interest charges on new borrowings based on new prevailing interest rates for eligible customers. Along with this, you can reduce bank charges by half on the early settlement of existing borrowing for eligible customers until 30 June 2020. For some more financial relief opportunities available for small businesses, feel free to click here.

Riding Out the Storm

Unfortunately, we are likely nowhere close to the end of COVID-19. A potential vaccine is still far away and there is likely more economic pain ahead. We are truly living in uncertain times, so you must be proactive to minimize financial damage from this global pandemic.

The good news, however, is that there are plenty of resources to help you ride out this economic storm. The government has been proactive in helping you defer some of your upcoming payments. Also, there are new incentives to make a long-term investment in the UAE. Ultimately, we encourage you to take advantage of as many of these opportunities as necessary.

Soulwallet is a personal finance comparison portal in the UAE. With a team of “out of the box” thinkers and a deep understanding of the UAE consumer banking industry, we help customers make the best choices while shopping for financial products such as credit cards and loans.