COVID-19

Analyzing Positive Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 in Our Lives

COVID-19 (also known as the “coronavirus”) has disrupted the UAE and the rest of our world. From bans on public gatherings in the United States to the closure of restaurants, bars, and even sports leagues, the coronavirus has quickly changed day-to-day life.

It is all too easy to focus on these negative headlines. Anxiety is rampant and the world seems much darker in the near future.

But having said this, life as we know it is not going to end. We will get through this. Moreover, once this crisis fades, we believe that there are some extremely positive consequences that will make life better, healthier, and more enjoyable.

Positive Effects from the Coronavirus

Some of the more prominent changes from the COVID-19 crisis will center on our work lives and human interactions.

Even before the spread of the coronavirus, remote work was becoming increasingly important for knowledge economy workers. COVID-19, however, is a substantial catalyst that is going to unlock plenty of remote work opportunities in the UAE and around the world. Employers will increasingly notice that at-home employees are happier and more productive. To continue training their teams, employers will also utilize online coaching and counseling tools. Even though in-person work will not disappear, remote work is going to be a mainstay of our lives.

Aside from work itself, the coronavirus is going to make our world more digital. New social media users and applications will emerge—all leveraging the power of video. Wi-Fi will be free and available everywhere. We may even see virtual reality and augmented reality play an even more important role. Simply put, the world will become even more digital, allowing us to remove physical boundaries and connect with others from the comfort of our own homes.

Next, COVID-19 is going to dramatically reshape global healthcare. Again, we’re likely to see a digital-first approach here. It is going to be completely normal to get health checkups and treatment from our homes. DIY self-administered medication delivered to our front doors will also be more prevalent, allowing us to bypass visits to a doctor’s office or pharmacy. More serious illnesses or ailments will still require us to seek in-person care. That said, digital diagnosis and treatment are going to lead to a more convenient and healthier future.

COVID-19 has already rocked the business world in the UAE and throughout the world. Even though a global recession may already be here, we believe that the business world is advancing even more rapidly toward significant changes. First, ecommerce and digital channels will be the primary (or even sole) revenue channels for some businesses. Businesses will need to be creative to better serve online customers. Digital Wallets will be used widely. Cryptocurrency having operated in an unregulated market has expanded amid major upheaval, financial scandals, bankruptcies and mounting skepticism. With players such as Litecoin, Ripple, Mintchip, Tether, Ethereum, Libra, Monero and several more emerging, cryptocurrency will evolve from the nascent stage and gain momentum and better customer acceptability. All of this will lead to better experiences and more security for customers.

Finally, education and food are going to rapidly transform. In terms of education, distance and online learning will become even more prevalent. While children will face challenges in developing social skills, remote learning will grant us easy access to the best educators and experts around the world. As for food, the coronavirus is going to catalyze new and innovative catering options at home. More people will begin to grow their own food and renewable energy will be more commonplace (and necessary).

A Dramatically Different World

COVID-19 may or may not be a “Black Swan” event, but the effects of this global pandemic are going to be long-lasting. Even though there is some short-term pain, we believe that there will be long-term gain.

Day-to-day life is going to be more digital and less analog. We will connect with others through the power of digital technologies. The home is going to become much more important in our day-to-day lives, whether we are looking for our next meals or simply trying to diagnose a mild illness that we have.

In the UAE and around the world, we must prepare ourselves for these changes. As with any change, the transition may be difficult. However, we strongly believe that modern-day life is going to be better after this crisis. In the interim, we must stay positive and look out for each other. This crisis will end, and we will be in a great position coming out of it.

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.

credit score

Maintaining a Good Credit History: Some Helpful Tips and Strategies

Whether you are seeking personal loans to pay off outstanding debt or simply want to obtain some new credit cards, one of the first things that lenders will do is check your credit history. Your credit score, as calculated by the AECB (Al Etihad Credit Bureau), is essentially a profile of your financial health. It is something that lenders in the UAE closely scrutinize before deciding to extend you credit.

Because of this, it is extremely important to maintain a good credit history. Doing so will make it much easier to get access to some of the best credit cards in the UAE today. Having a poor credit history, however, will make it much harder to accomplish your financial goals.

In this post, we want to share several important tips and strategies on how you can maintain a good credit history. Following some (or all) of these tips, you’ll drastically increase your chances of avoiding any unpleasant surprises and increase the chances of getting the loan or credit card that you desire.

Ways to Maintain Your Credit History

To start, one of the best ways to maintain your credit history is to pay your bills on time. It’s simple enough. If you are a borrower that doesn’t skip or delay payments, banks and other financial institutions will view you as more creditworthy. They will have the confidence that you will make your required payments for your  loans and credit cards, thereby extending you more credit than others. On the opposite side, making late payments not only costs you in interest or other penalties, but it hurts your credit score. From there, a lower credit score hurts your chances of qualifying for some of the best credit cards or future personal loans.

Along with paying your bills on time, seriously consider paying off your credit cards in full. This is a great tactic both for the health of your pocketbook and the health of your credit history. Paying off your balance in full helps you avoid interest payments, which can become substantial if you are solely paying the minimum required payment on your credit card. But not only that, paying off your entire balance, once again, shows financial institutions and the AECB that you are a responsible borrower. Your credit score will rise and you’ll be more likely to receive even more generous credit terms in the future.

So one significant part of maintaining your credit history is to be on top of your payments. But that said, another key area centers on credit utilization. By this, we mean responsibly using the credit that has been provided to you. Just because your credit card has a credit limit of Dh100,000, for instance, does not mean that you should draw upon all of that credit. Instead, the general rule of thumb is that you should use only 30 percent of that credit limit. While it isn’t the worst thing in the world if you go above that guideline, you should tread lightly. It may put you at greater risk of being unable to pay off your credit card in full.

Finally, don’t apply for loans that you don’t need. If you already have great credit, it is all too tempting to apply for a wide range of  loans. You may use those  loans to get a more luxurious car or to splurge on something for your home. Whatever item or experience that you want, it is much safer to fund it through your day-to-day savings and cash flow rather than a loan. Yes, it may take longer to find the funds to make the purchase. However, foregoing a loan that you don’t actually need minimizes the potential hit to your credit score. To put it another way, it is an investment in your long-term financial future.

Get Started Today

Obtaining and maintaining a good credit history is an ongoing task. That said, it is certainly doable. Following the tips and strategies above can help you fortify that credit history, allowing you to obtain the best credit cards and personal loans in the future. By staying disciplined and on top of your pending payments, you will be setting yourself up for continued financial success.

Top 4 tips to consider while looking for Personal Loans

Top 4 tips to consider while looking for Personal Loans

UAE Residents have several options to finance purchases or to meet certain expenses. Savings is probably the best option to start with, but for those who are on tight budgets there are other options such as Credit Cards and Personal loans in Dubai, UAE.  While there are several other options which are mushrooming across the globe for instance, peer to peer lending and alternate finance, the most prominent and favoured one is the Personal loan which has several advantages over the rest. UAE banks offer personal loans up to AED 1 Million based on several qualifying factors.

Personal loans are generally preferred due to the following reasons:

  • Easy to avail – Simple and easy documentation. Most banks don’t even need a bank statement these days as they would be able to verify your salary details from your bank thorugh your IBAN, of course based on your authorization.
  • Short term generally – Payback period can generally be as short as 1 year
  • With or Without Salary transfer
  • No collateral required
  • Clear visibility on interest that one would end up paying for the entire loan availed.
This article primarily focuses on certain key aspects of personal loans that one should be aware of prior to signing on the dotted line-
1. Compare Personal Loans

It is important that one is aware of the various loans available in the market. UAE banks offer personal loans both with and without salary transfer. The ones without salary transfer, loans are offered on higher interest rate than the ones with a salary transfer. To compare loans, best places to refer are the comparison sites which are a one stop place to do research prior to signing up.

Make sure you do the math, refer to the interest rates, fees and processing charges. You can compare personal loans offered by UAE banks here

2. With or Without Salary Transfer?

It is always wise to take a personal loan with a salary transfer as the interest rates are as low as 5%. However, you will have to also check with your HR if they are fine in transferring salary to the bank of your choice. Normally, HR has a tie up with certain banks for processing salaries and the best place to start would be to identify the banks from your HR.

A salary transfer loan would need a letter from your HR in the format as specified by the bank. A personal loan without a salary transfer is recommended as a second loan or when someone is not eligible for a top up loan on their current salary transfer loan. This type of loan does not require a salary transfer letter from your HR but might need just a salary certificate.

3. Credit History dictates your loan interest rate or cost to borrow

Most of the banks in UAE have moved to a credit score / credit history-based interest rate. A high credit score would mean a lower interest rate.

Please refer to the article to learn about credit history and how to maintain a health credit score

4. Other eligibility criteria

Apart from credit bureau, banks also look at:

Work information: Employer, Designation, Years in Work, Fixed and Variable income

Debt Burden: Percentage of liabilities (financial obligations one owes on a monthly basis like Loan EMIs, minimum dues on credit cards etc.,) against total fixed salary.  The general condition is including the new loan EMI debt burden should be less than 50%.

Takeaway

Personal Loans are a convenient and popular method for purchasing products or services. Soulwallet recommends customers to make sure if there is a real need for a loan as any sort of debt must be avoided if possible. Having said that personal loans are also a simple and easy to avail with many banks in UAE moving to digital channels.

As a personal finance aggregator Soulwallet has analysed various personal loan features. For more details visit us on personal loan in UAE page.

 

 

Personal Loans without Salary transfer & Easy documentation

A Dream Come True: Personal Loans without Salary transfer & Easy documentation

 

The growing trend in today’s lifestyle is opting for a loan that is readily available especially for the salaried class as it is seen as one of the easier targets to win over by banks. And how?

Enter Personal Loans with easy documentation, minimal fuss, and practically the money is in your hands within a day of application.

It is a fact that Personal loans are today available for every purpose heard and unheard of. Apart from meeting marriage expenses, emergency medical situations and tiding over the odd credit card overdue, you can opt for a loan to go on an overseas vacation, purchase one of the most expensive headphones and even take your valentine for a boat ride around the Dubai Marina.

Easy documentation and process

While banks in UAE demand other documents such as a valid passport or a UAE National ID, for an Expat, a valid residency visa is mandatory. The salaried or self-employed people have the option of showing their salary slips as it is one of the major proofs the banks seek in order to sanction a personal loan.

No more Salary transfers

Initially, some banks in the country had demanded people to create a salary account in their bank and transfer the salary to it. By doing so, the customer is benefited with exclusive offers, faster processing of loans and even a free credit card. But many do find the process tedious or some may prefer not to change their existing salary account.

Nowadays, UAE banks are offering personal loans to customers without mandating them to transfer their salary. This is commonly called as a Non-salary transfer loan. This is a hassle-free process and it doesn’t consume much time for banks to process since there is no salary transfer involved. But the income proofs need to be provided. Furthermore, these don’t require any collateral or guarantors.

Though banks do not mandate customers to give any collateral, do keep in mind the interest rates are mostly high when compared to other loans such as home, car or gold loans. The loan amount is purely dependent on the salary and the interest rates which vary from bank to bank.

Let’s look at various banks which offer personal loans without salary transfer:

Emirates NBD:

It is a National Bank in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. It is one of the oldest and largest banking groups in the region. They offer loan amounts up to AED 500,000 for both UAE Nationals and Expats who have a minimum salary of AED 10,000. The repayment period offered is up to 48 months and the interest rates start from 14.99%.

Dubai Islamic Bank:

It is the largest Islamic bank in terms of assets and is the first bank to incorporate principles of Islam in all practices. People are considered eligible if they earn a minimum salary of AED 3000 which would get them loans up to AED 400,000. The repayment period extends up to 48 months.

Union National Bank:

One of the leading domestic banks in the UAE region which offers personal loans up to AED 200,000 for UAE Nationals and Residents. For this amount, the bank expects the applicant to have a minimum salary of AED 10,000. The repayment period offered is up to 12 months.

Citibank:

A subsidiary of the multinational company, Citigroup and is one of the famous banks in the UAE region. Possessing a Minimum salary of about AED 8,000 per month would get you a maximum finance amount up to AED 175,000. This bank is known for its fast approvals on personal loans.

Conclusion:

While there are several options for one to avail a personal loan in UAE. It is important to note that a clean credit history is essential for availing credit in the country. Hence, borrow if its required and ensure you make payments on time.

credit score is now available digitally for consumers through AECB App

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 Personal/Home 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.

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!

How to choose between Personal Loan & Salary Transfer Loan

How to choose between Personal Loan & Salary Transfer Loan

Cash loans are a popular lending product in the UAE. These loans come in handy to service an immediate need which can be a purchase, holiday plan, school fee payment, medical expense not covered by insurance and so on. Cash loans offered by UAE banks can be classified into two categories.

a. Salary Transfer Loan: This is most probably the first loan one can avail from the bank where the customer holds a salary account. These loans are low in interest rates compared to the other personal loans without a salary transfer. Banks offer competitive interest rates for their customers for such loans. These loans generally require the following eligibility criteria.

i. A Salary Transfer letter from the employer of the customer stating that Salary would be transferred to the bank along with certain other clauses as required by the respective bank. Your HR department can help you with issuing such letter.

ii. A minimum salary requirement which might differ from bank to bank. This generally starts from AED 5000.

iii. Security checks as required by the bank.

iv. Debt ratio including the new loan EMI should not exceed 50% of monthly income which is a simple calculation of your total financial monthly liabilities over monthly income.

v. All other eligibility criteria as applicable by the bank including a meeting with the borrower.

b. Personal Loan without a Salary Transfer: These loans are offered by banks without a need of having Salary transferred. Such loans are popular and can serve the purpose when one already has a Salary Transfer loan running with a bank. Interest rates are higher for such loans and the lending amount might be lower than a Salary Transfer loan.

It is important to understand the difference between the personal loan and the salary transfer loan before applying for a loan. Reaching out to your bank which holds your salary account and enquiring for a salary transfer loan should be your first option. However, there are banks in UAE which provide attractive interest rates and higher loan amounts for the personal loan without salary transfer. SoulWallet can help you compare and choose the best personal loan and salary transfer personal loan from banks across UAE. Also you can apply for loans online.

Here are the key points to consider while deciding upon a loan?

a. Am I getting the best interest rate?
Most banks offer interest rate based on a multiple criteria like your income range, employer, bureau score etc. These rates are generally available with the Sales Executive who reviews your application profile. Make sure you review the interest rates before signing up. High interest rate means higher EMI and longer repayment period.

b. Am I getting the loan amount to suit my need?
Different banks offer different loan amounts, generally a multiple of your monthly income. This obviously can be customized based on certain criteria as mentioned in the previous point.

c. Will borrowing a loan be a hassle free process?
Loan application processing might take anything from an hour to 5 working days. Ask whether the process is simple and hassle free as this is a key differentiator between the financial institutions.

d. Are there any Hidden Charges?
Review if there are any charges pertaining to loan processing, early repayment penalty, late
payment etc. Read the fine print. Or at least ask the Sales Executive. You can always go and check comparison sites like SoulWallet.

e. What are the Payment Options?
Understand the various payment options available to you. While a direct debit from your salary
account is a standard process, there might be situations one would need to make a payment
through alternate methods. These options must be easy and inexpensive.

f. Will Top-up loan be available?
Enquire on when one can avail a top up loan while servicing first loan. Some banks have a resting
period of 6 to 12 months from the time the first loan has been issued.

g. Will there be Statement and Email alerts?
How does one get reminders on payments and loan balance? Verify this as these are important to know while servicing a loan. In today’s forgetful and fast paced life, we tend to forget the payment date. Bank might charge a penalty for late payment.

h. Any Special Features?
Does the bank offer a flexible interest loan which can adjust over a period of time based on EIBOR (which is Emirates Inter Bank Offered Rate).

So Salary Transfer Loan or Personal Loan Offers. Choice should be yours.