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.


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.

All You Need to Know About Islamic Finance

Whether you are searching for a personal loan or financing for a home or vehicle, you can take advantage of many financing opportunities in the UAE. Having said that, we want to use this post to discuss one type of financing category. That category is Islamic loans.

While Islamic finance only constitutes 1% of global financial assets, it is a rapidly growing area of finance—particularly in the UAE. Specifically, Islamic loans in the UAE are a fantastic way to accomplish some of your financial goals. Also called Sharia loans, these loans, as you can guess, comply with Sharia law. While they work slightly differently than “traditional” loans, Islamic loans can be a great option to finance major purchases in your life.

Sharia Loans: Some Basics

Islamic loans are unlike other types of loans for several reasons. However, the main differentiating factor is that they must comply with practices and prohibitions under Sharia law. One of the most notable restrictions for Sharia loans centers on paying or charging interest. Sharia law says that interest is usurious, meaning that it is strictly prohibited. To put it another way, with Sharia loans, there are no fixed or floating interest rates or fees.

There are many other restrictions on traditional financial instruments under Sharia law. For example, an investor or borrower under Sharia law cannot invest in businesses involved in prohibited activities, speculate or gamble, or purchase derivative contracts or engage in short selling. In the personal finance context, however, this prohibition on interest is the most striking difference with Western finance.

That said, lenders underwriting Islamic loans in the UAE still need to make money. So how do they do it? Ultimately, it comes down to Islamic banks buying a desired product or commodity on the borrower’s behalf. After doing this, Islamic banks can lease the underlying product to the borrower. They can also re-sell that product on installment at a fixed price. This price, however, is often higher than the traditional market value.

Islamic loans in the UAE offer these types of arrangements. Even though Islamic banks aren’t necessarily charging interest, they are being compensated for the initial risk of purchasing the underlying product or commodity.

The Best Islamic Loans in the UAE

 With this basic understanding in hand, you may be curious about how you can obtain Islamic loans in the UAE. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities to capitalize on the best Islamic loans in our country.

For instance, there are some great FAB Islamic loans. First Abu Dhabi Bank is one of the most renowned financial institutions in our country. It not only provides capital and services to large corporations, but to individual borrowers like you. These FAB Islamic loans are specifically tailored Sharia-compliant solutions that can help you purchase everything from a home to a car. If you intend to purchase a new home, you can obtain up to AED 20 million in financing and can leverage flexible payment periods (up to 25 years). If you’re in the market for a new car, you can get financing of up to AED 1.5 million and up to 80% of the car’s value. There are eligibility requirements for all of these FAB Islamic loans, so you’ll want to read the fine print before proceeding.

FAB Islamic loans are just one example of some of the best Islamic loans available in the UAE. That said, you will probably want to start looking for opportunities with your current bank. See if they offer Sharia loans for your intended purchase and feel free to reach out to your bank as necessary. In all likelihood, you will find an Islamic loan in the UAE that best suits your financial circumstances and your intended purchase.

Finding the Best Sharia Loans in the UAE

Sharia loans can be a great way to finance a large purchase in your life. Even if you can pay for your purchase in hand, Islamic loans can relieve financial pressures in your life. Therefore, we encourage you to complete your due diligence. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your banker. Doing this, we’re confident that you will be satisfied with your next Sharia loan.

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.

Why You Should Use Comparison Websites Before Signing Up for a Credit Card?

Why You Should Use Comparison Websites Before Signing Up for a Credit Card?

Whether you have great credit or are working hard to improve your credit score, you undoubtedly receive plenty of credit card information or application forms in the UAE. The potential offers and rewards are often extremely compelling, whether it is extra points for eating at your favorite restaurant or travel deals that are only available to certain cardholders. Credit cards also have many different terms, and these terms can become all too real if you are behind on a payment.

Therefore, when analyzing which credit cards in UAE to pursue, it is helpful to compare all of the offers that are available to you. This is much easier said than done. However, You may find yourself placing pieces of paper side-to-side or simply choosing a credit card that your friend or sibling likes.

Luckily, there is a better way. We believe that comparison websites are a true game-changer when signing up for a credit card. These websites make it extremely easy to compare different types of credit cards, thereby making it more obvious to you when making your final decision. Everyone from the first-time credit card holder to more experienced borrowers can find immense value from credit card comparison websites.

Below, you will find several key reasons why these websites are so important in today’s financial environment.

A Clean User Interface

As referenced above, credit card comparison websites make it easier and enjoyable to compare different credit card offers. Many websites, in fact, let you place credit cards side-to-side. They make it seamless for you to compare cards’ interest rates, annual fees, join fees, and more. This side-by-side layout is more effective than you may think, as it quickly gets to the crux of why certain cards are better for you than others. Instead of spending hours sifting through the paperwork and comparing the fine print, you can get a great first glance through credit card comparison websites.

Opening Your Eyes to New Opportunities

Credit card comparison websites aren’t just for comparing credit cards that you are considering. Arguably just as valuable (or even more valuable) is the fact that you can use them to discover new credit cards. For instance, if your most important factor is a low interest rate, you may use a credit card comparison tool to find a low-interest card that you haven’t even considered yet. This is just one simple example, but the discovery nature of credit card comparison websites makes them attractive to credit card applicants.

Helping You Maximize Your Points

In the example above, we explained how credit card comparison websites can help you find low interest card cards, thereby saving you cash if you end up making a late payment. But the flip side to this, however, is that credit card comparison websites can help you maximize potential incentives. If you enjoy traveling, for instance, you can find a new credit card that caters to travelers. Moreover, the website will help you understand how you can maximize your points so that you can rack up free flights or vacations. To put it another way, these websites are your trusted guide to get the most value out of a potential credit card.

A Godsend if You Have Bad Credit

Finally, credit card comparison websites can be especially helpful if you have bad credit and are looking for a new credit card. Repairing or strengthening a credit score is always time-intensive. That said, this shouldn’t mean that you can’t find a great credit card now. Credit card comparison websites can help you with this task. They can highlight some of the most attractive options for you—considering your financial situation.

Your Secret Weapon

These are just several key reasons why credit card comparison websites are so powerful. They are simple and easy-to-use, yet extremely powerful. They can help you stumble upon key insights about your spending goals and budget. They can even be a massive assistance in helping you more quickly save up for your dream vacation.

Whatever the case may be, we encourage you to check out these websites. Spend some time reviewing both the websites themselves and the credit cards that they let you compare. In sum, we  believe that credit card comparison websites can be your secret weapon as you work toward achieving all of your financial goals.

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.


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.

Are You Carrying the Right Credit Card in Your Wallet?

Credit cards make life easier – boost our purchasing power and makes big-ticket purchases much easier. They offer financial convenience in times of an emergency and come with a range of different benefits.

Credit cards offer ease of transactions and can also become a source of savings when you choose the right ones and then use them the right way.

Here are three questions that will help you determine if the card you have works well for your particular needs.

1. Does your credit card loyalty program offer the best value to long standing customers?

Credit cards in the UAE offer several exciting features for new cardholders that usually are for a limited period only. Alluring signup bonuses, zero-interest periods, waived annual fees and many more schemes are available for new card applicants.

However, what rewards do these credit cards offer over the long term?  This is vital information that one should check before deciding on the most suitable credit card. This will also help you decide whether it’s worth sticking with your existing bank’s credit card or if you indeed need to change and would be better off with another option.

The rewards offered for signing up are one of the main reasons people switch credit cards frequently. Consumers usually change cards for the better rewards program and to take advantage of signup offers that last for a limited period only.

It is important that the credit card you have chosen offers you good value for both short term and long term as well. An attractive signup bonus offer, a 0% interest period, no annual fee for the first year, or high spending rewards and other such perks must be attractive and indeed competitive over the long term and not just during the initial signup offer period.

The whole package of benefits to suit your lifestyle and spending patterns must be balanced between immediate rewards and long-term value. Your credit card must be suitable for your everyday purchases and your typical spending patterns.

If you can continue to enjoy great benefits from your credit card over a long-term without incurring additional costs and with minimum efforts, then it is worth considering to keeping on with you.  But if the ongoing benefits are not appealing it is definitely worth looking out for a better option.

2. How well does your credit card rate for the features that you use most?

The credit card in your wallet must have the incentives suitable for your spending patterns and lifestyle. There are a set of distinctive perks available on different credit cards offered by various UAE banks.

Hence, begin analyzing your spending patterns by accessing your credit card statements. Note down expense categories on which you spend the most as this can help you identify the credit card that best rewards that type of spend.

For instance, frequent travelers would be better off having a credit card that offers rewards on airline tickets and hotel stays and benefits such as airport transfers and VIP lounge access. Such credit cards typically have an annual fee component but frequent travelers generally gain back the value from the perks and rewards offered.

There are also credit cards with travel benefits that fit the needs of travelers looking for best deals, such as discounts on travel, dining and hotel stay along with the flexibility in reward redemption.

If you use your car a lot then it would be advisable to check for credit cards that offer fuel discounts, gas credits or rewards features on amounts spent at gas stations.

If you love playing golf – an expensive hobby to keep up, owning a credit card that has exclusive privileges on golf like a free tee-time once or twice every month at selected locations can be a good choice. Movie lovers will benefit if their credit card offers them a buy-one-get-one cinema ticket or similar movie discounts. When eating out is a weekly habit for you, dining discounts and perks on the card is a must.

For those who live a simpler life and spend only on basic necessities, cards offering cashback or rewards on groceries and other retail expenses can be the most rewarding. Hence, do review your regular expenses to choose a credit card that best rewards your lifestyle.

3. Is the type of credit card you carry, giving you the right value-based your lifestyle?

Credit card operators offer perks to customers differentiating their value-added services such as cashback, miles or rewards programs. When looking for real value on your credit card, it’s vital to match the type of card perks with your spending needs.

Cashback cards help cardholders get a percentage of their spend back on specific expense types incurred on the card. If you are a frequent credit card user then even a small percentage rebate can help you save money. Cashback earned is usually directly credited to your credit card account as money back.

Cashback on a flat-rate credit cards typically pay anywhere between 0.75% to 1.25% for all purchases whereas tiered and bonus-category credit cards give higher cashback rates at selected merchants or on certain types of purchases (groceries, school fees, fuel etc.) but with a nominal (usually 0.25% to 1%) reward on all other purchases.

So if you prefer some extra money in your pocket than other rewards, a cashback credit card could be the answer. However, do keep in mind that even cashback offers come with their own terms and conditions – prominent ones being a minimum spend requirement and maximum possible cashback restrictions (or caps).

For travel enthusiasts credit cards that offers air miles as a reward could be a better option. These cards provide higher miles on travel purchases and international spending made via the credit card.

It is true that joining bonuses are often the most attractive reasons to apply for a new credit card. However, in the following years, you’ll need to spend more to gain attractive rewards, especially if the card has an annual fee.

When redeeming miles, also note that there could be blackout dates, airline restrictions, or booking instructions that you will have to consider. Reward points offered on credit cards in the UAE are very diverse. You can accumulate reward points against spend and then redeem these points for various items – shopping vouchers, gifts, and even air miles. However, similar to cashback, these rewards credit cards also sometimes have an expenditure cap attached to them.


As is most often the case, there is no perfect credit card for everyone. But there could be definitely a perfect credit card best suited to your individual purchase patterns and benefit preferences. Taking that little extra effort to “align” yourself to the best credit card for ‘you’ can not only help maximize your savings but also provide you with meaningful benefits to enjoy.

Transactor vs revolver – What’s Your Approach with Using Credit Cards?

Transactor or a Revolver – What’s Your Approach with Using Credit Cards?

Plastic money is a popular and convenient way to pay for purchases. Credits cards and debits cards are often referred to as plastic money. Most people prefer them as they make transactions more convenient.

So whether you are purchasing a ticket to travel, shopping for groceries and everyday essentials, buying gadgets, clothing or other luxury treats, paying via a credit card is typically the first choice for most consumers. You can also order food, make purchases online, and book different transport needs effortlessly by using your preferred plastic card, thereby saving you a lot of time and energy.

If you are careful with your transactions, the use of a credit card makes your life hassle-free. However, if you make impulsive purchases beyond your means, using plastic money irresponsibly can put you into a vicious debt cycle.

So, what’s your style of using your credit card?

Do you use a credit card only for convenience? This means you never pay interest on the card and instead prefer to pay all dues on time. If that’s your approach, then the industry sees you as a “transactor” – a person who uses credit cards to make transactions easier and does not really utilize the “credit” facility offered by the card fully. Transactors enjoy benefits by accumulating points, miles and other rewards on their card transactions and hence effectively enjoy a “discount” on their purchases.

On the other side of the spectrum, many people use credit cards to make purchases without having enough funds to pay for them in full by the due date. Such users are known in industry parlance as “revolvers” as they “revolve” their balance outstanding across multiple billing statements.  “Revolvers” use credit cards to furnish today’s needs via tomorrow’s income. However, revolving your credit card balance can cost a lot of money in the form of interest, and this type of spending habits can severely strain your personal finances.

When does a revolving habit become risky for your financial life?

Banks typically give consumers a grace period of 21 to 30 days – the period between the end of the billing cycle and the payment due date. When you pay the outstanding amount in full before the due date, you won’t have to pay any interest.

For those who struggle to find the funds to clear their credit card balance each month, it’s easy to enter into a vicious cycle of debt.

When the payment is made after the due date, i.e. when you  “revolve” a balance, interest is calculated on an average daily balance method from the date you made the purchase.

If you continue to revolve a balance, there will be no grace period. You accrue daily interest on your balance outstanding and new purchases. So, your statement will then show substantial interest each month. In such a scenario, everything you purchase automatically becomes 30-40 per cent more expensive (depending on your particular card’s interest rate). This is a lousy buying strategy.

Moreover, for Personal loan seekers, this revolving balance can act as a disadvantage. It impacts your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) adversely, which in turn affects the credit score.

Revolvers that tend to accrue interest daily will have higher utilization rates and DTI ratios. The utilization rate and the percentage of the available credit you’re using are vital elements in determining a credit score.

For example, if your statement balance says Dh1,000, your credit report will indicate that you have a debt of Dh 1,000 that month. Now, if your credit card has a Dh1,000 credit limit, then the utilization rate here will be 100 per cent, even when you pay the bill in full.

So, here, to lower your utilization rate, you need to limit your purchases for the month or make payments early.

Whether you use the card and make payments as a revolver or transactor is not essential here. What you need to keep in mind is that for a better utilization rate, you must bring the total balance as low as possible and pay the remainder of the bill on time.

A higher DTI results in you paying extra money as extra interest charges in the long run (as these could impact your other loan interest rates in the future). Hence, a low DTI is vital for securing more favourable terms on a new loan or line of credit. It is also recommended you pay off all existing debts before submitting such a loan application.

The revolving habit overall imposes a high risk on your saving strategy and financial health. However, if you are revolving the balance at the time of an emergency, then carrying a balance for several months on a credit card is a better option to other even more expensive financing methods.

Even for other mindful larger purchases made with a credit card that is backed with a good plan to pay off the debt, it can be a wise decision. Remember, credit card companies will always prefer having revolvers because interest charged equals higher income for them. But, if you are looking for a robust financial situation, aim to be a transactor and always pay your credit card balance in full each month.


Six Ways Digital Banking Systems Transform People’s Lives

Technology is changing the way we talk, dress and interact with each other, and it’s also changing the way we manage our money. With smartphones,  tablets, PCs and even smartwatches becoming a vital part of people’s daily lives these days, the desire to use one of these devices to access financial services conveniently has become commonplace.

A recent survey conducted by Oracle found that 60 percent of customers globally want to open a bank account online. Whether by need or by choice, customers want more digital options to access banks and manage their finances.

If you are unfamiliar with the nuances of digital banking, here are some basic pointers. “Digital banking” means digitization of traditional banking activities and services that have so far been available to customers only when they either physically visited a bank or contacted their bank’s customer service department over the phone.

These services usually include:

  • Money deposits and withdrawals
  • Transfer of funds
  • Checking and savings account management
  • Applying for financial products
  • Management of loans
  • Paying bills
So, is digital banking just a passing trend, or is it a  here to stay?

Innovations and technology have been driving the expansion of the banking business across the world over the past two decades.

Higher internet and mobile penetration even in remote corners of the world is helping establish deeper links between people and organizations. The preference for digital banking, therefore, is growing rapidly and is here to stay.

Here is how digital banking adds convenience to people’s lives:

 1. Saves time

Digital banking provides you with the luxury of banking from anywhere in the world and at any time. Online banking systems are available round the clock, with the exception of scheduled maintenance periods of the banks’ websites. These are necessary as banks use a host of technological solutions that require frequent upgrades to make your experience easy and fast.

Through online banking, you can check your account balance and transaction history, print account statements and balances. You can also pay bills, use direct debit services, order cheque books, transfer funds from (and to) your account and so on. All these online services can save you a lot of time and money.

2. Eases money planning

Digital banks have loan calculators, financial planning tools, investment solutions, budgeting apps, etc. to help in proper planning. They also support with tax matters, so customers can plan their finances without having to visit a bank physically.

3. Flexibility with payments

Say goodbye to carrying cash when you go shopping. Now mobile wallets (m-wallets), or virtual wallets are getting to be new trendsetters with more and more people using them. With banks going digital, it also gives you the flexibility of using digital wallets that lets you pay by using your smartphone.

It is a safe and easy way of conducting transactions. Digital wallets are paving the way for a cashless future, enabling customers to pay via mobile phones and thereby eliminating the use of cash.

4. Get real-time information

Digital banks use technology that helps notify you of account activities in real-time. So, you can be informed almost instantly of any activity that takes place in your account –credits, debits, charges, etc.. These messages can help to combat fraud and keep your finances secure.

5. Have a remote advisor

Some digital banks also provide you with a dedicated digital relationship manager for your service, so do not feel alienated due to technology. Your digital manager, even though working remotely, will take care of your banking needs around the clock. There are chatbots and robotic consultants, equipped with AI and online banking tools. However, as customers often like to speak to an actual person, striking an ideal balance is essential.

In many countries, digital banks are a huge help for start-ups and small-to-medium sized companies. They facilitate these organizations to carry out their day-to-day banking requirements through mobile apps, which gives them the flexibility of accessing a variety of services to help manage their business.

6. Provides secure solutions

As banks try and provide more seamless customer experience, there is the risk of fraud where millions of dollars could potentially be siphoned off within the blink of an eye. Customers demand convenience and efficiency, but they also seek state-of-the-art safety and security for their digital transactions.

Going forward, digital banks will need to partner with fintech companies to solve business problems and create new solutions. Such collaborations will help support the development of new products and guarantee a better acquisition of customers. AI and machine learning will be an essential part of the digital banking landscape, and so will comprehensive fraud management and cybersecurity tools.

Digital banks are leading a silent transformation in the banking sector for a more connected generation. As people continue to use a wide range of devices, the expectation of services from financial institutions is based increasingly more on the click of a button while being on the move. Digital banks are indeed ushering in a new era of banking with their ever-connected services


Good Credit Score Means Good Financial Health – Understanding How Credit Score Works can Help You Save Thousands of Dirhams

Credit reports and scores are essential to financial health of any economy. Its primary use is to help financial institutions use the information provided in the report to assess the credit standing of an individual prior to issuing individuals any credit products (credit cards, personal loans and so on).

Al Etihad Credit Bureau is the entity which provides credit reports to consumers and financial institutions in the UAE.

As an individual it is beneficial to have a good credit score as this will not only ensure that your chances of getting a credit card or loan (personal loan, auto loan, home loan) etc. are increased but, almost more importantly can help you save money as banks frequently give better terms (lower interest rates, higher loan amounts etc.) to individuals with better credit scores.

In this article we will help you better understand credit reports.

Components of a Credit Report

Financial Liabilities – Financial institutions are required to provide details of credit facilities such as credit cards, personal loans, mortgage loans etc., to the UAE Credit Bureau. Details such as assigned credit limits, utilized limits on credit cards, payments made, delayed payments, returned/bounced checks, loan amounts issued, outstanding balances, age of the loan/credit card, active status, police case history and so on are some of the key data points shared. In addition, the below details are also shared with the credit bureau:

Employment Details: Employer Name, Income, Date of Employment are a few details pertaining to employment

Addresses: Residence address, emirate, contact details including mobile numbers and email ids.

Personal Identification – Emirates Id number, Passport Number, Date of Birth etc.,

The Al Etihad Credit Bureau (AECB) manages the process of collating the information received from all financial institutions (as well as some other non-financial entities such as telecom and utilities providers) and summarizing this at an individual customer level.

These details are structured in a systematic and easily readable format which the financial institutions can access in assessing the credit worthiness of potential customers.

What is a credit score and why is it important?

Credit score is a three- digit number which is assigned by the credit bureau based on various variables such as number of loans, repayments, delayed payments, credit utilization and so on. Credit scores range from 300 to 900, higher the better from a financial health perspective.

The credit score is an indicator of a customer’s financial profile and it is important to note that quite a few banks have moved to offer credit score-based features (interest rate, loan amounts etc.) to their customers. This means you will get more beneficial terms the higher your credit score .

So, what is the mantra to maintain a healthy credit score?

Below are some simple disciplined practices one needs to follow:

  • Do not hold too many credit cards. Find out the best credit cards for “You” and stick with it. Close the ones which are not suitable for you or you carry but don’t use too often. Use Soulwallet’s “Best Fit Credit Cards Tool” to find out how good your credit card isyou’re your individual spend patterns and other requirements.
  • Ensure payments are made on time. And whenever possible, in full. This is the most important aspect and has a significant weightage in one’s score. Missing payments is a huge no-no and will definitely adversely impact your credit score. Remember the golden rule – “only borrow what you can afford to repay”!
  • Avoid going over the credit limiton your credit card.
  • Try and stay below 40% of your credit utilization. If you have a credit limit of AED 10,000 and your current credit card balance outstanding is AED 4,000, your utilization rate is 40%. The lower the better.
  • Keep copies of your bank clearance letters for records, there are possibilities that one might have to provide them to have the details amended (if they still show up on the credit report).

Please note – credit scores are not carved in stone, it is a dynamic and ever-changing variable, updated periodically when inputs are received from banks and financial institutions.

Credit scores take a significant time and effort to improve and, in this case, we would clearly recommend that prevention is better than cure.

How and where can I get my credit report?

For individuals the best recommended option is to download the AECB (Al Etihad credit bureau) app on the mobile phone via Google play or the IOS App store and download the report or score. Note, the charges are much lower to download the report online rather than by visiting an AECB branch. Click here  to find more details.


Soulwallet strongly recommends you to compare products through a neutral and unbiased comparison site before you make a financial decision which can be as simple as signing up for a credit card in UAE.

Most UAE residents at some point or the other will need to explore options to avail credit facilities from a financial institution. The reasons could be as simple as managing to pay an annual school fee or to cover an unexpected medical expense. Having a good credit score can not only make the process of getting a loan much simpler but can also potentially help one save thousands of dirhams (a simple example is the money saved through a lower interest rate offered on your personal loan in UAE based on a good credit score).