Sur­vey re­veals many use cards to pay for fes­tive sea­son

7 Days in Dubai - - SPECIAL REPORT - Si­

More than a third of read­ers in a 7DAYS poll said they plan to pay for the fes­tive sea­son with credit cards.

With UAE Na­tional Day, Christ­mas and New Year loom­ing, the next six weeks is likely to be a costly time for many ex­pats.

A Trav­elex sur­vey last year found that peo­ple in Dubai spend an av­er­age of Dhs1,635 on New Year’s Eve alone.

And while there are no sta­tis­tics for the cost of Christ­mas in the UAE, in the US peo­ple spend an av­er­age of Dhs2,600 on presents. Add to that of­fice par­ties, school out­ings, nights out and en­ter­tain­ing and the bill can eas­ily be­come over­whelm­ing.

In our poll, we asked read­ers how they planned to cover the costs. Just under 43 per cent said they would pay cash, while 39 per cent said they would use credit cards. The rest planned ei­ther to use sav­ings or take out a loan.

The credit card fig­ure was far higher than in some coun­tries. For ex­am­ple, a sur­vey in the UK last year found that only one in 10 peo­ple would put Christ­mas on their card. An­drew Bates, Head of Pri­vate Bank­ing – Mid­dle East at Ned­bank Pri­vate Wealth, said: “There are clear ad­van­tages of us­ing credit cards over cash, par­tic­u­larly when pur­chas­ing high-value items. For ex­am­ple, some is­suers of­fer at­trac­tive cash­back and re­ward schemes such as Air Miles, al­low­ing the con­sumer to ‘earn’ while they spend. “Some credit cards also of­fer the con­sumer added pro­tec­tion through com­pen­sa­tion schemes for fraud­u­lent use, or re­im­burse­ments for faulty or dam­aged goods.” But Bates added: “With at­trac­tive loy­alty pro­grammes and the abil­ity to pur­chase big ticket items in­stan­ta­neously, it is un­sur­pris­ing that credit card users can fall into a debt trap.

“When ap­ply­ing for a credit card it is im­por­tant to read and fully un­der­stand the terms that you are sign­ing up to. In­ter­est charges are likely to be ap­plied if the bal­ance is not cleared each month.”

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