Survey reveals many use cards to pay for festive season
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.”