Credit cards can be very tempting to overuse, particularly for people who live in the United Arab Emirates.
It can be difficult not to be lured by the prospect of UAE credit cards that offer incredible discounts on dining and shopping and that come with no annual fees.
However, the reality is that there is no such thing as a free credit card.
Sales representatives attempting to persuade you to sign up for a new card are unlikely to go into detail about the wide array of hidden charges that come with many UAE credit cards.
You may be told that a credit card comes with no annual fee or joining fee.
However, this sometimes only applies to the first year, after which you may begin to be charged annual maintenance, which can vary by provider.
Any expenses incurred on a credit card will accrue interest if you fail to pay off the entirety of the outstanding amount owed prior to or on the due date.
Failure to pay a debt on time will also result in a late payment fee.
Sales representatives rarely point out that the monthly interest rate is annualised in order to calculate an annual percentage rate, which can be quite steep.
Even the best UAE credit cards will have this unavoidable hidden cost.
The cost of credit card transactions made overseas can also be higher than many people realise or expect.
Credit card providers charge for all international transactions.
The charge is usually a particular percentage of that transaction and is converted into local currency via the exchange rate at the time of the transaction.
Crossing your credit card limit, even by a very small amount, can also end up being exorbitantly expensive as banks charge an over-limit fee.
Although there is no charge for the monthly credit card statement sent to your address, requesting a duplicate statement in the UAE will result in more charges.
In the event that a credit card is lost, your credit card company will charge you for providing a replacement.
Using your credit card to make a payment that then bounces will also result in a penalty charge from your bank.
It is therefore vital to ensure that any payment made by a credit card will not bounce.
A sales copy voucher may also come with a fee from some providers.
A number of UAE banks also levy surcharges from cardholders, including the likes of a fuel surcharge.
It is therefore important to ensure that you are aware of all surcharges that your credit card is charged by your bank.
Credit cards always come with costs, and there are many charges that you are unlikely to be informed about immediately.
Credit cards can be a curse as well as a blessing unless fully understood and correctly utilised.
Being aware of all these ‘hidden’ credit card charges is essential to prevent your credit card from becoming a curse.
Check all of the card’s terms and conditions prior to making an application.