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Sun 24 May 2009 05:16 PM

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UAE credit card 'skips' on the rise - RAK Bank

Bank's business advisor says up to 2,500 are leaving each month without paying bills.

UAE credit card 'skips' on the rise - RAK Bank
CREDIT SKIPS: RAK Banks says the number of people leaving the UAE without paying their credit card bills is increasing.

Some UAE banks are seeing up to 2,500 customers leave the country every month without paying off their credit card bills, a number that could rise in June, a senior RAK Bank official said on Sunday.RAK Bank business advisor David Martin said most of those leaving without settling their credit card bills were linked to the construction sector in Dubai, the hardest hit of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates federation.

"On our credit card portfolio, in common with other banks, we are seeing increasing numbers of 'skips' - that's people leaving the country without paying their bills," Martin said.

Martin said the bank's research indicated banks in the UAE have 1,500-2,500 customers leave every month over the past six months without paying what they owe on credit cards.

RAK Bank, which has around 20 percent market share in the country's credit card sector with around 300,000 customers, has seen around half that rate in the same period, Martin said.

"The instances of skips in our bank, according to our own intelligence, is 50 percent below our competitors," he said. "Most of the skips are connected to the construction industry in Dubai. We don't see a lot of skips in Abu Dhabi or Sharjah."

Thousands of expatriates have lost their jobs in the Gulf trade and tourism hub of Dubai since the financial crisis triggered a real estate crash late last year that ended a six-year economic boom.

Although growth in the number of "skips" has begun to level off in the past two months, Martin said, banks in the UAE could face a new wave of customers leaving with their debts unpaid as expats who have lost their jobs may wait to the end of the school year to leave.

"We could see a resurgence of this at the end of June," he said.

RAK Bank recovers around a quarter of the debt that goes unpaid as a result of one of the customers leaving the country, Martin said. (Reuters)

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Rainigade 11 years ago

How can they say this? Haven't they heard the official who clearly stated that its all a lie coz people are just jealous of Dubai's success? I mean come on... this must mean that all the people doing skip's must never have owned a car. Coz obviously, if there were only 11 cars at the airport.......

Raj 11 years ago

Yeah you are right!

No Nagging 11 years ago

"rainigade" (or perhaps you meant renegade) please keep your sense of humor and logic to yourself. I'm sure that despite all the challenges we're going through, Dubai remains a better success than your country and Raj's.

worried 11 years ago

Mr. David Martin is surely going to lose his job soon for spilling the beans

Ali Hassan 11 years ago

I think this is healthy. Those people who default and the ones we do not want to have in the U.A.E. They have caused all the probems and have been cheeting all the time. I hope they never come back. It is time to have the UAE with only clean people

donjuan 11 years ago

Yes TRUTH WILL TRIUMPH ATLAST.Lot of people have lost jobs and lot more to follow including me.Facts are stranger than fiction.I hope the things will improve in UAE soon.

ajoy 11 years ago

This is real problem with Dubai not showing the real picture to people. People know everything so better be nive and accept the fact. Do something positive to stop all this as whole world is doing now.Cloaking the fact, showing the greenery on the other side , would not work now. No body is jealous of Dubai. All want an impartial ,liberal , modern and humanitarian approach and also quickly.... What would happen if you gave panacea if patient is dead. Take bold decision, give liberty to all residents as well as expats and foreigners!!!!!!!!!

Sanj 11 years ago

Truth as it is, Straight from horses mouth. But wait for a denial by the bank soon as "the statement was misinterpreted" or "the official was misquoted".

Kenneth John 11 years ago

It is exactly what the banks deserve and long may it continue. They provide credit cards with extortionate rates of interest where many unwise people get upto their ears in debt as they are not aware that the banks can change the rules at any time. Previously you could get 10 credit cards from 10 different banks because there was no communication with banks due to the fact that they were not interested, well hope that you get hit hard with the people fleeing the good old times.

gordon robertson 11 years ago

He says 2500 per month and the bank is below average. The bank has 20% of the market. That would mean 125.000 per month are leaving Dubai and leaving unpaid bills. That is annualised 1.5 mio which is greater than the entire population of Dubai. I believe that there is a problem her, but those figures do not add up