73 percent of UAE residents surveyed by compareit4me group admitted to having some kind of debt with UAE banks, with credit cards topping the list at 57.2 percent, followed by personal loans at 45.3 percent. But with the holiday season fast approaching and spending on plastic in the UAE expected to increase again, these figures could be set to rise.
Research by Euromonitor International found a steady rise in spending last December of between 5-10 percent, compared to the previous month. Meanwhile, a further survey carried out by YouGov and Kippreport found that 95 percent of UAE residents are planning to shop for gifts for the holiday season, indicating that a similar hike in spending is highly likely, which could perhaps lead to further personal debt.
The survey conducted by compareit4me.com, the Middle East’s leading finance comparison website, also revealed that 45 percent of those surveyed found their financial situation, along with the management of their debt, to be highly stressful. 15.8 percent even stated they had made late payments or missed them completely once or more over the last year. Since the introduction of the Al Etihad Credit Bureau late last year, all missed payments are recorded and provided to banks, meaning any future loan applications these individuals make could be severely hindered.
However, the cost of living in the UAE is continuing to increase, with prices nationwide rising annually by 4.4 percent from July 2014 – July 2015, up from 4.2 percent from the previous year. Additionally, bank executives have revealed the UAE has one of the world’s highest rates of indebtedness, at US$95,000 per household.