More than half of UAE residents applied for new credit card in 2016

January 15, 2017 3:25 pm

Number of credit card applications in the UAE grew by nearly 55 per cent in 2016, according to the latest figures from Dubai-based financial comparison site

The portal revealed on Sunday that majority of the customers applied for non-Islamic credit cards, which saw an increase of 134.23 per cent last year. Islamic credit cards, meanwhile, saw a drop of 8.57 per cent in applications.

Growth across salary bands

The biggest demand for cards originated from the group of residents earning between AED20,000 and AED29,999 per month, registering more than 240 per cent increase compared to that of 2015.

“It stands to reason that many people in this salary band were looking to get the most out of their relative wealth with credit cards that offer benefits such as airport lounge access and other lifestyle perks,” said Samer Chehab, COO at

“It must be noted, however, that UAE banks in the region have been aggressively targeting customers earning over AED 20,000 per month. So the numbers we’ve seen could also be a reflection that the banks’ targeting strategies paid off in 2016,” added Chehab.

Credit card growth was recorded among most salary bands in 2016. Nearly 59 per cent more people earning AED5,000 to AED9,999 applied for credit cards during the year when compared to 2015. Those earning AED10,000 to AED19,999 also showed more interest in credit cards in 2016, with 141.53 per cent people in that group applying for credit cards.


It is noteworthy that applications for cards that offered cashback almost doubled during 2016, compared to its previous year.

As it took 22.49 per cent of all applications, American Express became the top credit card provider in the year. Citibank took the second spot with 15.04 per cent of applications, while ADCB came in third with 13.29 per cent of applications.

Simplylife credit card from ADCB was the most sought after produt in the non-Islamic credit cards category. In second came Citibank’s Citi Life Platinum card. American Express’ Platinum and Dubai Duty Free cards came in third and fourth respectively, while Standard Chartered Bank’s Titanium credit card rounded off the top five.


AMEinfo Staff
By AMEinfo Staff
AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.