Credit card defaults down in the UAE

The number of credit card defaults in the UAE has declined significantly since the downturn in 2008, the vice president of MasterCard for the Gulf state has said.

Eyad Al Kourdi, vice president and UAE country manager of MasterCard Worldwide, said he believed the number of credit card defaults had “come down tremendously versus what they were in 2008,” but was unable to give any specific figures.

“At the end of the day, if the banks were suffering major losses we would have seen a lot of the banks going out of business,” he told reporters from, suggesting that reports of credit card skips had been exaggerated by the media.

“You can see most of the banks in the country, the same 55 or 56 that are registered in the market, are the same ones that are still operating.”

Al Kourdi attributed the decline to better filtering processes and improved monitoring by UAE banks.

In July this year, a study by Datamonitor claimed that more than a fifth of UAE expats had been unable to meet loan or credit card payments in the previous twelve months.

A report by the research and advisory firm Lafferty Group found that an average of $1,135 was owed on each of the 6.8m credit cards in the Gulf.

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