Most people have credit cards for convenience and to avoid changing money overseas. They also regard annual fees as a necessary expense. Yet with a little discipline and shopping around you can actually make a profit from holding a credit card, and show an annual return on this facility.
Consider the frequent flyer air miles that you can earn on many credit cards now in the UAE? Will you not have to pay for a flight or two in the course of the year and will saving up air miles by using your credit card not save you that cost?
Take the Emirates-Citibank range of credit cards for travelers. You earn frequent flyer points on every transaction you make. Why not channel your whole family budget through this card and maximize your air miles? This really saves cash, particularly when used for what would otherwise be paid-for flight commitments, which most people in the UAE can not avoid.
Now what about that free credit period each month? If you channel your whole monthly spending through a card, you not only rack up the credit card points but you will take full advantage of this free credit period.
Bank your salary
Why not actually keep the same amount of salary on deposit so that this is earning interest on this balance, while you use the free credit from the card? It might not sound a great deal, but when you do this over 12 months you will generally find that it more than covers the cost of the annual fee paid for the card.
On the subject of card fees, you should find the card that suits your requirements with the lowest fee in the market.
For a frequent traveler that might mean that paying a higher fee for a special Emirates-Citibank card to give you more air miles per dirham makes sense. Or you might find a RAKbank zero-fee card is perfectly adequate for your purposes, and then you can still benefit from the free credit period with no upfront cost.
The bank marketing departments love to appeal to customer vanities with silver, gold, platinum and even titanium cards. But ask yourselves: does this really add to what I can do with the card?
Besides, who are you trying to impress? The sales assistants will be happy to take anything as money and your friends will always be impressed if you are paying the bill.
It is the same with multiple cards: How many do you really need for your purposes? Perhaps you should have one for general use and one in case of card failure? Pulling out a wallet full of cards might impress a sales assistant but it is a costly way to organize your personal finances, and a pain if you lose them.
So if you keep it simple, collect your miles, profit from the free credit period fully, and of course pay-up on time each month and never, ever incur interest payments, then you too can actually make a profit from being a credit card holder. Plus you also get the ease and convenience that comes with carrying a card.