DUBAI, UAE, November 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
#1 financial comparison platform says new tools will help UAE borrowers manage their debts more efficiently
Seventy per cent of UAE residents do not know how to calculate their own loan repayments, according to Souqalmal.com.
The poll of 350 respondents by the region's #1 financial comparison website highlighted the lack of financial literacy among potential borrowers signing up for credit. In response to this statistic, Souqalmal.com has launched three new personal finance calculators to help residents better manage their financial affairs and avoid taking on debt they cannot afford.
The number of loans granted to UAE residents in the first quarter of 2015 increased by 6.5 per cent from a year earlier, according to National Bank of Abu Dhabi. Also between March 2014 and March 2015, UAE consumers borrowed a total of Dh1.3 trillion ($355 billion) in personal loans. According to media reports, the UAE has one of the highest rates of indebtedness worldwide at $95,000 per household.
The increasing demand for credit can be also attributed to the rising cost of living - Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the most expensive cities in the Middle East for expatriates, according to the 2015 Cost of Living survey by Mercer.
At Souqalmal.com, the number of people specifically searching for education loans in 2015 compared to 2014 has increased by 800 per cent. Furthermore, the number of loan products listed by the site has risen 5 per cent in the 12 months leading to September. With more residents searching for credit options, knowing how much a loan - whether a personal loan, car loan or mortgage - is going to cost a potential borrower is key.
Ambareen Musa, CEO and founder of Souqalmal.com, said: "Thousands of UAE residents are trapped in never-ending debt cycles they cannot escape because they have taken on too much credit via loans and credit cards that they simply do not have the means to pay off. For those that don't know how to calculate their loan repayments, Souqalmal.com has now developed a series of calculators to help UAE residents accurately assess the actual cost of signing up for credit."
The three calculators include a personal loan calculator, a car loan calculator and a mortgage calculator. Users can calculate the total cost of the loan - factoring in the fees and interest rate - and work out their monthly repayments.
The calculators are simple to use: to work out the monthly mortgage repayments, for example, the consumer must input the property price, the type of property they are buying (such as off plan) and the tenure and rate of the loan they are considering. They must also specify whether they are an expat or a UAE National as that has an impact on the deposit they are required to put down.
An additional field where they can input their salary allows the calculator to generate filtered home loan options that the potential borrower is actually eligible to apply for. The car loan and personal loan calculators work in a similar way. Users can then apply online for the product they like directly from Souqalmal.com's results page.
Musa added: "The calculators are part of Souqalmal.com's mission to raise transparency in the UAE's personal finance market. By helping users work out their monthly repayment and then offering options specific to their income, we can save UAE residents valuable time.
"If people know how much they can borrow and how much their monthly repayments are going to be before they sign on the dotted line, they can also make more informed choices about the credit they take on - something that not only benefits them now but in years to come."
Souqalmal.com (Souq al Mal is Arabic for 'money market') is the #1 financial comparison site in UAE allowing users to compare credit cards, loans, accounts and insurance products.
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