New credit offer follows the philosophy of zero

Best buy For new customers, Union National Bank's cards will charge no interest for the first six months.

DUBAI-JULY 31,2008 - Facade of Union National Bank in Bank street, Dubai( Paulo Vecina/The National )

Credit cards in the UAE attract some of the highest interest rates in the world, with consumers paying an average of 33.9 per cent a year, Personal Finance reported last week. But as the credit landscape eases slightly, banks are now offering a range of incentives to attract new credit-card customers, from cashbacks to valet parking, air miles, airline lounge access, free cinema tickets and concierge services.

Just this week, United National Bank (UNB) announced it had introduced a new credit card promotion offering 0 per cent interest. Yes, that's right: 0 per cent. The interest-free offer by the Abu Dhabi-based lender has conditions, of course. And before you rush off and apply for a new card with UNB, it is important to point out that the offer is only for new customers, who will enjoy 0 per cent interest for the first six months on all retail purchases.

Still, considering the current high interest rates that credit cards attract in the Emirates, it's a pretty good offer and worth considering. UNB has added other value-added options to the deal, such as 3.5 per cent cash back, reward points and attractive balance transfer rates. "The new credit-card promotion is a flexible and a rewarding option for credit-card holders and will further add to the convenience of our customers while offering them guaranteed rewards," says Ashraf Bebars, the senior vice president and head of the retail banking group at UNB.

Mr Bebars says the bank's latest initiative is in line with its philosophy as "the bank that cares" and underlines its commitment to offer products and services to help customers achieve their financial goals. "As the bank that cares, we believe in providing our customers with tailored financial solutions that meet their various needs and add extra value to their life through genuine rewards," he says.

UNB offers platinum, gold and classic Visa and Mastercard programmes and a co-branded card with the Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society, among others. The offer was launched on July 11 and expires in November.