The Debt Panel: Former Dubai resident who paid off his debts can return on holiday

The former Dubai resident who paid off two credit cards after relocating to another GCC country last year should have no police case lodged against him.
Clockwise from top left: Ambareen Musa, founder and chief executive of Souqalmal.com, The National columnist Keren Bobker, Rasheda Khatun from Financial Life Planner, and Jamel Alvi, chief credit officer of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, during a round-table panel discussion on why people are getting into excessive debt, how this situation can be resolved and where they can turn for help. Ravindranath K / The National and Marwan Alhammadi / The National
Clockwise from top left: Ambareen Musa, founder and chief executive of Souqalmal.com, The National columnist Keren Bobker, Rasheda Khatun from Financial Life Planner, and Jamel Alvi, chief credit officer of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, during a round-table panel discussion on why people are getting into excessive debt, how this situation can be resolved and where they can turn for help. Ravindranath K / The National and Marwan Alhammadi / The National

I worked in Dubai for eight years from 2007 to 2015 before moving to another Gulf country. While there, I had two credit cards from two different banks with outstanding balances of around Dh40,000. I left Dubai at the beginning of 2015, however I was still paying the monthly instalments regularly and after paying the instalments for four to five months, I paid off the pending balance amount in one go for both the credit cards. I would now like to visit Dubai for a holiday. Is it OK for me to visit without any problems as I left Dubai without settling the credit cards but paid the instalments regularly and settled the balance less than six months after leaving UAE? SG, GCC

Debt panellist 1: Jamal Alvi, the chief credit officer at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

I do not see any issues in you returning to Dubai for a visit as you did not default on your financial obligations. As abundant caution, It will be good for you to carry the card statement copies that shows that the balances have been settled.

Debt panellist 2: Keren Bobker, an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets

Unless a police case has been registered there is unlikely to be an issue with SG returning to the UAE. If the debts have been repaid in full even if a case had been registered it should have been cancelled as the banks’ priority is the repayment of a debt and that appears to have been done in full. I recommend that SG contacts the banks in question and requests confirmation that the accounts were fully settled so that he has full proof of this should it ever be required. He should also ask them to confirm whether any police case was ever registered and if so that they were cancelled. Such confirmations should be in writing, at least by email so that he has a record.

If the ongoing payments were made and the debt has subsequently been repaid in full I would not expect SG to have any issues in re-entering the UAE.

In all cases where a debt is repaid in full I advise people to get formal confirmation from their bank. There is usually a fee for this but all bank fees in the UAE are regulated by the UAE Central Bank and must be in accordance with the guidelines. All banks publish a schedule of their charges and the maximum charge for a “no liability certificate” is Dh100. Obtaining such a certificate means the bank has fully closed an account so no further charges can accrue and gives surety to the accountholder.

The Debt Panel brings together four financial experts: Jamal Alvi, the chief credit officer at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank; Ambareen Musa, the founder and chief executive of the comparison website Souqalmal.com; Rasheda Khatun Khan, a wealth and wellness planner and founder of Design Your Life; and Keren Bobker, The National’s On Your Side columnist and an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Together they answer queries in a weekly online column to help readers better tackle their debts. If you have a question for the panel, write to pf@thenational.ae.

pf@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @TheNationalPF

Published: September 6, 2016 04:00 AM

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