credit cardsIn  a survey that was conducted on credit card usage in Saudi Arabia by Souqalmal.com, almost 30% of the respondents only pay the minimum balance or what they can afford to pay on their monthly credit card bill. A report of the survey in which 1000 people participated was published on Tuesday in Saudi Gazette.

The survey results state that one in five credit card users swipe their cards for daily expenses, while 30% use their cards for online purchases and travel purposes.

However, a more concerning matter is that, in a country that is beginning to move out of its financial crises, one in five respondents withdraw cash using their credit cards, a transaction that incurs high interest and additional charges. The CEO of Souqalmal.com, Ambareen Musa said that using credit cards to draw money was an expensive means to access cash. “This could be due to the lack of awareness of fees and changes or accessibility to personal loans especially for the private sector employees,” he added.

The results of the survey stated that almost half the Saudi nationals approached for the survey did not have a credit card, and a third of them had only one card. Regarding choice of banks, it is apparent from the survey that most nationals prefer credit cards from local banks, while international banks are the preferred choice for westerner.

Regarding factors that influence credit card choices, almost a quarter of the respondents specified rate as the most important factor,  while almost a fifth of the participants listed the fees as their main factor. Other aspects that affect choice include additional benefits such as air miles, airport lounge access, and cash-back offers.

Ambareen Musa noted that if the users paid off their balance diligently and regularly, then credit cards can be utilized to enjoy perks and benefits offered by the banks. He stressed that credit card users need to be better educated about debt and about using credits cards in the best possible way.