Souqalmal.com, the No. 1 financial comparison site in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), recently came up with five personal finance calculators to help UAE residents better deal with their financial and banking affairs, and avoid incurring debt.
Before the launch of these calculators, Souqalmal.com conducted surveys that found a notable lack of financial literacy among UAE residents.
“We found 70 percent of UAE residents don’t know how to calculate their personal loan due payment,” Souqalmal.com Founder and CEO Ambareen Musa told Gulf News Journal recently. “Eighty percent of UAE residents don’t know how to calculate their debt burden ratio, and 4 out of 10 residents don’t have a clue about the difference between reducing rate and flat rate while taking out loans, so this is the main reason we developed the calculators to help our users to understand what kind of impact taking a loan will have on their income level.”
The mortgage calculator helps users know their monthly loan repayments and how much the purchase will actually cost them, based on the details they provide, while the car loan calculator gives the details of car loan repayments in a few easy steps.
Debt burden ratio is one of the major factors that determines whether the loan or mortgage application gets approved. The law in the UAE states no one can exceed 50 percent of their income on debt repayment. Souqalmal.com’s debt burden ratio calculators helps users find out what their DBR is before applying for a loan.
The personal loan calculator that Souqalmal.com offers is a great way for potential borrowers to figure out how much they can afford to comfortably repay every month.
“The calculators are totally free and very easy to use because all you have to give us is a few details about yourself and we’ll calculate your monthly due payments,” Musa said. “Calculators for personal loans and mortgages exists in other places in the world, but you get only generic calculators there. What we provide is localized calculators. For example, the calculators we offer on our Saudi Arabia website is different from what we have in the UAE.”
The latest among the calculators that Souqalmal.com introduced in the UAE is the air miles calculator, which is the first-of-its-kind tool in the UAE that allows users to calculate how many flights they can get to the most popular international destinations based on their monthly credit card spending.
“We have actually came up with the air miles calculator that is really innovative and unique to the region very recently, and it is probably one of the most difficult products we created,” Musa said. “It took us quite a while to develop and it is one of most popular one among the calculators by far.”
Musa views financial literacy as a global problem. Since UAE is a very expat-driven country and the banking system in expats’ countries is different from that of the UAE, she believes that it’s essential to educate people about the financial laws and the banking sector in this country.“As the financial industry evolves, we have to raise the education level and the awareness level on financial aspects” Musa said. “We are doing a very significant job by trying to help to educate people. We publish 50 articles a month on our website only to educate and explain how the banking industry and the financial system work in this country.”