I want to go shopping in Dubai. I hear it’s the ultimate retail experience. I want to be an expat with a Dubai bank-issued credit card. I’d shop until I dropped. I’d go to the Mall of the Emirates, then over to the Twin Towers. And I would charge it all. Then I would ship my purchases ahead, book the next flight home, and leave the credit card bills behind.
I wouldn’t be the only one committing this credit card crime, either. According to Reuters, a few United Arab Emirates (UAE) banks are having a little problem collecting on the credit card balances of expats leaving town — to the tune of up to 2,500 cardholders a month. Apparently, the rise in “skips” is attributed to the construction slowdown in Dubai — the hardest hit of the seven emirates in the UAE federation.
“The financial crisis triggered a real estate crash late last year that ended a six-year economic boom,” reports Reuters. Can you even imagine the balances on some of those cards? From what I hear, Dubai is like Disneyland for shopaholics.
RAK Bank, which is purported to claim about 20 percent of the country’s credit card market share, blames massive construction layoffs for the increase in defaults in this tourist and trade hub. Alas, Dubai has not been immune to the financial crisis.
Unlike defaulting on credit card debt accrued in the country where you live — where there’s no escaping those pesky debt collectors who will make your life miserable until you pay them back — leaving credit card debt behind in another country seems, well, just a little too appealing.
And since there is no international credit scoring formula — yet — skipping out on a little felonious purchasing spree is just a little too enticing. It’s almost like the perfect crime! I’m sure the Dubai banks are doing a bit of their own cracking down on easy credit as a result of the increased skips, so, as usual, I missed riding the wave.
Oh well. So much for brightening up my closet with a little Gucci and Prada. Plus, I’d rather write about international crime than actually commit it.
See related: Criminal Charges, Vol. XXVIII: Doing 007 proud, Moving abroad? Your credit history might not follow