With the new UAE’s Al Etihad Credit Bureau (AECB) comes a new way of banks reviewing you to check your credit history across all banks when considering any new application you make for a loan – and you ending up with a cumulative credit score or rating figure.

The Credit Bureau collects data on our financial history, so its time to start paying our bills on time. Missed utility bill payments, credit payments or a bounced checks can give you a bad credit score, reducing chances of getting favorable interest rates or high credit limits.

If you still want that loan but know your financial affairs have not always been the best, follow these steps to improve your credit score.

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  1. Buy a copy of your own credit report: Potential borrowers should buy a copy of their own credit report to ensure the information held by the Al Etihad Credit Bureau (AECB) is correct. Everyone makes mistakes and if a bank mistakenly submits a missed payment on your account, it could adversely affect your credit report. So if you want a loan, or are simply curious to see your own report, then buy a copy as soon as possible and check it is accurate. The amount charged for this service is yet to be revealed.
  2. Do your own financial analysis: Consider number of loans you have, and more importantly, number of credit cards. The more debt you have, the harder it will be to take out more credit, so now could be a good time to trim your liabilities. If you signed up for a credit card because it came with a killer rewards offer and then you didn’t use it, that will count against you because the credit limit is still viewed as debt as you can use it at any time. The advice here is to close any redundant credit cards or overdrafts and pay off any loans that you have the financial ability to do so. The cleaner your credit history, the cleaner your credit report will be.
  3. Tie up any loose ends: Having random bank accounts in different banks may not necessarily affect your report, but if you left a bank on bad terms – let’s say because of bad service – and did not close the account, it may count against you. Many of the UAE’s banks demand a minimum balance on general checking accounts so you may find the account is accruing charges, something that will count against you. Similarly, if you are involved in any disputes over missed payments resolve them now. Having a healthy relationship with your bank or banks will ensure they do not file a negative report to the bureau.
  4. Be proactive: If you know you’re going to miss a credit card or loan repayment, let the bank know first so that you can come to an agreement on when the next payment can be made. Similarly, if your check bounced or go over an overdraft limit, react immediately when a bank contacts you and if you need help, ask for it. Customers and banks come to agreements over late payments all the time and if you stick to the terms of the agreement, it will count in your favor.

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