When was the last time you checked your credit report? Are you aware of your ‘credit score’? Credit awareness is a relatively new concept in the UAE (compared to the West) as credit reporting was introduced here only in 2014. However, things have changed significantly in the past four years with the Al Etihad Credit Bureau (AECB) now announcing a new mobile app to help residents access their credit reports instantly.

Still new to the concept? Let’s first understand what a credit report really means and how it can help you stay on top of your finances.

Your credit report basically captures all financial information that is used by banks to determine your creditworthiness. This information includes all your debts, payment history, existing credit accounts, and other financial details. In the UAE, the AECB collects information from financial and non-financial organizations and prepares individual credit reports of residents. Last year, the bureau introduced a credit scoring system to give you points (between 300 and 900) on the basis of your creditworthiness – Higher the number, lower the risk.

Why should you check your credit card report regularly?

To assess your creditworthiness: Banks use credit scores to determine whether a person is a safe or risky borrower. Based on these scores, they can either approve or reject your loan. Apart from lenders, employers or landlords can also check these reports to determine your financial stability.

To detect identity theft or incorrect information: Accessing your credit report regularly can help you detect instances of identity theft, which are on the rise all around the world. Plus, you can also spot any incorrect information and get it rectified with the lender immediately.

[Related: Put to rest these 10 myths about your credit score]

Get your credit report & score directly on your mobile!

AECB has now rolled out a new mobile application, available for free on Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store, which allows instant access to credit reports and credit scores on your smartphone. The app has a user-friendly interface and allows customers instant access to their credit rating and history anywhere, anytime. Plus, it saves you the hassle of going to the AECB branch to buy your report.

Easier access at cheaper rates

Apart from offering instant access, the app facility allows you to save more money since it is 20% cheaper to download the report on your mobile than buying it physically at the branch. You can purchase your credit report via the app for Dh84 and credit score for Dh52.5. The cost of purchasing credit report along with the score is Dh126 (including VAT).

[Related: Worried about your credit report? Here’s how you can improve it]

How to get started

The AECB app will authenticate your identity through a one-time password sent to your mobile number registered with the bank. Once in, you can easily purchase and monitor your credit report and score on the app. The app also allows you to report any incorrect data listed on the credit report. If you find any active credit card or loan that you are not aware of, you can contact your bank directly via the app and get the error rectified.

Self-monitoring is now easier than ever

With easier access to credit reports, you can now be in the driver seat as far as your finances are concerned. Most people don’t even realize they might be in deep waters until it’s too late. Checking your credit record periodically, now from the convenience of your home or office, will help you understand whether or not you are on a healthy financial path. Since credit awareness has become a norm and necessity in today’s world, AECB’s mobile app looks set to redefine how consumers secure loans and credit cards.