A type of cover called Credit Shield, which is generally sold as an extra with your card for a monthly fee, offers valuable protection. Issuers claim it will clear the outstanding balance on your card following an unforeseen event, such as death or permanent disability – but, based on our research, some banks would cover only as little as 10 percent of the total. So make sure you know the terms of your insurance in detail…

  • Protection: It may also protect you against loss of employment, or provide cash benefits if you have to go into hospital.
  • Check you’ve not been charged: You will typically be asked if you want this cover when you take out your card. It should not automatically be charged – but check your statement, just in case.
  • Need it? If you only run a small balance, or have plenty of savings to clear your debt if you fall ill, you don’t need to pay extra for this cover.
  • Pre-set limits: Although issuers claim it will clear your outstanding balance, this is typically only up to pre-set limits. For example, HSBC Credit Shield Plus will cover your balance up to a maximum of AED 200,000 in the event of death or permanent total disability. Mashreq offers death and disability cover to a maximum AED 50,000, loss of employment cover to AED 48,000 and hospital cover to AED 12,000.

The cost also differs according to the bank (see table). Terms vary, so cheapest isn’t always best. Check your card issuer’s website to find out how much your card charges.

Table: The cost of Credit Shield


Charge (% of monthly outstanding balance)

Arab Bank








Emirates Islamic Bank




Mashreq Bank


Standard Chartered


[Also read: Have you been a victim of online credit card fraud?]