This is the first in a monthly series of banking trends analysis from the Souqalmal.com site and from the sector generally. This month, we look at keywords and searches about credit cards.

Looking at August – and obviously it takes some weeks to organize a new credit card, so people plan ahead – we spotted two very interesting trends in user behavior on Souqalmal.com.

1. Cashback credit cards most sought after

In August, we saw an increase of 24 percent month on month in visits to our credit card section. And it wasn’t just a Souqalmal.com trend, we saw this happening in Google Trends too.

The end of summer is when so many expats emigrate to Dubai or the UAE generally, just prior to the start of the school year, so lots of new people looking for their first bank account and credit card in the UAE. [Related: New to the UAE stories]

Our cashback credit cards page has experienced a massive leap of 40 percent, which is again supported by a Google search trend. Last month was a peak for “cash back” searches on Google. Tuition fees for the new school year are due around August – and this year we saw quite a few promotions for credit cards with cashback deals on tuition fees.

Of the 213 credit cards on Souqalmal.com, 49 (more than 20 percent) give cash back.

How do cashback credit cards work?

  • Cashback cards pay you back a certain percentage of your spend.
  • They usually have either a minimum spend or a cap of how much you can ever get back in a month.
  • The cashback rates vary between 0.5 – 10 percent.
  • They apply to spending on various things, such as utility bills, supermarket shops, tuition fees and even international purchases.

[Related: Rewards or cashback: Which is best?]

The three most viewed cashback credit cards in the month of August were:

  1. ADIB Cashback Classic CardThis card provides unlimited one percent cashback on all retail spending, and is currently offering no annual fee for the first year. There is no minimum or maximum spend required to earn cashback.
  2. ADIB Cashback Visa Platinum Card: Provides one percent cashback unlimited on all retail spending, and no annual fee for the first year. There is no minimum or maximum spend required to earn cashback.
  3. Emirates Islamic Cashback CardThis card provides 10 percent cashback on Etisalat and du spends, five percent cashback when you spend at electronic stores and one percent cashback on all other spends. There is, however, a cap of  AED 1000 for du and Etisalat spends, and AED 2000 for electronic stores. For any amount spent above these caps, customers will get 1% cashback on their spends.

2. Golf credit cards – one of UAE residents’ favorite sports

Winter is around the corner, and golf lovers are eager to get back into their game and work on their handicap. Based on our analysis, our golf credit card section has seen an August increase of 42 percent month in month in visits, as many of our users start to hunt down credit cards providing golf benefits across the UAE.

Souqalmal.com features 21 UAE credit cards with golf benefits, ranging from two-for-one or discounted green fees to giving you a ‘Golf Fee’ membership card, which provides discounts on golf clubs worldwide.

The UAE boasts more than 20 golf clubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah; UAE credit cards with golf discounts usually give discounts for clubs in one or more emirates. Make sure to check which clubs are covered when choosing a card, to ensure your favorite clubs are covered.

[Related: Let your credit card improve your gold handicap]

The most popular golf cards on Souqalmal.com in August were:

  1. First Gulf Bank Platinum card: This card provides a free golf fee card and up to 50 percent reduced green fee at over 2,400 golf resorts, 14 of which are in the UAE.
  2. Emirates NBD Skywards Infinite Card: Provides free golf in some Dubai and RAK golf clubs.
  3. Emirates NBD Titanium Card: Provides complimentary rounds of golf on certain days of the week at multiple UAE golf clubs.