Credit is good, but we need cash. Such is the mantra of many small-scale businessmen today.

A lot of merchants in the UAE, especially those with very low capitalisation, only accept cash payments from customers. Businessmen interviewed by Gulf News said they're doing it with good reason.

Mahesh Devji Sampat, who runs a freight forwarding enterprise, said he does not see any strong reason to invest in card facilities. Given that most of his clients are non-UAE residents, cash payment is the only secure way to make money.


All the private shipping companies he deals with also prefer cash over other forms of payment. Besides, installing card or electronic payment tools only entails additional investment.

"Cash is the most secure way. You get the money in your hands and you know for sure that you get paid. A cheque, for instance, is a dilemma. If there's a problem, it takes time to recover the money. When it comes to payment terminals, [a merchant] gets charged a lot to install the machines and provide online facilities.

"That doesn't work for us because our profit margin is very low," Sampat told Gulf News.

"I can see why restaurants, department stores and hypermarkets accept credit cards. They're bound to, because 50 per cent of their customers are using cards. In my business, most of my clients are not based in the UAE and they prefer cash. Until now, I haven't met anyone paying me with card," he added.

"Also, with the financial situation in this country, and everywhere in the world, cheques are bouncing. Due to that, some companies have stopped accepting cheques unless they know the client very well. Cheque payments are risky," he said.

Fadil Hayek, manager of Radiant Dry Cleaners and Steam Laundry, which has seven outlets in Dubai, said all their customers use cash, so introducing an electronic payment system is not feasible.

"It's better to get cash payments. You get the money right away. We don't waste our time and our customers' time. With a credit card, you may encounter problems like the card is not working or the machine is not working, then you have to call up the bank. Whereas if customers pay cash, it's easy for them and easy for us," Hayek told Gulf News.


Syed, who manages a removal company that has four outlets in Dubai, said they prefer cash transactions because it's not only convenient for them, it also ensures that they will not run into cash flow problems.

"The funds are immediately available. With cash payments, there are no charge-back issues to deal with and we're not exposed to fraud," he told Gulf News.

1.) Nol card (from the ticket vending machine)

2.) Security deposit (Dewa)

3.) Visa fees at some consulates

4.) Petrol

5.) Work permit

6.) Labour card renewal

7.) Driving licence

8.) Taxis (some companies)

8.) Car registration fee

9.) Mortgage fee

10.) Services and goods at small shops (barbers, cafes, laundries, convenience stores etc)

Things you can't pay with a credit card: