UAE vending machines now stocked with sukuk

In other countries, vending machines stock crisps and chocolate, but in the UAE, they stock gold – and now sukuk.

Sukuk Express, from the savings and investment company National Bonds, will allow people to deposit up to Dh20,000 into a Sharia-compliant savings account. National Bonds says that about 1,000 of the vending machines will be available across the seven emirates.

The sukuk uses a mudaraba contract, under which the saver (the Rab Al Mal) deposits funds with a principal (Mudarib), who reinvests the funds in Sharia-compliant assets.


Ninety-four per cent of National Bonds’ capital is invested in the UAE.

Last year, savers who invested more than Dh100,000 with National Bonds earned an average rate of return of 2.4 per cent, while those who invested between Dh10,000 and Dh100,000 earned 1.44 per cent on their funds.

“The earlier you start saving for retirement the easier it will be to afford, given the number of financial obligations that tend to be incurred later in your life,” said Jessica Cook, a financial adviser with AES International in Dubai.

“We are living longer and active retirement costs money,” she said.

Three-quarters of Abu Dhabi residents do not save enough for retirement, according to a survey conducted by YouGov for The National, while 25 per cent save no money. Some UAE residents hold as many as eight credit cards, the survey found.

Rising rents and school fees have eaten into the disposable incomes of many residents of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Half of surveyed expats said that they would be likely to leave the UAE because of the mounting cost of living.

While a large majority of expats move to the UAE to increase their financial well-being, many are falling short of their goal, the survey found.

“The rising costs of living are increasingly holding [expats] back from safeguarding the financial security they have been looking for, which makes moving out of the UAE a serious alternative,” Alaeddine Ghazouani, research manager at YouGov, told The National last month.

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