Banks in the UAE have been pouring reserves of cash into long standing partnerships with global football clubs and even though they’re simply excuses to suck poor, deluded fans into supporting their clubs by accepting a level of debt, it seems a great opportunity to delve into what these cards even offer anyone wanting to sign-up for them.

Now I’m no finance guy, so I’m simply judging these products on the level of info available online, which in this day and age is only fair, right?

#1 Emirates NBD Manchester United Credit and Prepaid Cards

credit-card-emirates-nbd-manchester-united-01Much like an in form Rooney and van Persie, this duo are by far the front-runners in the race to suck people into spending money they don’t have in the first place. The dedicated micro-site promoting the cards has a slick HTML 5 interface which scrolls seamlessly, is responsive for various devices and looks legit, plus the cards entitle you to some seriously fan rewards:

  • Cantona’s Corner < - A tour by 'The King' himself,
  • Rendezvous with Robin < - A trip to watch the team train at Carrington,
  • Sir Alex Special < - Something about a VIP blow-dryer experience at Old Trafford,
  • Shimmy with Chevy < - You could win a car, not the comedian.

Overall, the marketing heads behind this deal have put some real thought into the offers and the products, not forgetting the extremely large billboards they’d taken out around town to show-off this deal when it initially launched.

Final score: 8/10

#2 United Arab Bank Signature Cards


Not quite as glitzy as their English counterparts, the Barca cards offer a host of random lifestyle and travel benefits the more you spend. Anything from free movie tickets, to prestigious golf club access around the world and airport speed pass services… you know, the shit you need day-to-day.

This short video appeals to the Barca fan in you by showing you some random match footage and tells you how great the cards are:

The online experience is clean, even though it lacks the flare you’d expect from a deal that puts one of the worlds best teams on your bank card and overall screams mid-table Espanyol instead of table topping FC Barcelona.

Final score: 6/10

#3 First Gulf Bank Manchester City Platinum Cards


Arab-money and Man City go hand in hand these days, so I’m surprised that the overall look and feel of the site, the offers and the cards look so cheap and disconnected. Sure they offer vague chances to go and watch Manchester City play in a final match if you spend a cumulative AED 15,000 (US$4,000) on your credit card in a year, or the chance to meet players (from the reserve team, no doubt) or finally a discount or upgrade at some of Abu Dhabi’s leisure and adventure theme parks, Ferrari World and Yas WaterWorld.

I’m not digging the MCFC experience at all and feel that they’d have to do a lot of work before I’d be silly enough spening my money on their offers.

Final score: 3/10

To sum up this article I’d like to introduce you to the official anthem of all this jargon… take it away Busta Rhymes – Arab Money!!!

This is what “supporting” your team looks like in 2014…

What do you think?