It costs $200000 to raise a child

Factbox measuring the worlds islamic financial centers

´╗┐DUBAI Competition is escalating between global financial centers - particularly London, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur - to attract Islamic financial business, as the industry grows faster than conventional finance. Following is a comparative summary of the Islamic finance sectors in the three centers. LONDON Islamic banking assets: $19 billion. Number of banks: over 20 institutions offer sharia-compliant financial services, including six full-fledged Islamic banks. Sukuk issuance: over $34 billion raised through 49 issues on London Stock Exchange since 2009. Scholarship: 60 institutions offer Islamic finance courses and 22 universities have similar degrees. Strategic strengths: Huge and liquid conventional markets; widely respected legal system. Strategic weakness: Lack of natural Islamic hinterland.

DUBAI Islamic banking assets: $75 billion in retail banking assets across United Arab Emirates in 2011. Number of banks: seven Islamic retail banks in UAE. Sukuk issuance: $12.1 billion now listed on Dubai exchanges.

Scholarship: The UAE has 31 institutes and 9 universities offering Islamic finance education; the government has also launched the Dubai Centre For Islamic Banking and Finance. Strategic strengths: Top banking center for Gulf Arab region; entrepreneurial culture; state-run firms which are regular sukuk issuers. Strategic weakness: Relatively untested as regulatory center. KUALA LUMPUR

Islamic banking assets: $135 billion. Number of banks: 16 Islamic banks. Sukuk issuance: Outstanding sukuk totaled $148 billion in 2012. Scholarship: 50 institutions offering industry courses and 18 universities offering degrees. Strategic strengths: Islamic hinterland in southeast Asia; reputation for strong regulation. Strategic weakness: Financial markets more focused on domestic business than Dubai and London. Sources: Islamic Finance Development Indicator; Ernst & Young; local stock exchanges and central banks.

Hidden credit card perks can save shoppers

´╗┐Want to save a few quick bucks on your holiday shopping? Your credit card may offer some little-known perks that could save you money both upfront and after the purchase. Of the 100 most popular credit cards, 81 offered some kind of extended warranty, according to a study released on Wednesday from, a card rating website run by (RATE. N). Just over half had purchase security, useful if your item is lost or stolen and the retailer or shipping company does not make good on the loss. Forty-seven cards had price protection, meaning the credit card issuer will match the price if it drops within a certain amount of time, and 26 guaranteed returns even when the merchant does not. Of the cards studied, 17 offered all four of these protections. To take advantage, you first have to know what is available on your card. Then you have to jump through the many required hoops.“These perks can really help in certain circumstances, but most people don’t know that they are there to be taken,” said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at He added that the credit card issuers declined to provide usage numbers for his study. One quick way to check if your card has hearty protections is to look at the bottom right-hand corner, said Sean McQuay, credit card expert at A Visa card with the “Signature” or “Infinite” tag will likely have the best protections. For MasterCard, look for “World Elite.”American Express and Discover offer the same protections at all levels, McQuay said.

 THE FINE PRINT Extended warranty coverage, while the most common type of protection offered, is probably used sparingly by consumers because few know about it, said Schulz. But this is the perk that could save consumers real money, because they can decline the extended warranty offered by retailers. It is akin to knowing that if your credit card offers insurance protection for rental cars, you can decline expensive add-on coverage.

AJ Saleem, who works for a tutoring company in Houston, did not find it too daunting to use his extended warranty coverage to get $60 to fix a broken iPhone speaker three months after the manufacturer’s one-year warranty ended. He sent his card company a copy of the warranty document, the repair quote and the original purchase statement and it sent him a check. The other credit card protections require more documentation. Refunds for stolen items may require police reports, for instance, said McQuay.“These perks are best applied to big-ticket items,” said Schulz. “They'll be worth the time and effort to find the paperwork and make the phone calls, because the money you get back is real and impactful.”Curtis Arnold, editor in chief of, used one of his cards for reimbursement for a stolen lawn mower after his shed was burglarized. "It really soothed my despair," he said.

Card issuers are moving to an easier system that will require less legwork, at least for price matching, said Schulz. Citigroup Inc (C. N) already has its Citi Rewind feature, which enables users to register a purchase; the system will then check automatically for price drops. Citi keeps a running tally of savings on its promotional page, which claims that so far, more than 200,000 payments have been issued to the tune of almost $5.5 million. Schulz said Capital One(COF. N) just acquired a company that could allow it to offer something similar, and he thinks more will follow. For now, the savvy consumer has to learn a few tricks in order to save. Justin Chidester, a financial planner in Logan, Utah, did not have much luck at first with the price matching. When he tried to use it to get money back on some chairs he bought, the card company wanted not just the original receipt and proof of the new lower price offer, but also a screen shot of the original price he paid for the items. “I got tripped up,” said Chidester. Wiser on his second attempt, he bought a new TV for $450 and saved a screen shot of the original offer. When the price dropped shortly afterward to $300, he was prepared and quickly got a $150 statement credit for his effort.