Establishing your bank account is a process that requires a lot of attention to detail, regardless if you are new to the country or just want to explore more banking options. If you want to open an account, there are a number of options with most banks providing services and options based on your financial needs.
Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know to open a bank account in the UAE.
You should consider saving accounts if you aren’t going to need to access them regularly on a daily basis. Saving accounts offer monthly interest and low minimum balance requirements.
However, although current accounts do not offer interest on their balances, they do have access to checkbooks, which can be extremely useful for payments such as rent or big purchases.
- Basic – Basic services like an ATM card are provided with no or low minimum balance requirements.
- Salary account – In accordance with the UAE’s Wage Protection System, an employee’s salary is transferred electronically to this account.
- Premium account – In addition to the most basic accounts, nearly all banks offer a broad range of other accounts for consumers. You can select accounts that offer better interest rates, free credit cards, foreign currency accounts, fixed or flexible deposits, higher daily withdrawal limits, etc., depending on your needs and usage requirements.
- Islamic banking – Customers can also find Shariah-compliant banking options at many banks. In its Islamic banking department, Commercial Bank of Dubai clarifies that Islamic banking operates on the basis of profit and loss sharing, with the bank acting more as an investor, buyer, or seller. According to its website: “What’s more, Islamic banks have no provision to charge any extra money from the defaulters. In fact, only a nominal amount is levied by way of compensation, and this money is donated to charity. On the other hand, rebates may be given for early settlement at the Bank’s discretion.”
There are about 20 national banks in the UAE, as well as a number of international banks that have branches across the nation.
You should talk to at least a handful of banks or check out their websites before making a decision. You should also consider whether the bank offers online and mobile phone banking with your account opening. Many banks also offer competitions that might sway your decision.
Salary account – Wage Protection System
A decree by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE) mandated that salaries of employees be transferred to their bank accounts under the Wages Protection System (WPS). For this reason, you may need to provide your bank account information when you receive a new job offer. Unpaid salaries can be reported to MoHRE if they occur.
The following documents must also be submitted with your account opening form:
- Make sure you have a copy and the original of your passport
- A copy of your visa page proving that you are a UAE resident
- Emirates ID
- Some banks may require a sponsor’s no-objection certificate (NOC)
- Salary certificates for salary-transfer accounts.
The following proofs of income may be obtained in the absence of a salary certificate:
- Copy of the appointment letter/contract.
- Payslip (less than 3 months old).
- A recent statement of account showing the transfer of your salary.
- Contact your company’s HR department for a NOC, salary certificate, payslip, or appointment letter. A NOC from your father or husband is sufficient if you are sponsored by them.
- To open a second bank account in UAE, you can provide the bank where your first account is located with bank statements as proof of funds. Online banking is also offered by many banks.
How to do it online?
Banks are now offering customers the option to upload documents online. As soon as your application is approved, you will receive a reference number and have access to your account.
How long does the process take?
Account opening can take anywhere from a few hours to two working days. As soon as you open an account, many banks will deliver your ATM card and checkbook directly to your doorstep via courier (for a fee in some cases).