How to open a personal bank account in UAE

Apart from keeping your savings safe and secure, an account allows you to conduct several important transactions

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James Jose

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Image used for illustrative purpose. — File photo
Image used for illustrative purpose. — File photo

Published: Thu 7 Dec 2023, 5:29 PM

Landed a new job and planning to move to the UAE? Renting a house or buying one? For all these reasons and more, it is vital to have a personal bank account in the UAE.

The benefits of holding a personal bank account are immense. Apart from keeping your savings safe and secure, an account allows you to deposit your income directly into a bank, pay your rent and utility bills with ease, and conduct various other transactions.

Two types of accounts

There are two types of accounts — a savings and a current account. A savings account helps you store your savings with an interest rate on your balance. And you also get a debit card and/or a credit card for purchases and transactions. A current account allows you to write cheques for transactions and you get a debit/credit to use for your transactions.

Here, we walk you through the process of opening an account.

Important things to keep in mind

>> Before you embark on opening an account, first find out which bank you want to open an account in. Then, find out the location of the branches of the bank and their working days and hours of service. It is best to keep in mind to also check the location of the bank’s ATMs near your home or work. Also, make sure the bank provides internet and digital services.

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>> When opening an account, you will be asked by the bank to sign account agreements. Make sure you take the time to understand your obligations. You should also be aware that it can take up to four business days to complete the account opening procedures.

>> To open an account, you will need to provide several documents. You should confirm with the bank beforehand exactly which documents are required and what the information the documents must include. Without the right documents and information, you will have difficulty completing the account opening procedures. Make sure to talk to your bank first.

Here are the basic documents that are required:

  • Emirates ID
  • Passport copy in the absence of an Emirates ID
  • Current visa or some other proof of residency (UAE driving licence, UAE utility bill, tenancy contract, another bank statement, etc.)
  • A letter from your employer

Questions to ask

When deciding to open an account, ask the bank representative about:

  • The ability to issue cheques
  • Rates of interest on savings accounts
  • Returned cheque fees
  • Overdraft privileges and related costs
  • Bank policy on holds on funds being deposited;
  • Access to foreign currency
  • Access to a debit card
  • Monthly and transaction fees
  • Minimum balance requirements
  • Cost for and ease of transfers of funds
  • Notice requirements to the branch for large withdrawals

Things to remember

>> If the bank provides you with a debit card for your account, find out about the withdrawal limits as well as at which ATMs the debit card can be used and if there are any transaction fees.

>> One of the most important things to keep in mind when opening an account is to not share your PIN (security number) with anyone.

>> According to the Central Bank of the UAE, this information is not to be taken as legal advice, nor does it provide all of the details required to open an account. The onus remains on the customer to understand their obligations.

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