Expat residents in the UAE are eligible to apply for savings, deposits and current accounts whereas a non-resident can open a savings and deposits account in the UAE.
“New expats relocating to the UAE can open a bank account with any bank in the UAE as long as they adhere to the KYC and due diligence requirements outlined by the UAE Central Bank and the bank’s internal compliance guidelines,” says Renoy Kundukulam, Head of Priority Banking, Noor Bank.
Many factors influence an individual’s choice for type of account including if he/she is a resident or a non-resident, a businessperson or a company employee, or whether an interest-bearing account is preferred or one with a chequebook facility.
A savings account provides the customer with interest payments based on the balance of funds they hold on the account, says Tooran Asif, Head of Personal Banking at Mashreq.
“It can be opened in dirhams or a foreign currency denomination of the customer’s choice but does not provide a chequebook facility.
They come with a debit card that the customer can use for online or point-of-sales purchases. It also allows the customer to deposit and withdraw cash from any bank ATM or within their branch network.
However, the eligibility to open a savings account will depend on a pre-defined salary of the individual.”
Current accounts are offered only to UAE residents and thus a resident visa and a valid Emirates ID become a mandatory requirement.
“Current account holders have access to the debit card and chequebooks to manage their account conveniently along with the facilities of online banking, offered by most banks in the UAE,” Kundukulam says.
“No profit is paid out in a current account.”
Asif says an expat resident must provide the completed application form, valid passport with residence visa page and Emirates ID to open a savings or current account in the UAE.
And in the case of non-residents opening a savings account, a two-month bank statement from the country of residence will also be required.
Questions to ask when opening a bank account
1. Is the interest rate offered on the account only for a promotional period?
2. Is the interest paid daily, weekly, monthly, annually or quarterly?
3. What is the monthly minimum balance?
4. What is the permitted number of transactions (deposits and withdrawals) for each month?
5. What are the charges for issuing a new chequebook/debit/ATM card?