Opening a Bank Account in the UAE? Here’s What You Need to Know

With at least 50 banks operating in the UAE, you might wonder where you need to start to open a bank account. This is especially true for non-citizens or those coming in the country to work for the very first time. 

But, as you know in life, there is always a first time for everything – and the good news is, banking in the UAE has become more convenient through the years. In this article, we will cover some of the basic details you need to know to open your first bank account. 

Opening a Bank Account in the UAE? Here's What You Need to Know First

Everything You Need to Know About Opening a Bank Account in the UAE

You might think that opening a bank account is one of the first things you need to do when you start working abroad. 

That is generally true, but of course, you need to start somewhere first. Ask yourself: Why do I need to open a bank account? Your answers will pretty much be your guide as to where you should look and inquire.

Generally speaking, there are a few benefits to opening a bank account in the UAE. These include:

  • The ability to receive your monthly salary in your account from your employer;
  • Not having to pay or bring cash with you. Instead, you can simply keep and transfer money from your account to another;  
  • Having a checkbook and/or a debit/credit card;
  • Easier access to online shopping, bills payment, and recharge services; and finally
  • The most important of all: being able to save money while residing in the UAE.

How to Open a Bank Account?

Now that we know the purpose as well as the benefits of opening our own bank account here in the UAE, the next things we need to know are the requirements and the process to do so.

In some cases, you will be required to visit the bank to open an account. However, there are also others that allow customers to open a bank account online by submitting or sending the required documents through email or by uploading them on the bank’s website or mobile app. 

What are the basic requirements to open a Bank Account?   

1. Valid Emirates ID

2. Valid Passport (or copy) with UAE Residence Visa 

3. NOC or Salary Certificate from your company

What are the top Banks in the UAE? 

The key to getting the best out of anything is to stack up what you have and to choose what works best for you. For this reason, we will share the top 5 best banks in the UAE where you can get value for your money. 

1. Emirates NDB 

Emirates NDB is the largest banking group in the region. The Dubai-based bank has around 9,000 employees and manages 221 branches, and 1,023 ATMs and SDMs in the UAE and abroad. 

Benefits offered:

  • Customers can open an account either in AED or USD
  • Free international ATM/Debit Card
  • Cheque book facility
  • Bill payment facilities across all popular services
  • Monthly account statement 
  • Online banking and phone banking service
  • More than 70 ATMs across Dubai 

Additional Requirements: 

  • Copy of your labor contract 
  • NOC from sponsor
  • Statement of account (last salary); and
  • Consolidation Letter

Monthly Average Balance: AED 3,000

Fees if unable to maintain monthly minimum balance: AED 25

2. Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB)

The Dubai Islamic Bank which was established in 1975 is headquartered in Dubai and operates through its Consumer Banking, Corporate Banking, Real Estate Development, Treasury, and other business segments. The bank has over 1.7 million customers and maintains 90 branches across the UAE.

Benefits offered:

  • Free first checkbook
  • Free debit card with 5 years validity
  • Free cash, cheque, withdrawal, and deposit
  • Free mobile banking for online payments 
  • Complimentary monthly e-statement
  • Free Salik e-charge facility 
  • Free bill payments (Etisalat, Du, Dewa, Sewa, Fewa)
  • Live Chat option

Monthly Average Balance: AED 3,000

Fees if unable to maintain monthly minimum balance: AED 25

Daily Cash Withdrawal Limit: AED 10,000

Account Closer Fee: AED 26.25

3. Liv (Free Bank by Emirates NDB)

A subsidiary of the Emirates NDB, Liv serves as the new banking option for the younger generations in the UAE. The bank offers customers to open a bank account for free in the UAE. Also, they do not require any NOCs or salary certificate, and you don’t have to visit their office to open an account as everything can be done online using their mobile app platform.   

Benefits offered:

  • A debit card accepted worldwide
  • An instant digital current or savings account
  • Mobile app to track your payments and spending
  • Easy withdrawal at any ATMs available
  • 24/7 emergency support and live chat 
  • 50% deals off on online shopping, services, etc.  

Account Opening Fee: AED 0

Monthly Average Balance: AED 2,500

Fees if unable to maintain monthly minimum balance: AED 15

Early Account Closer Fee: AED 50

4. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)

Established in 1985, the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank offers retail, commercial, Islamic banking, and other financial services. The bank has operations in business segments such as consumer banking, wholesale banking, investments and treasury banking, and property management. The bank has over 16,000 employees and is headquartered in Abu Dhabi. 

Benefits offered:

  • Free debit card 
  • First checkbook for free
  • Complimentary monthly e-statement
  • Attractive rewards and offers

Monthly Average Balance: AED 5,000

Fees if unable to maintain monthly minimum balance: AED 25

An additional requirement to open an account: Salary Certificate

5. First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)

Previously known as the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the company which was established in 1968, and has been known to be one of the biggest lending banks in the UAE has changed its identity and is now recognized as the First Abu Dhabi Bank  

Benefits offered:

  • First checkbook for free
  • Free cash/cheque withdrawal/ deposit
  • Complimentary FAB Mastercard Debit Card
  • Complimentary lounge access at selected airports for platinum members  

Account Opening Fee: AED 3,000 

Monthly Average Balance: AED 3,000

Daily Cash Withdrawal Limit: AED 10,000

Additional requirement: Salary Certificate

Opening a bank account overseas can be a daunting task for many of us, especially when we do not have anyone who can assist us perform this process. 

The good thing in countries like the UAE, where many foreign nationals live, translation services are quite common already, and services are typically offered in both English and their native language. 

How was your experience in opening a bank account in the UAE for the first time? Let us know through the comment section below!

ALSO READ: UAE Money Matters – Guide to Banking, Taxes & Wills in Dubai

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