Bank Accounts

Bank Overview

While around 40 years back, UAE did not even have its own currency, today it has evolved to become a global financial hub. In the GCC region, the banking sector in the UAE is amongst the largest in terms of assets. It manages around US$700 billion assets and around US$450 billion deposits.

Hence, the UAE boasts an amazing banking system that is known for its effective customer service and economic stability across the globe. A lot of successful entrepreneurs and foreign investors seek to open their bank account in the UAE.

Any person who is eligible by law is allowed to opt for a bank account in the UAE. The accountholders can avail a wide range of benefits that include-

  1. Confidentiality
  2. Stability, safety, and reliability
  3. Convenient withdrawal as well as a deposit of funds
  4. Attractive rate of interests on deposits

However, there are some restrictions on financial services and instruments for residents & non-residents in the UAE which should be taken care of.

What is the Need of a Bank Account in the UAE?

Of course, it is not absolutely mandatory by law to have a bank account in the UAE. However, there are various reasons why having one can be essential. Usually, the accountholders are able to manage their spending and saving habits in a better way.

Bank statements that are received regularly, display where and when the funds were spent. This can help people in budgeting and planning for the future. Clever management of spending and saving can assist people in meeting their financial goals. 

Here is why a Bank account is Needed in the UAE.

Making Life Easier

There must be people who have tried paying their hefty bills in cash, without utilizing the facilities offered by a bank account. Making payments in this manner can turn out to be a pain at times. Having an option of simply writing a cheque can be a huge relief, especially for those who had to make use of money orders or wire transfers.

These days, it has become very convenient to open bank account online. The banks also offer various other services including person-to-person payments, direct transfers online between accounts, and round the clock account access, which has helped in making lives of the users easier.

Keeping the Funds Safe

Earlier, people used to stash their money under their mattresses. Gone are the days when mattresses could ensure the safety of the money. One theft or a house fire is enough to take away this personal fortune.

However, there is a safer option. By opening a bank account in Dubai people can deposit their funds safely with the bank. The banks have provisions of safeguarding the deposits such that if anything were to happen to the bank, they will not lose a penny of the deposited money.

For Earning Interest

When people deposit their money in the bank accounts, they earn a certain amount of interest on these deposits. Interest earned on the deposits can be considered as an income for the accountholder. It encourages them to save on a regular basis, which without a doubt is a good habit to be developed from an early age.

Types of Bank Accounts in the UAE

There are various types of bank accounts that store funds on the customer’s behalf. Following are the categories of bank accounts available in the UAE.

Savings Account

Savings accounts are deposit accounts with a bank or a financial institution on which the accountholder can earn modest rates of interest (profit rates in case of Islamic Banks).

The withdrawals per month from a savings account may be limited to a certain number as per the discretion of the bank or financial institution.

In case of a savings account, the accountholder has to maintain a certain average balance every month in its account. However, this is not required if it is a zero balance account in UAE. If not, they will be charged a  penalty if they fail to maintain this minimum balance.

How Does Savings Account Work?

The savings bank account is usually opened for keeping the funds that are not intended for regular or daily expenses. These accounts may have limits on the number of transactions and withdrawals made by the accountholder in a month. The accountholders earn a considerable amount of rate of interest (profit rate) on this deposit.

What are the Advantages of a Savings Account?

The savings account in the UAE has various advantages for its users. Here are some of these advantages.

  1. Since the accountholder can earn interest, it is generally more beneficial for them to deposit their unneeded money in a savings bank account, hence making their money grow.
  2. A savings account is amongst the most liquid type of investments other than cash or demand accounts.
  3. It is quite easy to access funds through a savings account.

Current Account

Current bank account in UAE is quite popular among firms, companies, businessmen, and public enterprises who usually have a higher amount of regular transactions with the financial institutions or banks.

Generally, the current account includes withdrawals, deposits, and contra transactions. These accounts do not usually have any limit on the number of transactions that can be made in a month.

How does Current Account Work?

The people in the UAE have the option of opening a current account with a lot of commercial banks. It is usually associated with large transactions done on a daily basis.

Due to the fluidity that this Dubai bank account offers, the accountholder does not generally earn a higher interest on it. However, it may differ from bank to bank.

What are the Advantages of a Current Account?

The current account in the UAE has various advantages for its users. Here are some of these advantages.

  • A current account allows for handling huge volumes of payments and/or receipts systematically.
  • There is no limit on the withdrawals (as per the discretion of the bank or financial institution). They (account holders), however, might have to pay cash transaction charges on these withdrawals.
  • This bank account is specially designed for the businessmen or entrepreneurs who can manage their regular transactions with no hassle and earn interests.

Fixed Deposit

A fixed deposit or FD is a financial tool that is offered by financial institutions or banks to provide the accountholder with a high-interest rate until the pre-determined maturity date. Generally, the interest rate (profit rate) offered on fixed deposits is higher than the savings account.

These accounts usually have short-term maturities that may range from a few days to a few years. Under this fixed-term investment, the accountholder cannot withdraw their money before the end of the term or maturity date. However, pre-mature withdrawals can be allowed depending on the bank, subject to a considerable charge on it.

How does a Fixed Deposit Work?

Fixed deposits are high interest-bearing deposits with a bank or a financial institution for a fixed period of time. The duration of the FD is pre-determined when the applicant does open bank account online UAE.

In case of fixed deposits, the money cannot be withdrawn as and when the accountholder wishes to. They withdraw their funds only after the maturity or end of the term. However, the accountholder may be able to withdraw the money before the maturity by giving prior notice and bearing a percentage of pre-mature withdrawal penalty.

What are the Advantages of a Fixed Deposit?

The Fixed Deposit Account in the UAE has various advantages for its users. Here are some of these advantages.

  • FD is amongst the safest financial or investment instruments in the UAE that offers great stability to the accountholder.
  • There are assured returns on FDs without any risk of loss in principal.
  • Usually, Fixed Deposits offer a higher rate of interest (profit rate) as compared to a savings bank account in UAE.

Salary Account

A salary account is an account where your salary is credited. Generally, banks in the UAE open such accounts on the request of big corporations or major companies. The employees of the companies get their individual salary account, which they can operate themselves.

How does a Salary Account Work?

When the companies have to distribute the salary to the employees, the concerned bank takes funds from the accounts of the company and accordingly distributes it to the employees. Usually, there is no need to maintain a minimum balance on this account, however, there can be an exception to this as per the discretion of the individual bank.

Business Accounts

Every business requires a system for managing the funds. Business accounts in the UAE are used for tracking the money owed to business and creditors, the cash balance, and payroll given to the employees etc. 

How does Business Account Work?

This type of bank account in UAE helps the owners of the business to track their expenses, manage their funds, and calculate the tax liabilities. This type of account is different from personal bank accounts as it is made specifically for businesses in the UAE.

Features and Benefits of Bank Account in the UAE

Banks in the UAE offer various eminent benefits and features with bank accounts. Here are a few of them.

Debit and Credit Card Facility

Most of the banks in the UAE, offer free debit/credit card facility along with the bank accounts. The accountholder can make use of these cards for accessing their funds. Moreover, they can make withdrawals, but within the limit determined by the concerned bank.

Cheque Book Facility

A lot of banks in the UAE provide the facility of cheque book to the accountholder for making their transactions easy.

Flexible Funds Transfer

The accountholder can easily transfer funds using their bank account through the net banking or mobile banking services of the concerned bank.

Loan/Credit Facility

The accountholder can easily access the facility of business, personal, car and other types of loans if they have bank accounts with the banks in the UAE.

Competitive Interest/Profit Rate

The banks in the UAE offer competitive rates of interest (profit rates in the case of Islamic Banks) on the amount deposited with them. This interest is an earning for the accountholder and may act as savings for them.

24/7 Customer Service

The banks and financial institutions in the UAE offer round the clock customer service to the accountholders. They effectively resolve their issues and queries.

Top 10 Banks to Consider While Opening a Bank Account in UAE

Bank Name

Type of Account

Basic Features

Emirates NBD



Savings Account

  • Rate of Interest starting from 0.25% to 4%
  • Average Relationship Balance (Minimum): 3000 AED




Current Account

  • Both interest and non-interest bearing accounts available
  • Available in Multiple Currencies
  • Cheque Book and Free ATM/Debit Card facility



Fixed Deposit

  • Available at Competitive Rate of Interest
  • Minimum Deposit Required: AED 10,000

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Savings Account

  • Opening Amount: AED 5,000
  • Free e-statements

Current Account

  • Opening Amount: AED 5,000/USD 1,500
  • Free e-statements

Fixed Deposit

  • Minimum Deposit Required: AED 5,000
  • Interest Rate offered: Up to 3.15 percent per annum

Business Account

  • Minimum Opening Account: AED 10,000
  • Free e-statements

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Savings Account

  • Minimum Balance Required: AED 3,000
  • Based on Mudaraba Islamic Principle

Current Account

  • Minimum Balance Required: AED 3,000
  • Based on Qard Hasan Islamic Principle

Salary Account

  • Based on Mudaraba Islamic Principle
  • Salary transfer required

Business Account

  • Minimum Deposit Balance (monthly): AED 5,000
  • Offers Competitive Fee Structure

Ajman Bank

Savings Account

  • Sharia-compliant
  • Free statements quarterly, e-statements available
  • Available in multiple currencies

Current Account

  • Sharia-compliant
  • Free statements monthly, e-statements available
  • Available in multiple currencies

Salary Account

  • No minimum/average balance required
  • Easy salary transfer
  • Preferential profit rates

Fixed Deposit

  • Profit Distributed quarterly
  • Deposit Tenure: 3-12 months
  • Minimum Balance Required: AED 10,000
  • Available in USD and AED

Al Hilal Bank

Savings Account

  • Sharia Compliant
  • Minimum Balance Required: AED 5,000

Current Account

  • Sharia Compliant
  • Free First Cheque book

Salary Account

  • Sharia Compliant
  • No minimum balance required

Term Deposit Account

  • Sharia Compliant
  • Minimum Deposit Required: AED 25,000

Union National Bank

Savings Account

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: AED 250
  • Minimum Average Balance (monthly): AED 3,000
  • Available in multiple currencies

Current Account

  • Low Minimum Balance Required
  • Overdraft Facility available
  • Free Cheque Book

Salary Account

  • No Minimum Opening Amount
  • No Minimum Balance Required
  • Personalized Debit Card

Fixed Deposit

  • Deposit Tenure: 1 month to one year and more
  • Available in multiple currencies
  • Overdraft Facility available

Dubai Islamic Bank

Savings Account

  • Attractive Profit Rates
  • Available for minors
  • Available in multiple currencies

Current Account

  • Free cheque book
  • Free account statements
  • Facility of free bill payment

Fixed Deposit

  • Attractive Profit Rates
  • Available for Minors
  • Available in multiple currencies

Mashreq Bank

Savings Account

  • Minimum Balance Required: AED 3,000 (no minimum balance required for Easy Saver account)
  • Interest Rate Offered: 0.25 percent per annum
  • Free Debit Card (no debit card with Easy Saver Account)

Current Account

  • Minimum Balance Required: AED 3,000
  • Free first cheque book
  • Free Debit Card

Fixed Deposit

  • Minimum Deposit Required: AED 10,000
  • Available in multiple currencies
  • Minimum Interest Rate Offered: 1.44 percent

Standard Chartered Bank

Savings Account

  • Attractive Interest Rates, paid monthly
  • Contactless Debit Card acceptable globally
  • Available in USD and AED

Current Account

  • No limit on withdrawals and deposits
  • Free Debit Card acceptable globally
  • Available in multiple currencies

Fixed Deposit

  • Minimum Deposit Required: AED 25,000
  • Attractive returns with competitive interest rates
  • Automatic Renewal


Savings Account

  • Interest credited monthly
  • Withdrawal Limit per day: AED 10,000
  • Available in multiple currencies

Current Account

  • Personalized Cheque Book
  • International Debit Card
  • Available in multiple currencies

Fixed Deposit

  • Deposit Tenure: 30 days to one year
  • Available in multiple currencies

(Updated as on June 25, 2019)

Eligibility Criteria to Open a Bank Account

 In order to ensure getting the best bank account in UAE, the applicant needs to meet the basic eligibility criteria as determined by the concerned bank. Here is a list of requirements for getting an account in the UAE.

  1. Minimum Income: The applicant must have a certain minimum monthly income to be able to apply for opening a bank account in the UAE. This income requirement is determined by the concerned bank or financial institution.
  2. Residence: Most of the banks allow only UAE residents to open bank accounts with them. These applicants have to submit a valid residence proof in order to get their accounts opened.
  3. Age Limit: There is also a certain age requirement to open a bank account. Usually, the minimum age should be 21 years in the UAE. However, it may differ from bank to bank or is decided by the sole discretion of the concerned bank.
  4. Salary Transfer: Salary transfer is not mandatory in case of all banks. Some banks, however, may allow only those people to open account who transfer their salary to an account with them.

Note:  The applicant may have to fulfill additional eligibility requirements as asked by the concerned bank.

How to Open a Bank Account in the UAE?

Getting a bank account is amongst the most important things a person should have in place while in the UAE. Apart from helping in receiving the salary, it is an important requirement for managing day-to-day finances, regular transactions, payments, and is, in fact, a basic requirement for sponsoring the family.

In the UAE, the applicant has the option of choosing from a huge range of banks that are Sharia-compliant or conventional and global or regional. They can select a bank that is accessible widely (in terms of both ATM and branches), well-known and contains no hidden charges.

Typically, the applicant has the option of choosing between a savings account, current account, fixed deposit, salary account, and business SMEs.

There are three ways of opening a bank account in Dubai and other Emirates- phone banking, online banking, and branch application.

  1. Branch Applications: The applicant can visit the nearest branch of a particular bank for getting an account opened. They need to carry the required documents and submit them along with a filled up application form.
  2. Phone Banking: The applicant has the option of getting their bank account open through phone banking by calling on the customer care number of the bank. This number can be obtained from the concerned bank’s official website.
  3. Online Banking: Online account opening is another option for the applicant. They can visit the official website of the bank and use the user-friendly online banking portals to get their accounts opened.

Note: The applicant has to meet the eligibility criteria and submit the required documents for getting the bank accounts opened in the UAE, irrespective of the mode of application they are using.

It usually takes around 2-4 business/working days for the account to get opened. Here is a list of things the applicant needs to take care of after the account is opened.

  • Safely maintain the customer number, swift code, IBAN, and bank account number. All of these are mentioned in the welcome letter.
  • Understanding the limits on withdrawal from the account.
  • Keeping the customer care contact number handy.
  • Being aware of the various charges applicable to the account every month.

Documents Required to Open a Bank Account

In order to open bank account online or otherwise in the UAE, the applicants will be needing a few documents (possibly some extra copies too). When they meet the banker for opening the account or apply online for that matter, they should have the following documents.



Address and Identity Proof

  • Valid Passport ((original and copies) a
  • Required number of passport size photographs
  • UAE residence Visa (original and copy)
  • Emirates ID card
  • Recent receipt of utility payment or rental contract (signed) for confirming the address

Employment Related Documents

  • Document showing the name of the employer and the amount of salary
  • No-objection letter from the employer or sponsor

Other Documents

  • Recommendation letter from another bank (if already have an account)
  • Trade License (in case of business accounts)

Note: The applicants may have to submit additional documents as asked by the concerned bank. 

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