How to choose a Bank to open a Savings Account In UAE?

A savings account is a basic yet the most essential form of deposit account to keep your finances safe and organized in a bank. Though the interest rates offered by savings accounts are comparatively lower, their safety, liquidity, reliability, ease of account opening and transaction make it indispensable. Selecting the right bank for savings account ensures that you do not end up receiving less interest rate on your account or end up paying for additional services. On the first look, the facilities offered by banks may appear similar, but a few banks offer you an edge. To increase your savings and reduce your expenditure on maintaining a bank account it is useful to pay attention to several factors. Starting with:  

1. Comparing Interest Rates

Even though the interest rates of savings accounts are comparatively less, it is beneficial to choose a bank that provides the best interest rates to maximize your profits. The banks in the UAE offer a variety of options to a customer to open a bank account. Each bank has several types of savings bank accounts offering different interest rates. These interest rates vary not only according to the bank but also according to the type of Savings Account and the balance. Therefore, as a smart investor, you may have to check the most suitable bank account which offers you the highest rate of interest. Usually, the interest rates are up to 4% but owing to the COVID-19, the interest rates have been revised by many banks. Nevertheless, some of the banks which provide the higher rate of interests on different types of accounts as per the balance slabs are:

Bank Type of Account Balance Slab Rate of Interest
Emirates NBD Savings Account All 0.20
Smart Saver Account Less than AED 25,000 0.00%
AED 25,000 to less than AED 100,000 1.25%
AED 100,000 to less than AED 2,000,000 0.75%
AED 2,000,000 and above 0.50%
Shake n’ Save Account Less than AED 10,000 0.75%
AED 10,000 to less than AED 100,000 0.50%
AED 100,000 and above 0.25%
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Active Saver Account Less than AED 10,000 0.00%
AED 10,000 and less than AED 500,000 0.35%
AED 500,000 to less than AED 2 Million 0.50%
AED 2 Million to up to AED 10 Million 0.75%
Above AED 10 Million 0.20%
AED 500,000 to less than AED 2 Million 0.50%
AED 2 Million to up to AED 10 Million 0.75%
Above AED 10 Million 0.20%
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Savings Account AED 5,000 – AED 10,000  0.31%
AED 10,000-AED 25,000  0.32%
Above AED 25000 0.33%
AED 10,000 and less than AED 500,000 0.35%
Ajman Bank Savings Account AED 5,000 and above 0.20%
Dubai Islamic Bank Saving Account All 0.15% 
  E-Saving Account All 0.15% 
Mashreq Bank Saving Account   0.15
Standard Chartered Bank XtraSaver Account First two months 0.25%
CitiBank Savings Account Third Month onwards 0.60%
0-9,999 0.15%
10,000-999,999 0.35%
1,000,000 and more 0.50%
see more

*Revised Rates-April 2021

2. What is the Minimum Balance Requirement of Your Bank?

Several banks allow customers to maintain zero balance on their Savings Bank Account. This allows you the flexibility of borrowing the amount without worrying about the minimum balance. However, many banks will expect you to maintain a minimum balance and failing to do so might attract monthly penalties. These monthly penalties also vary for each bank Here as a customer, you have to be wary of two factors. Firstly, which bank allows the least minimum balance and secondly, which bank demands the lowest penalties. The latter is important so that if there are occasions where you are unable to maintain the minimum balance, you can pay less monthly penalty. Though, even the less monthly penalties will cost you. Strategically using your savings account will allow you to gain more profits from your savings bank account.

Bank Minimum Balance Penalty (Monthly)
Emirates NBD AED 3000 AED 25 
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank AED 5000 (Savings Account) Zero Balance on Active Saver Account AED 25-AED 100
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank AED 3000 (Saving Account) Zero Balance on Online Savings Account AED 25
Ajman Bank AED 3000 AED 25
Al Hilal Bank Zero Balance Nil
Dubai Islamic Bank AED 3000 AED 26.25
Mashreq Bank AED 3000 AED 26.25
Standard Chartered Bank AED 3000 AED 26.25
CitiBank AED 3000 AED 25
see more

3. Pay Reduced Service Charges

While filling the form for Savings Account, many of us overlook the terms and conditions which describe the service charges applied by the bank for various services offered such as Cheque-books, e-statements, debit card, fees for message on each transaction, the total number of free transactions each month, and charges on additional transaction in a month. At the time of applying for a savings bank account, these details seem minute but later you will realize that these are some crucial details that might save you some extra money. For instance, several banks will charge you for e-statement while some banks will offer e-statements for free. It is highly suggested that you compare the service charges of each bank and read the terms and conditions carefully to ensure that there are no hidden charges applied by the bank. These small steps go miles in helping you save extra money each month.

4. Accessibility to Digital Banking

Online banking is invaluable since it saves your efforts and time. Especially during the pandemic, the face of banking has completely changed with digital banking replacing traditional banking methods. However, how often does it happen that you need to make a transaction but your account is inaccessible because the digital banking did not come along with the facilities offered by the bank? In such cases, you end up paying more to the bank for an essential banking service. Besides, many banks face server issues every now and then which hinders the process of a smooth transaction and results in frustration. Therefore, you will find it useful to ensure that your bank provides a good digital banking platform to enhance your banking experience. There are better things adding frustration to life, right?

5. Offers by Bank

Many banks in UAE offer monthly schemes to the customers. Monthly contests are conducted to rewards the customers. Some banks even offer a grand prize of AED 1 Million or a new car to their customers. Check if your bank has those monthly contests and how you can participate in them. Who knows, your Savings Account might be your ticket to a lottery and an even better fortune.

6. Deals on Debit Card 

There used to be days when debit cards were relevant only for ATM transactions. However today, the online platform has exponentially expanded the use of debit cards. Numerous banks tie-up with online service providers and e-shopping sites to offer the best deals on debit cards including some bonus rewards and heavy discounts. Before signing that final document, make sure that your bank’s debit card provides you these benefits.

7. Adequate ATM and Branches

Even though the world is becoming digital, there are still some payments which you need to make through cash only. The last thing you want in the middle of the pandemic or your busy schedule is searching for an ATM or standing in a long queue. It will be more advantageous to check if your bank has enough branches or ATMs around you so that you save time for more important things.

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