Opening up a bank account should be one of the very first things you do when you come to Dubai or, ideally, get it set up before you arrive. There are plenty of options for banking within Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, so make sure you’ve shopping around and found the bets bank for you.
Some banks will require a minimum amount of cash deposited each month, others may ask for a minimum monthly balance and others will just require your salary certificate to show them that you’ll have a steady income while you’re here.
Your choices are wide and varied but depend on what exactly you’re going to be bringing to Dubai, whether you have a job already and whether you want to arrange your account set up before you arrive, once you arrive and whether you want to try out some of the cool new digital banks in the UAE.
Set up your bank account and book a tee-time on some of the best golf courses in Dubai.
Pre-Arrival Bank Account
Wouldn’t it be nice to land at Dubai International Airport, walk out into the arrivals and be met by a banking representative who will hand over a brand new SIM card to you as soon as you arrive with 500MB of data, 30 flexible minutes and the ability to upgrade, free, to a permanent phone package?
Luckily, HSBC offers exactly that and more. They will help you set up your bank account before you arrive, meet you at the airport with the above and then help you out while you get your Emirates ID and residency. How nice of them?
Upon Arrival Bank Account
If you’re not a fan of HSBC or don’t like their requirements for their pre-arrival account, you can always opt to set up a bank account once you land in Dubai. There’s plenty to choose from, with a whole list of national banks and commercial banks available. You’re going to want to search through and find out a few key things about the banks before you open up a bank account with them, though.
- Location of ATMs and Branches
- Minimum balance or monthly requirements
- Schedule of charges
You want to find a bank that has an ATM and a branch quite local to you, with a heavy emphasis on ATM, as using another bank’s ATM will incur a fee every time you try and withdraw cash.
The minimum balance or monthly requirements may not apply to you if you’re transferring your salary to them but if not and, sometimes, even so, so make sure you’re well aware of any minimum requirements for the bank. Failure to maintain the minimum requirements will result in a maintenance fee, charged monthly ranging between 50 AED (£10) up to 250 AED (£51) and up.
Finally, the schedule of charges. This is always clearly marked on their websites and will give you a list of everything that they may charge for, study this list and make sure you’re not going to be paying extra for something another bank offers for free or paying a lot for something you do regularly, like transferring cash.