Dubai’s economy is widely diversified. Once a place reliant on oil and pearling, it is now a global hub with wide ranges of economic revenue such as from trade, finance, tourism and finance. Dubai is known for being progressive and liberal, allowing for expansion and turning the emirate into an international business center. Soon home to the Expo 2020, Dubai is rapidly expanding and attracting investors from around the world.
List of banks in UAE
- United Emirates Bank
- Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
- Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
- Arab Bank
- Bank of Baroda
- Arab Emirates Investment Bank
- Bank of Sharjah
- Citibank UAE
- Commercial Bank International
- Commercial Bank of Dubai
- Dubai Islamic Bank
- Emirates NBD
- Emirates Islamic Bank
- Finance House
- First Gulf Bank
- HSBC Bank Middle East Limited
- Invest Bank
- Zbavi Bank
- National Bank of Abu Dhabi
- National Bank of Dubai now EmiratesNBD
- National Bank of Fujairah
- National Bank of Umm Al-Qaiwain
- Noor Islamic Bank now Noor Bank
- Union National Bank
- United Arab Bank
Top Banks of The UAE/Dubai
|National Bank of Abu Dhabi||102,395,511||1,518,886||3||UAE|
|First Gulf Bank||57,764,362||1,553,236||9||UAE|
|Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank||55,545,729||1,143,856||11||UAE|
|Dubai Islamic Bank||33,729,202||763,334||15||UAE|
|Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank||30,466,595||476,638||18||UAE|
|Union National Bank||25,446,023||550,102||24||UAE|
|Commercial Bank of Dubai||12,773,551||327,323||36||UAE|
|United Arab Bank||6,999,533||164,827||48||UAE|
|Bank of Sharjah||6,821,231||77,843||49||UAE|
|Sharjah Islamic Bank||6,650,072||80,304||50||UAE|
This chart is from Gulf Business
Currency of Dubai
The currency in Dubai is the Arab Emirate Dirham, shorted to dirham. The dirham comes in coin (fil) and note form. 100 fils = 1 dirham.
Notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 dirhams.
Coins: 1 AED; 5, 10, 25, 50 fils.
The dirham is pegged to the US dollar: 1 USD = 3.67 AED.
All about banking in Dubai
Many international banks are located in Dubai, as well as several local banks. All of the banks have information on their websites in English as well as Arabic and several other languages. Choosing a bank really depends on your preference. Many of the local banks of the UAE are excellent choices, and should not be overlooked. They also have the most ATMs scattered throughout the city as well, making it easy to take out money whenever needed without an additional charge. The larger international banks do not provide as many ATM machines throughout Dubai.
If you are going to Dubai to work, then often times your employer will suggest a bank for you to choose, which will most likely come with certain incentives. Banks are generally open from 8 am until 3 pm Saturday - Thursday, and on Fridays they are closed.
Every bank will have its own set of minimum balance requirements, so be sure to check the details before signing any contracts.
Opening a bank account for residents in Dubai
Opening a bank account in the UAE is similar to opening a bank account in other countries. The first thing you will have to do is research which bank you would like to open a bank account with. Each bank will have its own set of criteria needed but generally the things you will need to bring with you are as follows:
- Copy of passport(s), including residence visa page; as well as original passport(s) for validation
- Sponsor's letter of no objection
- Salary Certificate (in case of salary transfer accounts); in the absence of a Salary Certificate, any one of the following documents may be obtained:
- Appointment Letter / Contract Copy
- Pay slip (< 3 month old)
- Consolidated letter from HR for bulk accounts
- Completed bank account application form
- Most recent statement of account where customer's salary is being transferred
Once you obtain the necessary documents, bring them to the bank of your choice to open your account. Usually you will be asked if you would also like to apply for a credit card as well. Shortly after your bank account is open you will receive your debit/ATM card in the mail.
Opening a bank account in Dubai for non-residents
It is possible to open a bank account in most banks even if you are not a resident in Dubai. These types accounts are usually savings accounts, not checking accounts.
All you will need to bring with you is your original passport and a copy of it. These types of accounts will allow you to have a debit card and check book. But, normally you will not be able to have a credit card or take out a loan with this type of account.
Dubai bank interest rates on deposits
Each bank in Dubai will have its own interest rate on savings account. Each bank will require a certain minimum before opening a saving account, so be sure to read the fine print. Three banks with competitive interest rates are the following: Mashreq, Union National Bank and Emirates NBD.
Mashreq’s Step Up Saver Account offers interest rates starting at .05% and rises month by month until it reaches a 6% interest rate in month 18.
Union National Bank’s Accelerating account rate starts at 1.50% and rises to 6% in month 18.
Emirates NBD Fixed Deposits interest accrues over time. The interest rate starts at .12% and rises to 2.25% in month 60.
Loans in Dubai
If you need a loan, then your bank would be the first point of contact for this matter. The maximum amount of a loan you can take out is 20 times your annual salary. These loans should typically be paid back within 48 months and can be paid in monthly installments from your salary.
Each bank will have its own set of policies and procedures in regards to taking out a loan in Dubai. They will also have a set fee for charges on loans. Therefore, it is important to research each bank’s policies and read the fine print before choosing one.
You will need to be at least 21 years of age to take out a loan. You will also need to have a minimum income/salary requirement each month which usually is around AED 7,500.
The required documents vary for taking out a loan, but are generally:
- Application form and loan agreement
- Valid passport
- Valid Emirates ID and residence visa
- Original 3-month bank statement
- Salary transfer letter
Dubai bank interest rates on loans
The UAE Central Bank approves the following equation for calculating interest rates on personal loans:
Original loan X interest rate X loan duration (in months) + 1] divided by 2 X 100 X 12.
More information can be found here
Using checks in Dubai
Checks are still used throughout Dubai, especially for paying rent. Do be aware that if your check bounces this is a serious offense in Dubai that can land you in jail.
Tax in Dubai
Dubai is a tax-free city. But, this does not mean that you are completely exempt from taxes. For example, if you are a US citizen you will be required to file taxes in the USA regardless of how much income you are making. If you are unsure if you must file your taxes in a home country, there are plenty of established accountants from around the globe that can help you with this matter.
Will I be able to use my debit/credit card in many places?
Cash is widely used throughout Dubai. You can also conveniently pay for things with your debit or credit card in most places. At smaller cafes and at the souks it is advised to bring cash with you.
Bank jobs in Dubai
Banks in Dubai are always looking for new employees ranging from entry-level to upper-level management positions. Most banks in Dubai will require you to have similar experience for the job you are applying for. They will also require a certain level of schooling, depending on the position applied for. Entry-level positions may only require a high school/secondary school diploma, whereas upper-level positions will require a bachelor or master degree.