Deciding to open an account in the UAE is a simple decision but the difficult part is choosing the right place to open that account in. Or even to pick the right type of accounts to open. You can chose to open an account with a central bank or a commercial bank or even a foreign bank. You can even choose to open a savings account, a current account or a deposit account. Each account offers its own features and benefits which allow you to have the opportunity really pick an account that fulfils all your needs whether it be of accounts offering high interest to account meant specifically for daily transactions and remittance in multiple currencies.
There are three types of accounts that you an open. They are the savings account, the current account and the deposit account, each of which serves a specific purpose.
The savings accounts are regular account where you can deposit money and earn an interest on the funds you hold in the account. These accounts tend to pay higher interest rates and also offer various features like ATM and debit cards, chequebooks, etc. The exact features of the savings account may differ from one bank to another for example, some banks may require that you maintain a minimum balance while other won’t. Some of these accounts even come with features that are meant to promote savings like the app offered by Emirates NBD that turns your mobile phone into a unique savings tool but suggesting tiny amounts to save every time you shake your phone.
Current account are accounts that differ from savings accounts in their features. For example while current account can also have minimum balance clauses and provide chequebooks to the customers, they will offer also offer overdraft and standing instructions facilities that will allow you to spend more than the funds in the account or have regular payments made without you having to inform the bank every single time. Current accounts also come with international ATM/debit cards and many of the current accounts will allow you to hold funds in the accounts in currencies like AED, Euro, USD, GBP, etc.
A deposit account is a fixed deposit that can be opened for a specific term. It allows you to hold funds with the bank for a fixed period of time and in that duration, your account grows at a specific rate thanks to the interest paid to you. The interest paid by these accounts tend to be higher than both savings or current accounts and these accounts too allow you to open deposits in different currencies like AED, USD, GBP etc. Investment in these accounts is open to individuals, groups of individuals and companies.
If you are particular that the accounts you hold are compliant with the rules of Islamic banking then you can approach certain banks that provide Islamic banking facilities. These could include accounts governed by the Murdaraba or Shari’a principles.
Each of the account offers its own features and benefits and even then they can change from one bank to the next, however, some of the common features of these accounts are listed below:
The eligibility criteria for these accounts is generally the same across the banks and so are the documents required. All these accounts are open to citizens of the UAE and expatriates who have a valid residency visa for the UAE. For certain accounts you may also be required to fulfil certain minimum salary clauses which define a minimum monthly salary that you must earn.
The documents required will be:
Yes. As long as they have a valid visa for the UAE, they can apply to open these accounts.
Yes you will earn an interest on the funds held in these accounts.
Yes. You will earn an interest but it will be subject to the bank's policies and generally less than that of the savings or deposit account.
Yes. These accounts offer the highest interest rates among the three.
Many of the banks offer accounts that are completely compliant with the rules of Islamic banking and you can approach these banks to open the accounts.
Yes you will be required to submit just copies of your passport however you will be required to provide the originals for verifications so it’s best to carry them along.
Yes. Some of the banks may charge account opening fee. If the account comes with a minimum balance clause then you may be charged for falling below that minimum balance.
Yes, some banks will let you open the account online, provided you have other accounts with them which negate the need for submitting any documents.