Barclays Guide to Banking in the UAE
Guide to Banking in the UAE
New to the UAE? Opening a bank account in a foreign country can sometimes be a daunting task. We have put together some helpful tips and things you should be aware of to help get you on your feet.
In the UAE, cash is the most used medium of transaction. The unit of currency is called UAE Dirham (AED), which is divided into 100 Fils (equivalent of cents). AED notes are available in the denominations of AED 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of AED 1 and 50, 25, 10, 5, 1 Fils. Although, these 10, 5, 1 fils coins are rarely used and are not widely circulated.
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) for cash withdrawals are widespread throughout the UAE so you will never be too far away from access to your cash. Depending on the type of account you have, some banks will charge you a fee if you withdraw cash from another banks ATM. This is standard across most UAE banks, so whenever possible it can be beneficial to try to use your own bank’s ATMs. Barclays has ATMs conveniently located in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and we are continuously introducing new ATM locations at convenient locations for our customers.
Day to day Banking
Credit Cards offer excellent benefits in the UAE including discounts on dining, entertainment and travel. Depending on your lifestyle you can choose a card that offers benefits suited to you. To view offers and discounts available to Barclaycard holders – View Barclaycard privileges.
Cheques are still used across the UAE, and are predominantly used for paying bills, fees or for making large payments. Cheques are considered a measure of a person’s financial commitment and are taken very seriously in the UAE. In fact, bouncing a cheque in UAE is a criminal offence which can result in severe fines and even criminal prosecution.
Generally Banks in the UAE offer three main types of accounts:
Used predominantly for day-to-day banking, currents accounts offer similar features to current accounts globally. If you are new to the UAE then it is worth checking to see if your employer has an existing relationship with a bank prior to you opening an account. Some banks will offer customers preferential products and services if a workplace relationship is in place.
Similar to most savings accounts globally savings accounts in the UAE can offer better interest rates than what your money would earn in a current account. A Savings Account allows you to choose the currency of your account (AED, USD, GBP or EUR) and comes with a range of additional features. If you are looking to save but still need instant access to your money then it is worth looking into a savings account to improve the interest you earn on your money.
Term Deposit Accounts
Term Deposit accounts can offer higher interest rates than savings accounts, but you don’t have the benefit of having instant access to your savings. If you still need to be able to have instant access to some of your money then it might be beneficial to have some of your savings in a savings account and some of it in a term deposit account. To view more information on a Barclays Term Deposit accounts then visit our term deposit page.
Transferring Money Abroad
If you are among the approximate 80 per cent of expatriates living in the UAE then transferring money abroad is likely to be something you need to do at some stage. At Barclays we try to make the process as easy as possible for you. If you are a Barclays account holder then you can register for our free online banking service and make online international transfers at the click of a mouse button. It is highly recommended that you register for online banking as there are a lot of online banking features that you can conveniently access from home. To view all online banking features visit our about Online Banking page.
Opening an Account
To open an individual current account (non entity) in the UAE you need to prove that you are a UAE resident. At Barclays the following documents along with duly filled and signed Account Opening Form are generally required, however you may be asked for additional documents as deemed necessary:
Bank Opening hours
Barclays branch opening hours in the UAE are from Sunday to Thursday 8:00am to 5:00pm (Cash services 8:00 am to 4:00 pm), and on Saturday 8:00am to 5:00pm (Cash Services 8:00am to 1:00pm). Most banks remain closed on Fridays and on public holidays. We will always publish any public holiday notifications on our website so please visit the following page to check for any known changes to opening hours. Barclays online banking is open 24-hours a day, seven days per week.