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Opening a personal bank account

Opening a personal bank account provides an individual with a number of benefits, including depositing your income directly into a bank, paying your rent and utilities bills, storing your savings and transferring money securely. 

Generally, there are two types of transaction accounts: a current account and a savings account.

A current account allows you to write cheques for your expenses, and a debit card for purchases and ATM transactions. A savings account, on the other hand, may not allow the use of cheques; it is designed to promote savings by paying an interest rate on your balance.

You can open both, or either, types of accounts – whichever best suits your banking needs. When exploring bank account options, you should consider the following:
  • Availability and location of branches

  • Days and hours of service

  • Internet and digital services

  • Location of bank ATMs near your home and work

  • Contact Centre services

If you decide to open an account, you will be asked to sign account agreements. Be sure to take time to understand your obligations. You should also be aware that it can take up to four business days to complete the account opening procedures. 


To open an account, you will need to provide several documents. You should confirm with the bank beforehand exactly which documents are required and what the information the documents must include. 


Without the right documents and information, you will have difficulty completing the account opening procedures. Make sure to talk to your bank first.


*If your account provides a debit card, ask about its withdrawal limits, at which ATMs this can be used and any transaction fees.


Remember that you should not share your security number (PIN) with anyone. If you do, you may be held liable for all unauthorised transactions made against your account.


NOTE: This information is not to be taken as legal advice, nor does it provide all of the details required to opening an account. The onus remains on the customer to understand their obligations.

Examples of the information which may be required include the following: 
  • Emirates ID;

  • Passport copy in the absence of an Emirates ID;

  • Current visa or some other proof of residency (UAE driving licence, UAE utility bill, tenancy contract, another bank statement, etc.); and

  • A letter from your employer confirming various matters.

When deciding to open an account, ask the bank representative about:
  • The ability to issue cheques;

  • Rates of interest on savings accounts;

  • Returned cheque fees;

  • Overdraft privileges and related costs;

  • Bank policy on holds on funds being deposited;

  • Access to foreign currency.

  • Access to a debit card;

  • Monthly and transaction fees;

  • Minimum balance requirements;

  • Cost for and ease of transfers of funds;

  • Notice requirements to the branch for large withdrawals; and

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Last updated on: Friday 05 August 2022

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