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HOW TO OPEN BANK ACCOUNT IN DUBAI 2024:
TOP 15 UAE BANKS

Table of Contents

Documents required to open a bank account in UAE 1

Introduction

Opening a bank account in Dubai is a key step for expats settling in Dubai, whether for work, start/expand their business, or investments. This guide clarifies the process for both residents and non-residents, addressing common questions about required documents, eligibility, and available account types.

Residents vs. Non-Residents: A Crucial Distinction

The UAE’s large expat population enjoys easy access to banking services. However, your residency status determines the types of accounts you can open and the banks you can choose from. Resident expats with Emirates ID cards enjoy access to a wider range of financial products, including international and offshore accounts. 

Documents required to open a bank account in UAE

Here’s what you’ll typically need to open a resident expat account (requirements may vary slightly by bank):

 

  1. Passport and Copies: Bring your original passport along with photocopies.

  2. No-Objection Letter: This letter from your employer or visa sponsor confirms their approval for you to open an account.

  3. Visa and Emirates ID: Proof of your residency status is essential.

  4. Employer/Sponsor Documentation: Provide documents verifying your employment or sponsorship.

  5. Proof of Address: A utility bill or rental agreement confirms your local residence.

  6. Optional Documents: Some banks may request a letter of recommendation from your previous bank or require a minimum monthly deposit.

Top 15 Banks in Dubai for Business Account

Overview of Top 10  UAE Banks for Corporate Bank Account 

In 2024 the United Arab Emirates, recognized as the commercial linchpin of the Middle East, has meticulously crafted a business environment that is not only conducive but highly competitive, attracting investors and business professionals globally and solidifying its role as a pivotal economic hub. Governed by the rigorous oversight of the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, the UAE’s banking sector is distinguished by its vibrant mix of 23 domestic and 28 international banks, highlighting its significant stance on the global stage. These leading financial institutions cater to both expatriates and local residents, offering a variety of services.

Despite the fluctuations in oil prices and varying levels of investor confidence, many UAE banks have continued to demonstrate impressive growth, achieving substantial increases in assets and net profits.

 Here’s a simplified snapshot of the key players and their offerings in the market:

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB):

    1. Account Type: Corporate & Commercial Accounts

    2. Services: FAB is known for offering tailored accounts for businesses that facilitate both local and international banking needs, including trade finance, cash management, and foreign exchange services.

Emirates NBD:

    1. Account Type: Business Banking Accounts

    2. Services: Emirates NBD provides a range of corporate banking solutions that include business accounts, trade finance, and treasury services. They are known for their comprehensive SME banking services as well.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB):

    1. Account Type: Corporate Banking Accounts

    2. Services: ADCB offers specialized services for corporate clients including working capital, trade finance, and structured finance which cater to both local and international business needs.

Emirates Islamic Bank:

    1. Account Type: Business Banking

    2. Services: Offers Sharia-compliant business banking solutions that include corporate deposits, investment accounts, and other treasury services. They provide tailored products that support local and international Islamic banking requirements.

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB):

    1. Account Type: Corporate Banking

    2. Services: DIB offers a variety of corporate banking products such as corporate finance, commercial finance, and asset-based finance, all compliant with Islamic finance principles.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB):

    1. Account Type: Business Accounts

    2. Services: ADIB’s business services include a range of products designed for SMEs and larger corporations requiring Islamic banking services that align with international banking standards.

RAK Bank:

    1. Account Type: Business Banking

    2. Services: RAKBank offers various corporate banking services including accounts, loans, and overdrafts that support both local business operations and international transactions.

National Bank of Fujairah (NBF):

    1. Account Type: Corporate and Business Banking

    2. Services: NBF focuses on providing customized financial solutions to businesses including trade finance, treasury services, and corporate deposits.

Mashreq Bank:

    1. Account Type: Corporate Banking

    2. Services: Known for a comprehensive suite of corporate banking products, Mashreq provides everything from conventional accounts for day-to-day operations to specialized trade and finance solutions.

Standard Chartered Bank:

    1. Account Type: Corporate & Institutional Banking

    2. Services: Offers a range of services tailored to multinational corporations and large local businesses that operate across borders, including transaction banking, foreign exchange, and corporate finance.

What are the costs associated with opening a business account in Dubai?

The costs for setting up a business account in Dubai can vary widely depending on the bank’s specific fees and the required minimum balance to maintain the account. To clarify these expenses, we have compiled details from several banks, showcasing their required maintaining balances for different types of business accounts:

  • Emirates NBD – Business Banking Account: Requires a maintaining balance of AED 50,000.

  • Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) – Premium Current Account: Requires a maintaining balance of AED 100,000.

  • Commercial Bank of Dubai – My Business Account: Requires a maintaining balance of AED 20,000.

  • First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) – Business Advantage Account: Requires a maintaining balance of AED 10,000.

  • Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank – Business Elite Account: Requires a maintaining balance of AED 500,000.

Each bank provides unique features tailored to different business needs, from basic transactional accounts to more comprehensive banking solutions with added benefits.

Detailed Bank Account Features and Services:

  1. Emirates NBD:

    • Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    • Contact Information: +971 600 54 0009

    • Service Availability: 24/7 customer support

    • Emirates NBD offers business accounts that cater to all basic financial needs with minimal fees and a manageable balance requirement. For smaller enterprises, a lower fee of AED 250 per month is charged if maintaining balance requirements are not met. The bank also provides competitive rates for both local and international transfers and a 0% interest rate, making it suitable for a wide range of business types. Customers also receive a complimentary international debit card.

  2. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB):

    • Website: ADCB Personal

    • Location: Sheikh Zayed Street, Abu Dhabi, UAE

    • Contact Information: +971 600 50 2030; +971 600 56 2626

    • Service Hours: Customer service available 24/7 via Liv Bank app

    • ADCB offers six distinct business accounts, providing tailored solutions for various business sizes and types, including accounts in multiple currencies like USD, EUR, AED, and GBP. The bank also provides internet banking, unlimited teller transactions, and Shariah-compliant products.

  3. Commercial Bank of Dubai:

    • Website: CBD

    • Location: Headquarters Baniyas Road, Dubai, UAE

    • Contact Information: +971 600 575 556

    • Service Hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily

    • CBD’s business accounts are designed to serve clients preferring to maintain lower balances, with a requirement of only AED 20,000 and a fee of AED 150 if the balance falls below. The bank also offers initial checkbooks for free and a complimentary Dubai Chamber of Commerce prepaid card, although account features may lack depth compared to others.

  4. First Abu Dhabi Bank:

    • Website: FAB Personal

    • Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

    • Contact Information: +971(2)6811511

    • Service Hours: 24/7 customer support via the app

    • FAB provides various business accounts suitable for all business sizes, with minimal balance requirements and free local and international remittances. Although known for less comprehensive account features, FAB remains the largest bank in the UAE, offering substantial financial services.

  5. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank:

    • Website: ADIB

    • Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

    • Contact Information: +971 4 2477777; +971 5 5526 7108

    • Service Hours: 24/7 customer support via the app

    • ADIB’s Business Elite Account is tailored for high-end business clients with services that include a business platinum debit card and dedicated relationship management, although the high maintaining balance of AED 500,000 may not be accessible to smaller businesses.

Given the diverse banking landscape in the UAE, choosing the right bank can seem daunting. To help clarify your decision-making process, we have methodically categorized banks based on various key attributes that might align with your specific banking needs:

  • Foremost Bank in UAE: Emirates NBD is recognized as the leading bank in the UAE, offering extensive services that cater to a wide demographic.

  • Pioneer Digital Bank in UAE: Liv Bank stands out for its innovative digital banking solutions, making it a top choice for tech-savvy customers.

  • Top Bank in UAE for Expatriates: Emirates NBD again takes the lead, offering tailored services that meet the unique needs of expatriates living in the UAE.

  • Outstanding Bank in UAE for Non-Residents: Emirates NBD provides excellent options for non-residents, facilitating easy access to banking services without the need for residency.

  • Prime Bank in UAE for Indian Expatriates: Mashreq Bank offers specialized services that cater specifically to the needs of the Indian expatriate community.

  • Superior Bank in UAE for Commercial Purposes: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), known as the largest bank in the UAE by assets, offers robust commercial banking solutions that support large transactions and business growth.

  • Leading Bank in UAE for Small and Medium Enterprises: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) is dedicated to supporting SMEs with tailored services that help drive business success.

  • Exceptional Bank in UAE for Savings: ADCB also excels in offering competitive savings account options, making it a top choice for personal finance management.

These distinctions should help streamline your search for a banking partner in the UAE, ensuring you find a bank that best fits your financial circumstances and goals.

Here’s a list of the popular banks in UAE along with some of their popular accounts:

Bank

Popular Accounts

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)

Direct Banking, Sheba Cash Management, Salary Plus

Emirates NBD

Liv. account, Smart Saver Account, Everyday Banking Account

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)

EasyLife Current Account, iSave, Rahalni Current Account

Emirates Islamic Bank

Esavers Sharia’a Savings Account, Emiri Saver Account, Family Finance

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB)

دبي الاسلامي الحساب الجاري (DIB Current Account), Direct Investment Account, Dubai Islamic Bank Savings Account

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)

Islamic Savings Account, Islamic Current Account, GoBiz Account

RAKBank

RAKCuenta Current Account, Wayfarer Current Account, Tadweer Savings Account

National Bank of Fujairah (NBF)

Easy Banking Account, Save2Grow Account, FlexiAccount

Mashreq Bank

Mashreq NeoCuenta, Transact Savings Account, Max Saver Account

Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Chartered Everyday Account, Priority Banking, Digital Banking

Top 5 International Banks in the UAE for 2024

In 2024, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to be a pivotal hub for global banking, hosting some of the world’s most prestigious international banks. These institutions offer a broad spectrum of services to a diverse clientele, ranging from individual savers to large corporations, all under the watchful regulation of the UAE’s robust financial authorities. Here we highlight the top five international banks in the UAE, recognized for their comprehensive services and substantial contributions to the financial landscape.

  1. HSBC: Standing as one of the largest financial services organizations globally, HSBC maintains a strong presence in the UAE. The bank offers an exhaustive range of services including retail banking, wealth management, corporate banking, and treasury services, making it a preferred choice for comprehensive financial solutions.

  2. Standard Chartered: With a legacy of over 60 years in the UAE, Standard Chartered Bank has cemented its role as a key player in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The bank offers extensive services across personal, corporate, and private banking sectors, tailored to meet the needs of its diverse clientele.

  3. Citibank: Part of the American multinational Citigroup, Citibank is highly favored in the UAE for its wide array of financial services. These include checking and savings accounts, credit facilities, loans, and wealth management services, addressing the needs of both individual customers and corporate clients.

  4. Barclays: This British multinational bank offers a significant range of services in the UAE, including personal banking, corporate banking, and wealth and investment management. Barclays is renowned for its expertise in providing tailored banking solutions and its commitment to helping clients manage and expand their financial portfolios.

  5. BNP Paribas Middle East: As a leading player in the international banking arena, BNP Paribas offers diversified financial services across the region. Its services include wealth management, corporate banking, and investment solutions, playing a crucial role in facilitating trade and investment between the Middle East and the global market.

Services Offered by International Banks in Dubai

International banks in Dubai cater to the intricate needs of their clients through a variety of banking services designed to support financial management and business operations:

  • Personal Banking: These services are crafted to meet the everyday financial needs of individuals, offering products such as checking accounts, savings accounts that accrue interest, diverse credit card options, as well as personal loans and mortgages for larger financial commitments.

  • Corporate Banking: Tailored to support business operations, this segment includes business accounts for financial management, trade finance services like letters of credit and trade loans, comprehensive cash management services, and corporate lending for business growth and capital needs.

  • Wealth Management: Focused on helping clients increase their wealth, this service offers investment solutions across multiple asset classes, financial planning for future needs, and private banking for high-net-worth individuals seeking personalized financial services.

  • Digital Banking: Leveraging technology, international banks provide state-of-the-art digital banking services, including online banking for remote financial management, mobile banking apps for banking on-the-go, and digital wallets for convenient contactless payments.

  • International Banking: Addressing the needs of expatriates and global businesses, these services include multi-currency accounts for managing different currencies, swift international wire transfers, and foreign exchange services for competitive currency exchange rates.

These banks not only offer vast financial services but also stand as pillars of financial stability, fostering growth, and facilitating global commerce and personal wealth management in the UAE.

National vs. International Banks: Choosing the Right Fit for Your UAE Business Account

There are pros and cons to both international and national banks when opening a business bank account in the UAE. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

National Banks:

Pros:

  • Wider Branch Network and ATM Access: National banks typically have a larger presence within the UAE, with more branches and ATMs, making them convenient for everyday banking needs.

  • Understanding of Local Regulations: National banks are more likely to have a deeper understanding of the UAE’s specific business environment and regulations, which can be helpful when navigating banking procedures.

  • Potentially Lower Fees: National banks may offer more competitive fees on certain services compared to international banks.

  • Relationship Building: Building relationships with local bankers can be beneficial for long-term business growth, as they may be more familiar with local business practices and financing options.

Cons:

  • Limited International Reach: National banks may have a more limited network outside the UAE, which could be a disadvantage if your business conducts frequent international transactions.

  • Slower Adoption of Technology: National banks may be slower to adopt the latest digital banking technologies compared to some international banks.

International Banks:

Pros:

  • Global Network and Reach: International banks boast extensive networks worldwide, facilitating international transactions and potentially offering better foreign exchange rates.

  • Advanced Technology: International banks are often at the forefront of adopting innovative financial technologies, offering advanced online banking platforms and digital tools.

  • Experience with Multinational Businesses: International banks have a wealth of experience catering to multinational businesses, which can be beneficial if your company operates internationally.

Cons:

  • Limited Branch Network: International banks may have fewer branches and ATMs within the UAE compared to national banks, which could be inconvenient for daily banking activities.

  • Potentially Higher Fees: International banks might have higher fees for certain services compared to national banks.

  • Less Familiarity with Local Regulations: International banks may not be as familiar with specific UAE business regulations, potentially leading to delays or complications.

Here are some additional factors to consider:

  • The size and nature of your business: If your business is primarily focused on the UAE market, a national bank might be sufficient. However, if you conduct frequent international transactions, an international bank might be more suitable.

  • Your preferred banking experience: Do you prioritize a wider branch network for in-person banking, or are you comfortable using digital banking platforms?

  • The specific services you require: Research the specific services offered by both national and international banks to ensure they align with your business needs.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your specific business requirements and priorities. It can also be helpful to speak with representatives from both national and international banks to get a better understanding of their offerings and fees.

Business Banking in Dubai

Opening a business bank account is an integral step in establishing a company in Dubai. While not explicitly required for obtaining a business visa, it is necessary for the formal registration and financial management of your business. The choice of bank can impact your business operations significantly, depending on your specific needs, from day-to-day operations to long-term financial planning and international dealings.

 
How to Open a Bank Account in Dubai

Opening a bank account in Dubai is a structured process that involves several important steps. Here’s how you can navigate this process efficiently:

Choose a Bank:

  1. Conduct thorough research and select a bank that aligns with your business requirements and financial objectives.

Gather Required Documents:

  1. Prepare and organize all necessary documentation required for the account opening process. This typically includes business licenses, passport copies, company incorporation documents, and more.

Visit the Bank:

  1. Most banks will require a personal visit to a branch to verify documents and finalize the account setup. It’s advisable to schedule an appointment to streamline the process.

Complete the Application:

  1. Fill out the banking application form accurately, submit your documents, and wait for approval.

Make an Initial Deposit:

  1. Once your application is approved, you will be required to make an initial deposit as per the bank’s requirements to activate your account.

How much LLC company formation in Dubai will cost me?

The cost of establishing a Limited Liability Company in Dubai can vary based on several factors, including the business activities, the chosen location (mainland or free zone), the size and rent of the office space, additional licenses or permits, visa fees, and other miscellaneous expenses. If you choose Mainland to set up your LLC in Dubai, the cost of obtaining a trade license from the DED can range from AED 10,000 to AED 20,000 or more. On the other hand, free zones in Dubai have their own fee structures. If you decide to open an LLC company in any of the 28 free zones in Dubai then the costs can vary significantly between different free zones.

It’s important to note that these are general estimates, and actual costs may vary based on the specifics of your business and the current regulations. Additionally, fees and regulations may change over time, so it’s crucial to consult with our LLC company setup consultant or directly with the relevant authorities for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

FAQs: Opening a Bank Account in the UAE

LFL International Group’s Assistance in Business Setup and Bank Account Opening

Setting up a business and opening a bank account in Dubai can be daunting. LFL International Group specializes in simplifying this process. Our services include:

  • Personalized Service: Tailored solutions that meet your specific needs.

  • Expert Advice: Professional guidance to ensure informed decision-making.

  • Efficiency: Time-saving and cost-effective strategies for setting up your business and bank account.

Conclusion

Dubai’s dynamic economy and advanced banking sector make it an ideal locale for international banking. However, navigating the banking landscape can be complex. Partnering with LFL International Group can significantly ease this process, enabling you to set up your business and bank account in Dubai smoothly and efficiently. Whether you are an individual looking to manage personal finances or a business aiming to establish a local presence, Dubai’s international banks offer a spectrum of services to meet your needs.

 
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