Banking is no Different in Dubai!

Today I have a guest post about living abroad and some of the things to consider when it comes to opening a bank account. Enjoy

These days, few of us can live without a debit or credit card. And that handy little piece of nondescript plastic could prove especially useful for anyone contemplating moving themselves and their family abroad, say to Dubai, for example. Dubai, the city, is spectacular in anyone’s language and a popular tourist destination like no other. It’s also home to thousands of expatriates from around the world.

There are a good number of major foreign banks operating out of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including Dubai itself, with each offering the range of banking services you’d expect from them back home. So an HSBC credit card deal is in essence much the same as its counterpart in London or elsewhere. Don’t expect to escape the myriad credit card offers either, or the slick and sometimes never-ending promotions pushing various financial products. HSBC, Barclays or Citibank are just as competitive in the UAE as they are in the UK. No matter where in the world you move to, some things just never change!

So if you’re not in the hunt for the perfect emirates credit card then that’s just fine and dandy. However, if you don’t have some sort of bank account already set up prior to moving to Dubai, life could get just a little bit tricky, especially when it comes to having somewhere to pay in the salary at the end of each month.

An international bank account should solve such difficulties. But if you don’t have one? Luckily, it’s fairly easy to open a UAE bank account. The banks tend to offer all manner of incentives, too, especially to new customers. So that no fee credit card you’ve always wanted could very well be yours. Shop around.

Heard of the no objection certificate? Usually abbreviated to NOC, the certificate is required in order to open a bank account. It takes the form of a two-way ‘conversation’ between your employer and the bank. The conversation is initiated by the employer who writes a letter to the bank giving your job details and salary. You take this letter with you when you open the account. The bank then gives you a letter back saying they have no problem with your salary being paid into the account. You give this to your employer. And hopefully you’ve followed all of that!

A couple of points to bear in mind about the NOC certificate or letter. It must be written in Arabic as well as in English. And it’s not only a requirement when applying for a bank account either. You’ll need one to buy a car, for example, or to obtain a telephone, or even to switch jobs from one private company to another. It’s an important document.

Other official documentation required when opening a bank account include your passport and residence certificate. You’ll probably have to produce some kind of utility bill, too, showing your name and Dubai address. Or you may be asked for the tenancy agreement between yourself and your landlord. Finally, if you have it, take along a letter from your bank back home and maybe some of your most recent bank statements. After all, every little helps, as they say.

Click here for further information about Dubai

Anyone been to Dubai?


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  1. I wish I had been to Dubai. Good family friends live there, but are moving shortly. My cousin managed to go while they were there!
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  2. I’ve heard of people make great fortunes in Dubai before their housing slumped. This one person I know started with a small apartment complex here in the states, and eventually made his way to Dubai. When the market was hot he managed to climb up the latter of success and now is a multimillionaire. I’ve never been, but would love to see it if only for one day.
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  3. I have never been to Dubai but I think it looks fascinating! I would really like to go some day.
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  4. Very interesting! I had no idea!
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  5. justin@thefrugalpath says:

    I have not been, but I think they are one of the smartest countries in the Middle East. They know someday their oil will run out, and are using the money they have to create a tourist destination to people all of the world. Which will help the country if/when the oil runs out.
    I hear people complain about the opulence, but I think it’s genius.
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