There are a host of features to be taken into consideration while opening a savings account. Most importantly, you need to align these features and charges offered by different banks to your needs. Some of these features are:
- Debit card annual charges: Some banks offer free for life debit cards, while some offer it free for the first year only.
- Unlimited usage of ATMs (including partner ATMs): ATMs are where we withdraw most of our money from. Some banks offer unlimited ATM transactions. Even though the charges are minimal, they can add up to a big up over numerous withdrawals.
- Ease of access to the branch from your place of work or residence: Despite the surge of e-banking and mobile banking services, you might have to visit the branch on occasions. Ensure that you have one in your vicinity.
- Currencies permitted: Some banks offer savings account in the major foreign currencies. If that is your need then you must choose one appropriately.
- Charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance: Savings accounts usually carry a minimum balance requirement. In case of non-maintenance of the same, charges can be levied to your account. These can vary from bank to bank.
- Remittance charges: Expatriates have a primary need of sending or receiving money from their native countries. If you are regularly sending/receiving money overseas, then you must find a bank offering the best rates.
- Withdrawal limits: Deposits are usually unlimited; however, withdrawals can be capped by an amount or number of transactions by bank
These are some basic features/charges of savings accounts in UAE. There are numerous variants available, one suiting the need of each of us. Research well before opening an account.
Every bank has its own eligibility criteria which need to be checked individually. However, some basic requirements are as follows:
- You must be at least 18 years of age to open a savings account
- Most banks allow UAE residents and non-residents both to open the account.
As is the case with eligibility, every bank can have its own requirement of documents to process your account application. Apart from the application form, some basic documents needed are:
- Original passport for verification along with a copy
- Copy of the visa
- Salary Certificate / reference letter (for salaried individuals)
Please refer to the list of documents required by the bank you wish to open your savings account with.
Most banks also offer savings accounts under Islamic laws of banking approved by The Shariah and Supervisory Board. Some features of these accounts are:
- Most banks offer free debit cards, internet banking, phone banking, SMS-banking and mobile banking services.
- Most accounts are operated on the concept of Mudaraba. Your funds are invested in Shariah-compliant assets, and the profits/losses are shared between you and the bank.