Practical Life in Dubai


Bank services in Dubai


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The currency of Dubai is the UAE Dirham (abbreviated to AED), which is divided into 100 fils. You can import and export funds to and from Dubai without restriction and there is no requirement to declare currency when entering the UAE. Current and deposit accounts are available from a selection of international banks, including HSBC, Citibank, Standard Chartered, and British Bank of the Middle East. Bank charges are relatively low and remain competition due to the fierce competition for new customers.

Banks are usually open between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. from Saturday to Wednesday and many re-open between 4.30 and 6.30 p.m. Some banks in major shopping areas are open later into the evening.

All expatriates with a Dubai residence visa are permitted to open a bank account. When you open your bank account, you will be asked for your residence visa, a copy of your passport and a letter from your employer, confirming the amount that will be paid into your account on a regular basis. You may also be requested to provide your tenancy agreement as proof of your address.

The majority of everyday purchases are made using cash. Personal cheques are not frequently used and may be viewed with suspicion by some retailers, as there is no system of cheque guarantees in Dubai. However, writing a cheque that you do not have the funds to honour is a serious criminal offence and therefore not a frequent occurrence. Utility companies and letting agencies are normally happy to accept payment by cheque.

ATMs are available outside banks and in major supermarkets and shopping centres and they all offer both Arabic and English interfaces. You can use the ATMs of your own bank for free, but a charge may be made if you withdraw money from another bank's machine. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted throughout the United Arab Emirates, for both payments and cash withdrawals.


Update 18/08/2008

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