It is crucial to understand why opening a banking account is very important as soon as you come to the UAE since you will need an account to get your salary in and pay various bills. The UAE has many different banks for English speakers, which you could try. However, we have gone through their websites and come up with a summary of the best banks for you as an expat. Moreover, we have compiled a list of things to keep in mind when opening a banking account as well. We hope this article helps those who have recently moved to the UAE or are planning to come here. 

Best Banks To Choose From 

There are several banks to choose from in the UAE. Some of the best ones include Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. There are also more options, which different banks have their pros and cons, as we will discuss below. 

Things To Consider When Choosing A Bank In UAE 

Competitive Rates

Different banks often have different loans and interest rates, which may not seem much on paper but can make a monumental difference in your funds over several months or years. However, there is so much competition in the banking sector in UAE that the rates are more or less the same. They differ by minimal percentages or points, which do not make a massive difference in the end. However, you should still compare the rates of various banks you have shortlisted to open your account. 

Bank Relationship 

Corporate relationships are significant; hence, if your employer is associated with a particular bank and has advised you to do the same, then it is in your best interests. This often means that the salary is given on time and there are no longer money transfer issues and cues. Moreover, you are often given discounts and are exempted from paying miscellaneous fees. 


As an expat, you would not be travelling much typically during your initial time in the UAE, so we recommend you get a bank with a vast network of branches in your city. Also, choose a bank which is the nearest to you in case you need funds in a hurry. Hence, choose banks with a more significant ATM and branch network for better and more rapid access to your funds, no matter where you are. 

Balance Requirements 

Most banks have specific balance requirements which they ask you to maintain. If you do not comply, they can charge you a fine every day your balance is below the minimum. On average, there is an AED 30 fine per day, which is quite heavy for a balance that is below minimum requirements. However, savings accounts mostly do not have balance requirements in the UAE. The same cannot be said for a current account since you need a minimum balance of AED 3000-4000, depending on the bank you choose. Make sure to choose a bank which suits your financial needs. 

Transfer fees 

This is the most crucial point for expats. You may have come alone and left your family behind in your home country, and hence you might need to send them money to support them. International money transfer often has heavy fees and taxes associated with them. However, as an expat, you should choose a bank with the most reasonable transfer fees because hefty transfer fees may not seem much but can seriously dent your budget in the end. 

Loan Methods

As an expat, you would probably need to take a loan from your bank for your house or new car. Different banks have different loan requirements, interest rates, terms, and conditions. Make sure to check out the loan policy in detail of your desired bank if you plan on mortgaging your house or taking a loan for your car. You may get a loan which is ten to twenty times the amount of your monthly salary for your basic needs. However, the bank will offer up to thirty to forty times your monthly salary for mortgaging. This is why banks in the UAE are the best ones for loans than international banks. Make sure to compare the banks before choosing one. 

Which Are Some Of The Best Banks To Choose In UAE 

Emirates NBD 

Emirates NBD is among the best banks in the UAE, especially for English-speaking expats. It is one of the largest banks in the UAE, with the most extensive asset base. Some of the most popular services of this bank include the NBD Credit Card, with gives an astonishing interest rate of 1.49%. There is a multitude of different loans available with this bank, which include car and personal loans. These loans have an interest rate of 2.38%, which is considered very good. Emirates NBD has some other unique services as well, such as factoring services, which keep an eye on your company’s cash flows and import exports to diversify your asset portfolio. This is one of the best banks to use in the UAE, and it is trusted a lot by the expats and local companies, which can be deduced by the fact that the value of the assets is estimated at around 500 billion dollars. 

First Abu Dhabi Bank 

First, Abu Dhabi Bank is one of the largest equity-based banks in the UAE. This bank is known for its tailor-made solutions for personal banking, and they pride itself on its after-sales services and availability. This bank has one of the most diverse branches in the UAE as well, making it an excellent choice for expats. The personal loan this bank offers has an interest rate of 1.62%, which is very competitive. Moreover, there are nineteen different credit cards, which you can also apply for. The interest on those credit cards starts from 3.25%. This bank’s unique service is called First Abu Dhabi Bank Accelerator. This feature allows you to personalize your banking experience with three choices. You can open a current account with a monthly transfer of AED 15,000 with the help of this accelerator feature. 

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank 

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank is one of the UAE’s most-known banks. This bank is closely associated with the Government of UAE, and hence you can be sure that this is one of the safest and trust worthiest choices for banking by UAE nationals and expats. The Abu Dhabi Investment Council also holds more than 50 per cent of the shares. The loans offered by this bank are of 10 different types, and the interest rates on these loans start from 2.89%. Moreover, there are specialized business loans as well, which are approved within seven days and have an interest rate of 17%. This bank is known to fund a lot of startups and small companies with the best rates. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank offers the fantastic feature of having an offshore account and Treasury Services. 

Mashreq Bank 

Mashreq bank is another up-and-coming bank in the UAE which is quite popular with the younger generation. This bank offers many flexible loan plans and rates. One of the most popular products of this bank is the Mashreq Bank credit card with an interest rate of 3%. Mashreq bank also provides personal, car and various other types of loans. Mashreq Bank knows how to take care of its priority customers and has designed a separate website for its gold customers for that unique personalized banking experience. Moreover, there are many Sharia Compliant features and products as well for your needs. 

Best Arabic Banks for English Speakers 1


In conclusion, we would like to say that there are many different banks in the UAE for English-speaking expat users. However, there are some things to keep in mind when choosing your next bank as an expat, some of which we have discussed above. The best bank for English speakers in the UAE is Emirates NBD due to its superior products, market value and customer service. We hope that this article will be helpful for all the expats in UAE.