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Banking in Dubai

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Banking in Dubai

Old 8th Nov 2010, 12:01
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: U.K.
Posts: 48
Banking in Dubai

Hello guys,

I'll shortly be starting with Emirates and would like any info regarding banking savings ect. Firstly any suggestions on a good tax expert back in the UK? It was suggested that Emirates want you to bank with HSBC, as a Lloyds customer I would rather stay with them, is this possible or is there a good reason for them wanting you to bank at HSBC?


Cancel2LateLunches is offline  
Old 8th Nov 2010, 12:08
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: KUL
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I don't think EK has any preference of whom you are banking with. Lloyds is present in DXB. It's just that among the local crowd HSBC has the best reputation by a slim margin. You will find out however that the banking system in the UAE cannot offer the same kind of products you are used to, because of Sharia law constraints.
MrMachfivepointfive is offline  
Old 8th Nov 2010, 12:17
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 246
Bank with whoever you like. I have no preference, they're all [email protected]#p.

Just because a particular bank performs alright in your domicile, don't expect the same standard of service from HSBC or any other bank in the UAE. I would suggest that you make sure there is internet banking available (most do) and open an account at a branch near your residence.

Some banks will send a representative to your home, and while convenient at the time, you will discover the account may be in a branch that is a 45 minute drive away with no parking. Some admin can still only be completed in the designated branch and a real PITA to fix.

Expect your credit cards/ATM cards to be blocked 3-4 times per year, even for the smallest of transactions unless you reply to the text or phone call (your cost if outside the UAE) stating that the transaction is valid. Allegedly, 75% of fraud comes from within the banking system according to the Newspapers here, so it must be true.
atiuta is offline  
Old 8th Nov 2010, 13:22
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: titan
Posts: 35

whatever you do in the ME is going to be a headache and a hassle and you will want to kill most people on a daily basis for their total stupidity and incompetence in any task, so whatever bank you choose will be problematic. Manage to complete 10% of a required banking task and your doing great. (goes for everything down here) Keep it under the bed!!!
avtur007 is offline  
Old 8th Nov 2010, 16:09
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 1999
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Lloyds is the best of the bunch--and when you call or go to the office you deal with Brits who can speak and understand you. They have always managed to sort out problems.
Trader is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2010, 10:41
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Under a deckchair, Jumeirah Beach, 3 lamppost from the left
Posts: 44
I'm with LLoyds here and at home. No real complaints, your assigned an account manager who will get to know you and deal with any questions or problems you might have. Also get free transfers to your Isle of Man off-shore account and from there free to any UK account.

PM me if you need any more info.


The only person I know banking with HSBC hates them with a passion, but one opinion does not a bad bank make
Flat Cap is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2010, 10:55
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: S E Asia
Posts: 171

I've used HSBC in Dubai for over 15 years and they are, on a scale of 1-10 comparing local banks, probably a 5. If you don't have a Premier account with them, you'll find it very hard, if not impossible,to contact a live person at your branch by phone - you'll route via a Bangalore call centre which is, frankly, hopeless. However, on the plus side they have a reliable Internet Banking service, but he real advantage of using them in Dubai if you're employed by EK is that your salary will hit your account a couple of days earlier than it hits other banks' accounts, simply because EK uses HSBC as the distributor of salaries. They also have a more extensive network of ATMs than most other banks, certainly more extensive than Lloyds.

I have several friends who use Lloyds TSB who would probably tell you that the service is generally OK, but all have had major snafu's with them at some stage. If you want to PM me, I can put you in touch with one of them who will give you a realistic and honest picture.

The reality here is that service from all the banks is terrible compared with what you will be used to in UK, where I assume you're from. On a scale of 1-10 comparing UK banks in the UK with the banks here, HSBC in DXB is probably a 2, but is also, along with Lloyds and StanChart, probably the best option.

Best of luck!
777boyo is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2010, 11:47
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Under a deckchair, Jumeirah Beach, 3 lamppost from the left
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Agree with what 777boyo says, you can't compare UAE retail banks with the UK and guaranteed you'll hit a wall at some point almost certainly as a function of the "back-room" types. Having a personal account manager does smooth the road alot. I went for LLoyds just because its easier and cheeaper to hook up to my UK account and pay my mortgage.

Lloyds UAE customers get free use of Emirates NDB cashpoint machines and they're all over the place so getting to your cash is no problem.

Flat Cap is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2010, 11:53
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An important point is that most of the HSBC branches in Dubai are HSBC Middle East, which is apparently a different bank than HSBC.

I've used Mashreqbank for the entire time I've been here and have had good ( relatively ) success with them. They have more ATMS around and the debit card is easy to use in the UAE. I would never get a credit card from a UAE bank for multiple reasons, the least of which is they want a safety deposit for one to begin with .

Keep credit cards from your home country for use outside of the UAE.

typhoonpilot is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2010, 12:37
  #10 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: U.K.
Posts: 48
Thanks for all the information guys, so from what you have all posted there really seems to be no right answer when it comes to UAE banks. I think Iíll just stay with Lloyds then at least I can make the use of free money transfer back to the UK (via an offshore account).

Cancel2LateLunches is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2010, 13:20
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Be aware that Lloyds TSB in the UAE is not the same as the one in the UK - they're different banks although the product etc looks the same. I use HSBC in Dubai, yes they're a bunch of [email protected] but (so far) I haven't had any real issues with them. They have also provided me with an account manager who is good at sorting stuff when I need him to. You also get 2 free bank transfers/month worldwide. HSBC interest rates on loans are pretty competitive, last time I looked anyway.
Fromagio is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2010, 14:20
  #12 (permalink)  
short flights long nights
Join Date: Aug 1999
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Before coming to the UAE..I banked with ABN AMRO. I went to the local Dubai branch hoping to open an account.....

WE WANT UTILITY BILL.....um a bit hard dont pay it

WE WANT RENT BILL...........um a bit hard I dont pay

WE WANT 3 YEARS SALARY SLIPS.....I have only been here 3 weeks..see ya
SOPS is online now  
Old 9th Nov 2010, 16:13
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 172
There is no real right answer when it comes to Emirates and Dubai Late Lunch. If you haven't figured that out yet you are in for a rude awakening when you come to the sand. Buyer Beware!
Alconguin Crusader is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2010, 18:41
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Join Date: Jun 2001
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Any brokerage accounts available in DXB? Having a hard time finding out how to get access to mutual funds and other investment products.
falcon10 is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2010, 19:12
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Far East of Mexico
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Do a web search on Internaxx.

They visit dubai a couple of times a year.
ennui is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2010, 19:28
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: By the sea
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Absolutley NOT MASHREQ!

Go Lloyd's TSB. Do Not go with Mashreq. They are useless & care little about their customers. No I mean worse than that.
Chewthecrude is offline  
Old 11th Nov 2010, 07:13
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Banking in Dubai, like most things, works not too badly - unless you have to actually deal with another human being. Then it falls apart as most "service" employees here are complete oxygen thieves.

That said, expect much frustration in the early stages as some interaction with humanoids is unavoidable, but as you get your systems in place and can do most all routine transactions yourself online, it eases. ("If you want something done...")

All of the bank "brands" here are just that, ME franchises of their international parent company. Do NOT have great expectations based on the familiar logos and brochures, you will only be disappointed.

I've used HSBC and Lloyds, I dumped Lloyds after they put a minimum account balance requirement in place (I keep zero money in Dubai beyond what I need to buy gas and groceries, and spend nothing here other than on those two items.) HSBC has the most ATM's and decent online banking other than the odd random outage which afflicts all services here. It's basically fee-free for daily banking for EK pilots, thus fulfills my very low expectations. For larger wire transfers there is a decent UK outfit that gives a small rate break through EPC.

For anything more complicated than paying your Etisalat bill, (ie mortgage, investments) I don't use ANY ME-based bank.

Good luck.
nolimitholdem is offline  
Old 11th Nov 2010, 11:30
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: In the Sand Pit
Posts: 72
I'd have to say Emirates NBD...yes yes i know they are a local bank..however having said that they seem to be doing a pretty good job and the fact that they have a branch in the Headquarters itself makes life pretty darn easy.
My recommendation to you would be to maintain your Overseas account and transfer your salary online through their Internet banking service. They do have the largest presence here in the UAE .
Whatever you do ...DO NOT bank with HSBC !
Welcome to the PIT
777w is offline  
Old 11th Nov 2010, 12:05
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Middle East
Posts: 341
Internaxx is good but expensive for a brokerage.

Saxobank is cheaper with a better trading platform in my opinion.
metro301 is offline  
Old 11th Nov 2010, 20:06
  #20 (permalink)  
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I'm with EmiratesNBD, and I have to say, they are pretty ok. They have made a mess of a TT once, but it was quickly sorted.

Just to reiterate - the banks you see here are NOT what they appear. Case in point - I bank with HSBC Premier in the UK, and in a few other places, and so when I moved, logically, I went to see HSBC Premier in Jebel Ali.

The building is labelled HSBC.
The logos are HSBC.
The person serving me had a name badge saying HSBC.
I was offered HSBC leaflets.
The cheque book and cards look familiar to an HSBC customer.


It is an entirely separate company that uses the HSBC brand under licence. They cannot transfer money quickly to HSBC in the UK or elsewhere, and you won't get your UK branch to give you a reference (since they can't share data outside the group).

If it all went wrong, don't bother running to HSBC in HK or London in tears.

Caveat emptor!

TwinAisle is offline  

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