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UAE Banking System Overview

Banking is described as a commercial operation to receive and protect money owned by other people and companies and then lend the money to economic activities such as profits or operational expenditures.


A bank is an authorized financial entity that receives deposits and credit. Commercial/retail and investment banks are two of the most popular types of banks. Depending on the type of bank, other financial services such as the best premier bank accounts and loans can also be provided.

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The UAE has an advanced banking industry, as you may expect from a major global financial centre. UAE banks are fast moving forward from blockchains to artificial intelligence. This proactive attitude obviously benefits expats residing in the nation; it is not rare for bank personnel to visit residents in their homes or businesses to ease financial transactions. Also, popular are digital and mobile banking, with the nationwide ATMs network.

Banking System in the UAE

The Emirates frequently call themselves the Switzerland of the Middle East as a peaceful investment destination in a troubling neighbourhood. This is mostly because of the UAE's easy banking and an easy priority banking requirement for the users. 

Strong Projection

Due to their exposure to international account holders, the global financial crisis in 2008-2009 affected banks in the UAE significantly. But since then, Moody's has rebounded and currently considers the industry to be stable, owing to its solid financial fundamentals.

UAE banks have high liquidity buffers while predominantly depositing funds. In addition, the government remains very willing and able to help local banks. In the first half of 2019, the UAE banks made substantive profits, albeit the main responsibility for that extent was government and semi-governmental enterprises. According to figures from the central bank, gross bank assets totalled AED 2.9 billion by July 2019.

UAE banks have taken up several worldwide standards; for example the International Accounting Standard, the International Financial Reporting Standards, and lately the capital appropriateness criteria according to Basel III. Since 2011, IBAN numbers have been compulsory for the conduct of local or international transactions by all UAE account holders.

UAE Currency

The UAE dirham is the legal currency for the seven member emirates. The term dirham is officially abbreviated as AED or Dhs. It divides every dirham into one hundred fils. The dirham was permanently attached to the US dollar; at the exchange rate of AED 3,67 to US$ 1. Like other Persian Gulf currencies. Set a different course, about AED 1=US$0.272294. 

Two years after the UAE federation, dirham is dated. It began on 19 May 1973 and was replaced on par with Qatar and Dubai Riyal. The riyal of Qatar and Dubai has circulated across the Emirates since 1966 except for Abu Dhabi, where dirham replaced the Bahraini dinar with one dinar = 10 dirhams. The Gulf Rupees, issued by the Reserve Bank of India and equivalent to Indiana Rupees, were used by the emirates that constituted the later USA before 1966.

Cash Machines and ATM

As a trade industry, the seven Emirates have ready access to capital. As of 2018, there were 5,261 ATMs in the UAE, with a network that encompasses malls, retail arcades, local and side streets.


The majority of account holders may simply withdraw cash from any ATM in the UAE local bank network. However, AED 2 must be paid by clients to other bank's ATM for withdrawal. The majority of banks post on their website an ATM network map. ATMs generally dispense AED 50 and higher notices in the UAE.


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