Last modified on 21st February 2023. Dubai Real Estate Blog

By Ward Mohammad


The UAE boasts an advanced banking industry, as you might expect from a central global financial hub. As a result, banks in the UAE are quick to embrace new developments, from blockchain to artificial intelligence. Expats living in the country naturally benefit from this proactive approach; it is common for bank officials to visit residents in their apartments or offices to facilitate financial transactions. Digital and mobile banking are also popular, and there is a vast network of ATMs across the country.

An overview of banking in the UAE

As a tranquil investment destination in a troublesome neighborhood, people often refer to the Emirates as the Switzerland of the Middle East. This is mainly due to the ease of banking in the UAE. Indeed, an increasing number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals consider the country a haven. As a result, more of the world's wealthiest could move their funds to the country over the next decade, according to New World Wealth and The Wealth Report.

Many analysts consider the onshore banking sector overcrowded, considering the size of the population. Some 52 local and foreign banks operate in the country and are members of the UAE Banks Federation, making for a robust financial sector. Of these, 22 are national banks. The UAE Central Bank monitors all banking activities in the country and regulates new businesses and the adoption of new technologies.

International banks in the UAE

In total, 26 foreign banks operate in the UAE. Many of these licenses date from before the establishment of the UAE Central Bank. Seven are from the UK, France, and the US, while the rest of the foreign banks are from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Among those that offer personal banking services are HSBC, Citibank, Standard Chartered, Bank of Baroda, and Habib Bank AG Zurich.

The presence of international banks in Dubai indicates the city's attractiveness as a global financial center. With a deep understanding of local markets and strong relationships with key stakeholders, international banks are well-positioned to help everyone to achieve their goals.

HSBC, for example, has been operating in Dubai for over 50 years. These international banks offer a broad spectrum of services to businesses and individuals in Dubai. From corporate banking and investment services to personal banking and lending, they can cater to the needs of almost any customer. As a result, they play a vital role in supporting businesses and helping investors to grow and prosper. They also provide essential financial services to individuals, enabling them to live and work in Dubai.

Others, such as Société Générale and Barclays, offer specialized services in other areas. However, all must comply with local regulations by the UAE Central Bank. As such, they follow common rules concerning operating hours, maximum fees, and safety procedures but may have restrictions about minimum balances.

Between them, foreign banks in the UAE operate 86 branches. This is large because they are restricted to eight branches each. However, they compensate for those limits with service counters at high-density locations such as popular shopping malls.

List of the best international banks in Dubai:

  • HSBC Middle East

  • BNP Paribas Middle East

  • Standard Chartered Bank

  • Citibank N.A

  • Royal Bank of Canada

  • Credit Suisse AG

  • Arab African International Bank

  • Habib Bank A.G. Zurich

HSBC Bank:

BNP Paribas Middle East Bank:

Standard Chartered Bank:

Citibank N.A Bank:

Royal Bank of Canada Bank:

Credit Suisse AG Bank:

Arab African International Bank:

Habib Bank A.G. Zurich:

What services do international banks in Dubai offer?

What should I look for when choosing the best bank in Dubai? Commonly, most banks offer several services to businesses in the emirate. These services include trade finance, business loans, and investment banking.

What else? They can also offer account management and foreign exchange services. Eventually, your decision will come down to what you need in corporate banking and account management services. Most international banks in Dubai provide a one-stop shop for business banking requirements.

A good bank for you is a bank that can help you:

  • Develop your company

  • Deliver the funds you need to grow your operations

  • Enter new markets

Also, guarantee that the bank has an expansive network of branches and ATMs across the city to make handling your finances comfortable. So, whether you are looking for a business loan or want to open a business account, an international bank in Dubai can assist you in achieving your business dreams. However, if you need help making the right choice, we suggest speaking with an expert.

This brings us to the end of our list of the best international banks in Dubai. Branches of these banks can be found in Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Land, JVC, City Walk, Business Bay, and all over the city.

For those of you looking to lease or buy properties in Dubai, the best ones worth considering include luxury apartments for sale, luxury villas for sale, villas for sale, apartments for rent, and villas for rent. Keep an eye on Driven Properties for more similar posts about everyday life in Dubai and the rest of the UAE.

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