One of the less obvious side-effects of the economic slowdown is the increase in the number of bank services that were earlier offered for free but are now being provided at a cost by banks.
Minimum balance fees
While this fee is not new, some banks have even started levying this fee on salary accounts, which were earlier exempt from it. If you find it hard to maintain a certain balance in your account, then your best bet is to go with banks that don’t yet have a “minimum balance required” clause, although there’s no guarantee that they won’t commence this practice in the future. However, in general no minimum balance is required if you apply for a salary transfer account. This requires no additional effort on your part except for telling the sales person you would like a salary transfer account and presenting a salary certificate. The account itself will have the exact same features as a regular checking account. Emirates NBD current accounts are easy to open, and comes with free online banking and the largest ATM network in the UAE.
Ubiquitous ATM fees
These ATM fees are everywhere. You use a UAE Switch ATM machine and before you know it, you’re out AED 2 per transaction. If you use ATMs abroad, be prepared to pay AED 20 or more per transaction or 2% of the amount withdrawn. To cut down on these costs, use debit/credit cards where possible and regularly stock up on cash at your own bank’s ATM for bills you can’t pay by cards – such as petrol or parking fees. By quickly checking your bank’s profile page on bayzat (click here), you can check the relevant Branches & ATMs map and see if your bank has any ATMs close by.
Paper statement fees
Emailed statements are indeed the ‘green’ way of doing things – and more efficient too. But remember, once you switch to emailed statements, some UAE banks charge you a one-time fee of up to AED 100 to switch back to paper statements or may charge per page for printing your original bank statements! So if you think that you might need to switch back to paper statements – for whatever reason – in the near future, you may be better off paying a nominal monthly fee for paper statements instead of a hefty charge to switch back.