Business Banking Solutions in the UAE

Obtaining an operational bank account for your newly registered business is generally the last hurdle to overcome once the business setup process is completed.

It is also the most difficult step due to the stringent onboarding processes and various compliance measures being implemented by banks across the world, including the UAE.

At INCORPORTAS, we understand the ongoing client concerns regarding banking and its difficulties in the UAE. Being corporate service providers, we also acknowledge the regulatory and banking’s side cautious approach to the entire issue.

Different Types of Banks in the UAE

To broadly generalize, banks operating in the UAE can be categorized into three groups,

• Local banks

• Foreign international banks

• Foreign GCC banks

Local banks refer to UAE-homegrown banks, such as Emirates NBD (Dubai’s biggest lender), First Abu Dhabi (UAE’s largest lender), and Mashreqbank.

Foreign international banks include internationally well-known financial institutions such as HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Citibank.

Foreign regional banks consist of banks headquartered in neighboring countries, such as Samba Bank of Saudi Arabia, Banque Misr of Egypt, and Arab Bank of Jordan.

Which Banking Solutions are Suitable for Me?

Clients generally opt for local banks’ corporate and business banking facilities due to the breadth of solutions on offer. Local banks remain one of the most advantageous banking solutions for our clients, whether you are based in the UAE, or overseas.

Foreign international banks have stringent requisites, such as being an existing client of the bank in another country and a corporate turnover of more than USD 10 million, amongst other requirements.

Foreign regional banks have recently aggressively entered the market and started promoting and offering their services to clients, providing another alternative full banking solution to businesses operating in the UAE.

Based on the above, local banks and foreign regional banks are the more ideal solutions for most clients.

Here at INCORPORTAS, we recommend the following,

• Emirates NBD (ENBD)

• First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)

• Mashreqbank


• Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB)

• Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)

• Banque Misr

However, if you believe you may meet foreign international banks requirements for corporate and or business accounts, we can also assist you with such applications.

What are the Onboarding Requirements of UAE Banks?

To simplify, UAE banks assess across three criteria,

• Physical Presence

• Documentation

• Client Relationship Value

Physical Presence 

Per the Central Bank of the UAE’s directive, banks in the UAE must independently meet and verify the identity of the clients during the onboarding process. This usually means clients will, at minimum, visit the UAE once to meet with the bankers to start the onboarding process.

In some cases, bankers may even travel to visit clients, but this is exceedingly rare and highly dependent on the prospective relationship value.


In terms of documents, the standard list below is required across the different banks.

• Passport, Residence Visa page, Emirates ID*

• Proof of Address

• Company Profile, Business Profile

• Business Plan

• CV of Shareholder(s), Director(s), Authorized Signatory(ies)

• Latest 6 months Bank Statements (Individual and Corporate)*

• Invoices*

• List of Clients and Suppliers

• Bill(s) of Lading*

• Sales Purchase, and or Service Agreement(s)*

*where applicable

Beyond the documentation, the differences lie in the minimum balances, or relationship value.

Relationship Value

Bankers and banking institutions understand that not all prospective clients are high net worth individuals.

Banks also offer different solutions for clients based on the prospective relationship balance. The higher the value, the more advantages and benefits being provided to clients.

Other Options

Businesses across the world are increasingly eschewing traditional banks in favor of other options such as Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs), Neobanks, Payment Service Providers (PSPs) or other Financial Technology (FinTech) solutions.

A few examples of FinTech solutions include Ebury, which provides a currency account solution that could potentially work for clients; and TransferWise, which has recently stopped offering its multicurrency accounts to UAE-based clients in February 2021, and are expected to restart it soon, pending regulatory updates.

Neobanks backed up traditional banks in the UAE, such as Mashreq NEOBiz by Mashreqbank, or E20 by Emirates NBD may also be suitable alternatives, if clients meet the requirements.


An undeniable fact is that the state of banking is not easy in the UAE, and it is not getting easier by the day.

Banks have significantly reduced their risk appetite for various reasons, regulators have increased compliance, sanctions and tightened regulations, incumbent players’ resistance to a change in the status quo all play a part in the current banking environment.

However, with banking and finance playing an outsized role in today’s globalized economy, it is paramount that clients can, and continue to have access to such facilities.

Here at INCORPORTAS, we believe in providing a holistic understanding of the current circumstances, whilst equipping clients with the knowledge and requirements, and with our existing experience and connections, we aim to act as a guide for you in your application towards a successful bank account application and opening.

Contact us today to find out more about the bank account application and opening assistance services provided by INCORPORTAS.

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