Two-thirds of UAE residents have never moved their primary banking relationship to another bank, according to findings from Souqalmal.com’s latest survey.
The survey, carried out for Arabian Business, found that 67 percent of UAE account holders still operate the primary bank account they first opened after landing in the country.
Souqalmal founder and CEO Ambareen Musa said while it would appear that most are happy with their current bank, account holders in the UAE remained with their current financial institution for a number of key reasons.
"The findings from the survey showed that while most of the respondents (60 percent) were happy with their current bank, others were not too keen to make the switch because of three primary reasons," Musa told Arabian Business.
"They found it complicated to do so or their employer had tied up with their current bank or they had a loan with their current bank."
To better understand exactly how easy or difficult it is to change a primary bank account in the UAE, Souqalmal.com asked customers who had successfully made the switch.
Of the customers who said they had changed their bank account in the past, 41 percent admitted that they found the process to be slightly complicated, while 12 percent found it to be extremely difficult.
When questioned about the specific problems they faced, 29 percent of the survey respondents said it took too long to complete the process and 25 percent said they faced difficulties in linking automatic payments such as loan instalments and credit card payments to their new bank account.
A further 13 percent of the respondents also blamed their primary bank for lack of information on how to close a bank account.
Souqalmal.com prepared the following five-step guide to switching a bank account, with minimum hassle:
Step 1 – Choose a new current account
If you’ve decided to change your primary current account, start with browsing the banking market for a new account that meets your requirements. Look out for special offers for new-to-bank customers.
Compare features like minimum balance requirement, as well as account-related fees and charges. It would also make sense to pick a bank that has a branch and ATM network most accessible for you.
Step 2 – Keep your old account active & take stock of your linked payments
No matter what your reason to shift your banking relationship, don’t jump the gun and close your bank account on an impulse. Keep your old account active till you figure out how to shift your regular auto-payments to the new bank.
Next, make a list of the loans, credit cards, telecom and utility payments linked with the account. You can delink these and make manual payments for one month or until you’ve set up the auto-transfers at your new bank.
Step 3 – Shift your income to the new account
Provide your new bank details to your employer to reset the salary transfer. In case you’re planning to write a cheque from the new account or use your new debit card, make sure to transfer funds to this bank account first.
Step 4 – Link existing payments to the new account
Once the account is funded, you can go ahead and link your payments to it. Linking credit cards, utility, and telecom payments is most likely going to be pretty straightforward and can be done through online banking.
But you will have to put in a separate request to link your existing loans with the new bank account. Remember to account for delays in the process.
Step 5 – Close your old bank account
Finally, withdraw whatever’s remaining in your old bank account and apply for closure. Keep in mind that there may be an account closure fee applicable. Also obtain a no liability certificate from the bank to avoid any complications later on.
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