Best Savings Accounts in Kuwait

This article will look at some of the best savings accounts for expats in Saudi Arabia.

It continues our analysis at savings solutions after I looked at options in numerous countries.

This has included Marcus by Goldman Sachs , Emirates NBD and the best savings accounts in Saudi Arabia.

The article will look at the best options available in Saudi, although it remains our position to in an era of 0% interest rates, saving money in the bank doesn’t make sense.

For any questions, or if you are looking to invest, you can contact me using  this form.

Introduction:

Savings Accounts are the bank accounts that provide profits to a depositor in the form of interest on the deposit made by them. Usually, the savings accounts are offered by banks and other financial institutions, but mostly by banks.

Savings Accounts are known to be a reliable and most secure form of investment when compared to other investment options. However, the profits attained from the savings accounts in the form of interest can be very low when compared to the profits acquired from other investment opportunities.

Most savings accounts have accessibility towards the funds within them and these can be a good choice to store cash for the short term while earning profits from the parked cash. Anyhow, in the long run, even the savings accounts are known to provide a good amount of profits to the individuals. 

The banks use the funds stored in the savings accounts and loan it to individuals who borrow from them. These banks charge an interest rate to the borrower, which is higher than the interest given to the depositors. The difference in the interest rates is kept by the banks as their personal profits.

Kuwait:

Kuwait, which is officially known as the ‘State of Kuwait’, is a wealthy Islamic country located in Western Asia. The capital of Kuwait is ‘Kuwait City’ and the official language spoken in Kuwait is ‘Arabic’.

The major religion that can be found in Kuwait is Islam, which constitutes 74.36% followed by Christianity at 18.17% and other religions accounting for up to 7.47%. The estimated population of Kuwait as of 2019 according to some surveys is 4.42 million.

The government of Kuwait is a unitary constitutional monarchy, which means the authority works according to the written and non-written constitutional rules. 

The currency of Kuwait is Kuwaiti Dinar and is represented as ‘KWD’. The value of Kuwaiti Dinar by the time of writing this article is $3.27/€2.77.

Banking in Kuwait:

Now let us have a brief yet detailed look at the details related to the banking system in Kuwait. Kuwait consists of 11 local banks, out of which 5 are Islamic financial institutions. There are also 12 branches of international banks including Citibank, HSBC, BNP, etc.

The Kuwaiti Central Bank currently oversees the banking system in Kuwait and plays a very crucial role in maintaining the stability of the Kuwaiti Dinar. The Kuwait Central Bank plays a major role in the country’s economy by acting as the banker and financial adviser to the government.

The Kuwait banking system is stable and based on the view of many sources, the government-funded projects will continue in driving economic growth and simultaneously boost the banks’ businesses.

The top 10 banks in Kuwait are as follows:

  • National Bank of Kuwait
  • Kuwait Finance House
  • Burgan Bank
  • Gulf Bank
  • Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait
  • Commercial Bank of Kuwait
  • Boubyan Bank
  • Ahli United Bank Kuwait
  • Warba Bank
  • Kuwait International Bank

The list of a few International banks in Kuwait is given below:

  • BNP Paribas – Kuwait Branch
  • HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd
  • Citibank – Kuwait Branch
  • Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK)
  • First Abu Dhabi Bank
  • Qatar National Bank – Kuwait Branch

Best Savings Accounts in Kuwait:

Now let us discuss the savings accounts provided by the top five banks in Kuwait. 

  1. National Bank of Kuwait (NBK):

National Bank of Kuwait is the largest bank in Kuwait in the terms of total assets under management. Being incorporated in 1952, NBK was the first local bank as well as the first shareholding company located in the Arabian Gulf region. 

Global Finance states that the National Bank of Kuwait is among the top 3 safest banks in the Middle East region.  As per the stats of 2020, NBK currently has total assets worth up to $96 billion. The employee count of NBK is around 7,000 people, who work across their 70 branches and NBK also has 310 ATMs located across Kuwait.

Savings Accounts at NBK:

There are 4 types of savings accounts provided at NBK, which are ‘NBK Savings Account’, ‘NBK Al Jawhara Account’, ‘NBK Super Account’ and ‘NBK Notice Account’. 

‘NBK Savings Account’ – Customers can save money and easily access it while earning interest with this account. Money can be easily withdrawn and transferred, whereas, interest is calculated monthly and paid out to the customers twice a year.

The interest rate provided on the NBK Savings Account is 0.0625% annually and the minimum amount required to open an NBK Savings Account is 

  1. KD 500 (or more) for new customers 
  2. KD 100 (or more) for existing customers

Some of the main features and details:

  • In order to open an NBK Savings Account, people must be at least 18 years or older.
  • A free Visa Debit Card is provided, which can be accessed over 650,000 ATM machines located globally.
  • Customers can avail the services of NBK Online Banking and NBK customer care can be contacted 24/7 via phone call. SMS services is also provided upon request by the customer.
  • The most unique feature is that customers can make unlimited withdrawals, which makes it very convenient for the customer to access their cash whenever they want.

‘NBK Al Jawhara Account’ – The NBK Al Jawhara Account offers exclusive cash prizes with the savings. Opening an NBK Al Jawhara account allows the customer to automatically take part in the weekly draw with KD 5,000 cash prizes, a monthly draw with KD 125,000 cash prizes and a quarterly draw with KD 250,000 cash prizes.

The amount required to open an Al Jawhara account at NBK is KD 400 and it may be more depending on certain conditions. 

People just need to deposit KD 50 into their savings account in order to get a chance at these draws. People who deposit more money have a higher chance of winning the prizes. 

In order to open an Al Jawhara account, an individual needs to be of 21 years or older, however, people between 18 – 21 years of age can also open an account with proof of salary.

Some of the main features and details:

  • Each deposited KD 50 will get a chance in the draw and if the customers don’t make a withdrawal or transfers from their account, then they will 1 extra chance for each KD 50 existing in their account.
  • KD 2 minimum balance charge is applicable to the accounts having an average monthly balance that has less than KD 200.
  • The maximum amount that can be maintained within this account is KD 500,000 and it is available only in ‘KD’.
  • 24/7 access is provided for calling customer care and customers can also access NBK Online Banking and SMS Service subscription.

‘NBK Super Account’ – This account is known to provide competitive interest rates and flexibility to access the savings with the availability of multiple currencies. The minimum amount required to open an NBK Super account is KD 500 (or more). 

The interest is calculated on a daily basis and is credited quarterly into the account of the customer. The most important thing to consider here is that the interest will be canceled if the customer makes more than 3 withdrawals in a month.

Some of the main features and details:

  • Free Visa debit card is provided along with services such as NBK Online Banking, 24/7 customer care access, SMS Service Subscription, etc.
  • Higher rate of interest is provided, and this account is available in the currencies Kuwait Dinar, US Dollar and Pound Sterling.
  • The interest rate provided to the customers for deposits made in Kuwait Dinar is 0.125%.
  • The interest rate for deposits made in USD for more than USD 5,000 is 0.125% per annum.
  • The interest rate for deposits made in GBP for more than GBP 5,000 is 0.03125% per annum.

‘NBK Notice Account’ – People concentrating on partial withdrawal and exquisite returns on their deposits can profit from the NBK Notice Account. The deposits can be made into the account at any time, whereas, the withdrawals can be made partially by submitting a withdrawal notice.

This account is specifically designed for Premium Banking and Business Banking customers. The minimum amount required to open this account is KD 5,000.

Some of the main features and details:

  • The customers should submit a written notice at least 35 days prior to making a withdrawal or closing the account and 3 active notices per account can be made at any time.
  • Customers can nominate an account, where the interest earned from the account needs to be deposited.
  • The interest rates are:
  1. 35 days-notice account – 1.00%
  2. 65 days-notice account – 1.00%
  3. 95 days-notice account – 1.125%
  • There are no types or charges or fees applicable to this account, however, if a withdrawal is made without submitting a withdrawal notice, the interest on the total balance for that specific period will be lost.
  • This account can be opened by visiting an NBK branch and the deposits can be made with the help of the customer’s branch or NBK Online Banking.
  1. Kuwait Finance House (KFH):

Coming to the second-largest bank, Kuwait Finance House is also a renowned bank in Kuwait having assets more than $60 billion. It is a bank that is compliant with the shariah principles and all the activities are carried out according to the Islamic Sharia. 

Kuwait Finance House is prominent for services such as Personal Banking, Private Banking, Corporate Banking, Finance Services, Capital Market Products and many more. It is also known for carrying out activities internationally in countries like Bahrain, UAE, Germany, Malaysia, etc.

As per stats available, KFH’s total assets reached KD 20.6 billion and the net profit is around KD 56.9 million. It is reported to have more than 500 branches located in Kuwait (approx.).

Savings Accounts at Kuwait Finance House:

Kuwait Finance House offers Current Account, Aleabeh Account, Saving Account, etc. But we will focus on the traditional ‘Saving Account’ and the ‘Baiti Account’ for today’s article. 

Honorable Mentions that haven’t been listed: ‘KFH Alrabeh Account’ and ‘KFH Gold Account’.

‘Saving Account’ – Some of the exclusive features of the Saving Account at KFH include: 

  1. Ability to open with foreign currencies 
  2. Ability to acquire credit cards
  3. Competitive returns

The minimum balance required to open a Saving Account at KFH is KD 100 and the original civil ID of the customer should be presented while opening an account. Along with the civil ID, customers should also provide a commercial registration certificate and a letter from PACI showing the establishment’s civil ID number.

Some of the features and details:

  • The account balance which has been deposited by the investors will be used by the bank according to the “Mudaraba” principle. 
  • The profits from the account are distributed on a quarterly basis.
  • Account can be opened in Kuwait Dinar and some other major currencies.
  • Account can be managed by the customers via KFH online and Allo Baitak.
  • There are no fees for opening the account and an ATM card will be provided only for the first year. With the help of an ATM card, customers can withdraw up to KD 2,000 daily from any ATM machine.

‘Baiti Account’ – The main objective of this account is to make the children get used to the habit of savings from a young age. This saving account at KFH also operates on the basis of the Mudaraba principle and comes with unique privileges.

This account can be opened for children from the date of their birth up to when they reach 14 years of age. This account is only available in Kuwait Dinar and the minimum balance required to open this account is KD 10. 

Similar to the Saving Account, the Baiti Account also doesn’t have any fees and provides a free ATM card for the first year.

Some of the features and details:

  • The Baiti Account at KFH is a Mudharba principle-based investment saving account specially designed for children.
  • Profits arisen from this account will be announced and credited to the customer’s account on a yearly basis.
  • A specially branded debit card is also provided to the customers.
  1. Burgan bank:

Burgan Bank, founded in the year 1975, provides banking services such as investment banking, private banking, retail banking, etc. There are many subsidiaries of Burgan Bank, which as Gulf Bank of Algeria, Tunis International Bank, Burgan Bank Turkey and Bank of Baghdad.

Burgan Bank stands as the third-largest bank in Kuwait and has $24 billion in total assets. It is estimated that Burgan Bank has around 167 regional branches located all over Kuwait.

Savings Accounts at Burgan Bank:

There is only one type of Savings Account available at the Burgan Bank which is called the ‘Saving Account’.

‘Saving Account’ – This is a specific savings account that provides interest and gives instant access to their funds. 

The minimum balance required to open a Saving Account at Burgan Bank is KD 100 and interest is paid to the accounts having a balance more than KD 250.

Some of the features and details:

  • The services can be accessed via approaching a bank, Online banking and Mobile banking. 
  • The interest is calculated on the basis of the lowest monthly balance and the interest is paid out to the customer quarterly.
  • It can be opened in Kuwait Dinar or any other major currency and unlike the current account, the cheque book is not offered.
  1. Gulf Bank:

The fourth-largest bank in Kuwait is ‘Gulf bank’, in terms of assets. It is estimated to have around 60 branches as well as 200 ATMs located across Kuwait. Some of the most prominent features of this bank include current accounts, savings accounts, salary accounts, credit cards, etc.

Savings Accounts at Gulf Bank:

There are many types of savings accounts available at Gulf Bank and we will not include the term deposit accounts as we are discussing only the savings accounts.

‘e-Savings Account’ – This account can be opened by individuals, whether they are residents or non-residents of Kuwait. The minimum balance required to open this account is KD 250 and it is available in Kuwait Dinar only.

The interest for this account is calculated on the lowest daily balance and it is credited on a monthly basis. If the customer has an existing loan or requires a loan, any failure in paying the loan will result in blocking the funds for collateral.

Some of the features and details:

  • Competitive interest rates are offered to the individuals on this type of savings account.
  • Only this account offers the feature of standing order facility for free.
  • A MasterCard Electron ATM card is offered, and the free online banking services are offered to handle the account.

‘Golden Investor Account’ – This account is specially designed for the people who want to earn higher interest rates as the deposit amount increases. The Golden Investor account is also available for the Resident and Non-Resident people of Kuwait.

The minimum balance required to open the Golden Investor Account is KD 500, and the interest is calculated on a daily basis and credited to the account monthly. It is available in Kuwait Dinar, US Dollar, Great Britain Pound and Euro.

The interest in foreign currency accounts depends on the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). 

Some of the features and details:

  • The interest rate increases for every tier increase.
  • There is no limit for the withdrawals for this account and a free MasterCard Electron ATM Card is provided (which is available in KD only).
  • Customers can utilize free Online banking services to manage their accounts.

‘Gulf Savings Account’ – This account is perfectly suitable for the people who want to save money and have the flexibility to access funds when needed. The Gulf Savings Account is also available for the Kuwaitis and Non-Kuwaitis.

The minimum balance required to open the Gulf Savings Account is KD 500 and interest is provided to the accounts having a balance of at least KD 500. This account is available only in Kuwait Dinar.

Some of the features and details:

  • This account provides more flexibility and lesser restrictions for the convenience of accessing the funds.
  • Free MasterCard Electron ATM Card and Online Banking Services are provided and there is no limit to the number of withdrawals.

‘Al Danah Account’ – This account offers cash prizes to the individuals and the grand prize has been increased to KD 1,500,000 for the annual draw. 

With a low minimum deposit amount of KD 200, customers can be able to take part in the Al Danah draws. A low balance fee, which is KD 2 will be charged to the accounts having a balance of less than KD 200.

This is also available for the Kuwaitis and Non-Kuwaitis and the customers must be at least 21 years of age to open this account. The information related to Al Danah draws is as follows:

  1. Weekly draw of KD 1,000, for which 5 lucky winners are announced.
  2. A draw of KD 250,000 happens three times in a year and only one winner is announced.
  3. An annual draw of KD 1,500,000, for which one winner is announced.

Some of the features and details:

  • Loyalty Chances, the total chances in the previous year will be credited as chances in the next year as a reward for loyalty.
  • People who save more money or save for a longer time will earn more chances at the draw.
  • For every KD 100 deposited, the customer gets one chance and only KD 100 can be deposited every day to gain chances.
  • Services can be accessed by Online Banking and Mobile application. 24/7 customer service, available through WhatsApp as well.
  • A free Al Danah Deposit Only ATM card is offered to the customers, which allows the customers to deposit money whenever they want.

Gulf Bank also provides a deposit account that can fetch an interest rate up to 1.375% depending on the tenure and the amount deposited.

  1. Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait:

The fifth best bank in Kuwait is Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait and it has more than 30 branches in Kuwait. Global Finance Magazine named Al Ahli bank to be among the top ten safest banks in the Middle East.

This bank also has 2 branches in UAE and 40 branches located across Egypt. This bank specializes in services such as Corporate Banking, Retail banking, etc.

Savings Accounts at Al Ahli Bank:

There are 5 types of savings accounts available at Al Ahli Bank, which are ‘AL Manal Savings Account’, ‘Daily Interest Savings Account’, ‘I-Save Youth Savings Account’, ‘Bedayati Kids Savings Account’ and ‘Al Amel Account’.

‘Al Manal Savings Account’ – This account offers competitive interest rates on a monthly basis and is only available for the residents of Kuwait having an age of 21 or above. The minimum balance required to open the Al Manal Savings account is KD 5,000.

Some of the features and details:

  • No minimum balance charges are applicable to this account.
  • No threshold to earn interest, however, the higher the balance will be, the higher will be the interest.
  • No penalties applicable to the withdrawal of funds in the account. Money can be deposited or withdrawn 24/7 with the help of a debit card.
  • 24/7 access provided to access the fast and secure e-banking channels of the Al Manal account.

‘Daily Interest Savings Account’ – Interest is calculated and credited to the account on a daily basis in the Daily Savings Account. The minimum balance required to open this account is KD 100 and the minimum balance to earn interest is KD 500.

People who are residents of Kuwait and have an age of 21 years or above are able to open the Daily Interest Savings Account at Al Ahli Bank. This account is available in KD as well as other major currencies.

Some of the features and details:

  • Similar to the Al Manal account, the higher the balance is, the higher will be the interest rate, and the interest is credited daily.
  • 24/7 access provided to access the fast and secure e-banking channels of Al Manal account, adding to which SMS services are also provided.
  • Money can be deposited or withdrawn 24/7 with the help of a debit card. 

‘I-Save Youth Savings Account’ – The ‘I-Save Youth Savings Account’ can be opened by parent/guardian (having an age of 21 years or more) for their children (having an age between 9 – 17 years). The main objective is to educate the children about banking as well as savings.

The minimum balance required to open the I-Save Youth Savings account is KD 10.

Some of the features and details:

  • Monthly interest is paid into the accounts.
  • With the help of a debit card, money can be easily deposited or withdrawn in this account.
  • Free entrance for the Al Arabi Club matches that take place at the club stadium.
  • 24/7 access provided to access the fast and secure e-banking channels of Al Manal account, adding to which SMS services are also provided.

‘Bedayati Kids Savings Account’ – The Bedayati Savings account is nothing but the I-Save Youth Savings Account but is available only for the children having age between 0-8 years. All the other features are exactly the same as the I-Save Youth Savings Account.

‘Al Amel Account’ – The Al Amel Account is the savings account offered by Al Ahli bank, which is only available to the expats having an age of 21 years or above. Salary transfers from other accounts are not allowed into this account.

The Al Amel account is more of a salary account, but it is the only savings account available at Al Ahli bank for expats, therefore, it has been listed in this article.

The documents required to open the Al Amel account are as follows:

  1. A letter that has been obtained from the company/establishment allowing to open an account for Al Amel.
  2. The Authorized Signature and Commercial License of the company are also needed to be provided.
  3. A copy of Valid Civil ID and Passport along with proof of address and work permit.
  4. Al Amel Account opening form that has been filled by the customer.

Some of the features and details:

  • This account service is accessible by corporate or commercial establishments on a specific condition that they will submit an application to open personal accounts for their workers. The salaries of these workers should be less than KD 300, along with a 100% increment for any extra work.
  • Account statements can be obtained by the workers upon request at any of the ABK branches for free.
  • The fees and charges applicable to this account are based on the fees and charges list approved by the Central bank of Kuwait.
  • This account will have no interest and the Al-Amel card should be renewed by the customers for every 5 years (which is free though).

Conclusion:

These are some of the most popular savings accounts offered by the top 5 best banks in Kuwait.

Investing over the long-term, however, will always beat saving money.

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