Banking in Abu Dhabi

…. well that was an interesting experience.

Walking into the HSBC in Abu Dhabi I was immediately greeted by a very polite bloke asking me what I wanted and if he could help. I mentioned to him I wanted to pick up my atm cards, he pressed about 5 options on a touch screen faster than my eyes could register and 2 seconds later I was given a ticket and told to wait for my number to appear on the screen. Very efficient I thought.

After around 10 minutes my number appeared on the screen and off I went to cashier number 30.  I asked to collect my atm cards and after asking for my account number, off the cashier went to find my atm cards and paperwork. At several points in the stamping, checking and signing procedure I was sure I would be asked for ID, but suddenly I was handed my atm cards without being asked for any ID at all. I know crime is extremely low in Abu Dhabi but I didn’t expect that!

At this point I have my atm cards but no PIN, a quick query at the cashier desk was met with a very friendly “not at this desk sir, the next desk, I will transfer your ticket number over to desk 29″…. my bottom was back on the chair for less than 1 second when was summoned up to the desk 29 to collect my PINs!

I also had a deposit to make, but, yes you’ve guessed it, that was a problem for another cashier at another desk. So back to the computer screen I went, clicked the relevant options with much less grace than the bloke who met me at the entrance and out popped a ticket for one of the teller desks…..

Now in some ways the experience was really efficient, everything I needed was ready prepared and available at each desk, but to be honest I am sure it only seemed that way because there was hardly anyone else at the branch sdn there was very little waiting time between desks. If I had to wait 10 minutes at each counter I would have been in the bank for a total of around 45minutes!

Lesson learnt, only go to the bank when it is really quiet 🙂


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