Gone are the days of plain vanilla bank accounts which only got you a debit card and cheque book at most. Now, there’s a new breed of bank accounts that can open up an array of banking and lifestyle privileges for account-holders. So, is the humble bank account all set to make a comeback as a popular saving tool?

Here’s an in-depth look at what stand-out features and perks various banks accounts offer in the UAE.

Multiple currency options to choose from

With more than 80 percent of the UAE’s population comprising of expats, many banks in the UAE offer multiple currency accounts to customers. Besides the local currency, over 68 percent of all bank accounts in the UAE offer customers the option to choose from major international currencies. Accounts dominated in GBP, USD and EUR are the most common ones offered by various banks in the country.

Hybrid options – Flexibility coupled with high returns

Many new products from banks are now blurring the line between various types of accounts. Now your bank account doesn’t just have to be a simple current, savings or deposit account by mere definition.

Take for example the HSBC eSaver Account, bringing together features of savings accounts and term deposits and offering higher returns than a regular savings account coupled with the flexibility of making withdrawals once a month without any interest penalty.

Returns linked to growing balances and tenures

Many bank accounts offer tiered interest rates on certain saving accounts variants, so as your account balance grows, so do your returns. Examples of such accounts include the ADCB Active Saver Account, Emirates NBD Tiered Savings Account, RAKBANK’s F@st S@ver and RAKsave Account among many others.

Various deposit accounts also offer accelerating interest rates based on deposit tenures. So the longer you save for, the higher your returns will be. The CBD Step-Up Time Deposit and the UNB Accelerating Rate Deposit are examples of such deposit accounts.

[Related: Average returns of up to 1% p.a. on UAE bank accounts]

A ‘Million’ reasons to start saving today

Not quite excited about the returns that most bank accounts in the country can fetch you? There’s an even better reason to save – Millionaire savings accounts. Various banks offer these lucky draw-linked accounts that give account holders the chance to participate in regular lucky draws with grand cash prizes of AED 1 million or more, and other smaller cash prizes as well. Examples of such accounts include the ADCB Millionaire Destiny Savings Account, ADIB Ghina Savings Account and UNB Dream Account.

But make sure you read the fine print and the terms of qualification for these draws. For example, non-maintenance of a certain minimum balance could disqualify you from participating in the lucky draw.

Make the most of your account benefits

Bank accounts are getting a makeover, and they’re not just your boring old bank accounts any more. Your bank account can offer a range of lifestyle privileges, along with offering discounts and preferential pricing on other bank products and services.

Pre-approved credit cards, discounted fees on safety deposit boxes, discounts on international remittances and dining, shopping and entertainment discounts on debit cards are just some of the additional benefits that you can avail with various high-value current and savings accounts offered by banks in the UAE.

Reward points are not just for credit cards

Reward points on your bank account? Yes, that’s actually possible with certain bank accounts. For example, you can earn NBAD Stars when you use the debit card linked to your NBAD Elite Gold Current or Elite Gold Savings Account. ADCB also offers TouchPoints on ADCB accounts, which are awarded based on your monthly account balance, and the higher the account balance, the more TouchPoints you will earn.

Banking has become a whole lot more rewarding, and if your bank account can’t keep up, it’s time to switch to a better one. Make sure you do your research and compare the various options available in the market before you make a decision. A good place to start your search is on Souqalmal.com which lets you compare over 300 bank accounts before you decide which one to apply for.