Dubai Islamic Bank Deposit Machine

Common cents: Play the savings game.

The importance of saving should not be underestimated. Savings give
people a sense of security that when something unfortunate happens, such
as losing a job or dealing with an unexpected medical expense, they have
an easily accessible stockpile of cash to keep them afloat.

Setting aside money regularly also helps people meet their short
and long-term goals – a son’s
college tuition

, a dream home, an
expensive holiday or a comfortable retirement.

Unfortunately, the culture of savings has yet to gain ground in the
According to

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 Savings Index released
last December, only 1 per cent of residents in the UAE would consider
their savings as “more than enough” for their future.

Seven in every 10 people (71 per cent) feel that their savings are
less than they had originally planned, and among those who have caught
on the habit, 45 per cent are able to save only a tenth of their
earnings or even less.

The figures are not surprising, considering that saving is a
mundane task and deposit accounts hardly yield substantial payouts.

Perhaps a good motivation would be to be to add an element of fun
to building your savings. Almost every bank in the UAE is running a
promotion that encourages people to save by offering a lottery prize for
their money.

The mechanics are very straightforward. Just buy a savings
certificate or open an account with a bank and you will automatically
earn the chance to win a prize. Some of these schemes, however,
don’t guarantee an interest.

If you’re wondering what these prize-linked savings schemes
are, let’s take a look at some examples. Most providers today

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 a million dirham cash prize, although many also offer other
rewards such as smaller cash amounts on a daily basis.

For purposes of comparison, the draw frequency and minimum
investment in the summary sections below refer to the grand prize only.

First Gulf Bank

The bank’s savings programme promises “guaranteed”
interest on your money, aside from a chance to bag cash prizes. If you
buy Dh100 worth of savings certificate, you will be eligible to win in
daily and monthly draws. To be eligible for the grand prize draw, you
need to invest at least Dh5,000.

Grand prize: Dh1 million

Draw frequency: Quarterly

Investment: Dh5,000


Like First Gulf Bank, Mashreq sells savings certificates that
qualify the holder to win a million dirhams. The certificates can be
purchased with cash, credit card or
debit card
 card that allows the cost of goods or services that are purchased to be deducted directly from the purchaser’s checking account. They can also be used at automated teller machines for withdrawing cash from the user’s checking account.
 and qualify the holder
for all the prize draws. The bank has recently revised its prize
structure to distribute more smaller rewards of Dh5,000 and Dh100,000 in
a single month and declare two millionaires, an Emirati and a
non-Emirati, in the mega draw.

Grand prize: Dh1 million

Draw frequency: Every few months, with the next one in July

Investment: Dh1,000

Union National Bank (

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Savers have the option to buy UNB certificates in denominations of
Dh100, Dh200 and Dh500, to gain a chance to win cash prizes. Your
winnings will, however, depend on the value of your certificate. If you
are picked in the grand draw, the bank will multiply your certificate
value by 2,000 times. A Dh100 certificate will get you only Dh200,000,
so if you want a Dh1 million jackpot, it’s best to save at least

Grand prize: Dh1 million

Draw frequency: Monthly

Investment: Dh500

National Bonds

While most banks don’t offer regular returns for prize-linked
savings, National Bonds gives UAE residents the chance to become a
millionaire and earn profits with their savings at the same time. The
investment company has recently changed its prize structure to grant
smaller prizes every minute, but everyone’s eyes are on the Dh1
million jackpot.

Grand prize: Dh 1million

Draw frequency: Monthly

Investment: Dh100

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank


The bank offers Dh2 million grand prize to a lucky customer every
four months, but for you to be eligible, you need to open an account and
deposit at least Dh20,000 with the bank. While the ticket to the jackpot
looks pricey, the mega prize is the biggest amount given away in a
single raffle. Your initial savings automatically earn you a single
entry and if you hold on to your money longer, you earn an extra entry
every month. For example, if you keep your Dh20,000 for four months, you
will earn five draw entries.

Grand prize: 2 million

Draw frequency: Every 4 months

Investment: Dh20,000

Feeling motivated to save now? Before you head to your bank,
consider these first:

aACAo Watch out for hidden fees when buying savings certificates.
Your bank could charge you Dh35 every time you buy one.

aACAo Keep an eye out for eligibility criteria. Some providers may
require you to purchase certificates 30 days in advance to qualify for a

aACAo Depending on your provider, redeeming your money less than 3
months from deposit or purchase will invite another fee.

aACAo Not every certificate entitles you a ticket to win Dh1
million. At some banks, you need to invest a minimum of Dh500 to earn an

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