New survey data from kippreport.com should cheer international banks. It found a majority of expats living in Saudi Arabia and the UAE prefer to save money at home.
According to the survey, 74% of expats across both countries have a savings account in their home country, but only 33% in their country of residence. Demand for ATM/debit cards, by contrast, was nearly identical in both locations.
Expats also showed healthy demand for current accounts and credit cards in their countries of residence. 82% used a current account and 42% a credit card abroad. And surprisingly only 18% of expats said they used a credit card in their home country.
Finally, kippreport found expats in the UAE and Saudi Arabia were more likely than locals to have a single bank account. In each country about half of all expats used a single account, another 32% only 2 accounts (for survey purposes “account” included credit cards and loans ). Given the account preferences we mentioned above, this indicates expats in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are most likely to have a current account and credit card locally, and at least one savings account abroad.
In a broader sense, the survey shows expats prefer to use banking products for daily life in their country of residence, while keeping funds for long-term savings and investment either in their home country or at an international bank.