Illustration by Anastasiia Zubareva

NYUAD changes from Citibank to NBAD

All students are expected to be transferred to NBAD by the end of November.

At the start of the semester, freshmen at NYU Abu Dhabi were asked to sign up for a National Bank of Abu Dhabi account. Starting in mid-November, returning students began to receive emails about NYUAD changing from Citibank to NBAD for stipend cards. All students are expected to be transferred to NBAD by the end of November.
Executive Director of Financial Services at NYUAD Mona Louca explained the university’s recent switch in a conversation with The Gazelle. Their primary concern was the lack of flexibility with the use of Citibank prepaid cards. The cards are held by NYUAD and students were unable to manage their own accounts. With the NBAD bank accounts, students will now be able to transfer from and receive money directly into their accounts, access internet and mobile banking and enjoy a higher withdrawal and transaction limit. The accounts will also make requesting bank statements and transferring funds easier for students.
Citibank prepaid cards, Louca explained, were originally used due to restrictive banking requirements in the UAE, such as minimum account balances to open student accounts. This year, freshmen initially obtained Citibank cards because NBAD applicants required UAE visas and Emirates IDs, which freshmen only received later in the term. For upperclassmen, NYUAD worked with several different banks to solve other complications and facilitate the change. NBAD eventually became the university’s top choice.
Additionally, students in the past had raised concerns over Citibank’s refund process, which normally took between 30 to 60 days. Since the prepaid cards are held by NYUAD, the process had to go through students, Citibank and NYUAD, before the student is contacted again. With NBAD, students now have access to their own accounts enabling them to deal with the bank directly, vastly simplifying this process. The change from Citibank to NBAD has been seen as a positive one by many students.
“With NBAD we will get a full functioning account,” said freshman Wilson Hsu.
When asked about the benefits of having the NBAD account, Hsu added that the account offers more freedom than the prepaid cards, with more opportunities for money transfers and personal management. Sophomore Raghav Kumar echoed Hsu’s sentiments.
“There are many more NBAD ATMs in the city, and I think it’s a more vastly spread bank in the UAE so we don’t get charged to withdraw money,” Kumar added.
The transition to NBAD has already been implemented for many freshmen and is currently being facilitated for the rest of the student body. Student Finance held sessions on campus with NBAD for students to sign up for their bank accounts. The sessions are held in batches based on academic year and students are notified of the date and time of the session, along with the list of required documents for the application. If students are unable to attend the session for their class, they are given the option to attend the next session.
After the application, students are notified when their NBAD cards can be picked up and are given information on their use. The Citibank prepaid cards will remain active until their expiry, and funds on the cards will remain accessible to students. However, students have the option of withdrawing funds from their Citibank prepaid card and depositing them into the NBAD accounts.
For students currently studying away and other students who have yet to open their accounts, Student Finance will continue to put their stipends and other funds on Citibank prepaid cards until they can set up NBAD accounts in the UAE. For students currently studying at NYU Tel Aviv, NBAD cards will still function at any ATM that supports VISA. Student Finance has also highly recommended that students inform NBAD of any future travel, to ensure that accounts are not blocked for potential fraud.
NYUAD Student Finance is currently in the process of facilitating all students’ opening of their NBAD accounts. Students should have attended a session with the bank before the end of the fall semester.
Dominique Aquino Joaquin is a staff writer. Email her at
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