Read this if you are an expat to Qatar!
New to Qatar and you want to manage your money as an expat? Well, it takes two to tango. You can’t just entrust everything to your chosen bank. It is crucial that you have the knowledge about banking in the country as well as the services.
Remember that the procedures and requirements differ in every country, so it makes good sense to familiarize yourself with the banking system and rules in the Gulf state.
But before we share some banking tips, let’s first take a quick look at the general banking information that you should know.
Banking in Qatar
The Qatar Central Bank supervises the banking sector in the country. It regulates 18 banks, including Ahli Bank, the Commercial Bank of Qatar, Doha Bank, Qatar International Islamic Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, International Bank of Qatar and the Qatar National Bank (QNB), to name a few.
Most of the banks are generally open from Sunday to Thursday from 7:30 am till 1:00 pm, and Saturday from 8:30 am till 12 pm. But there are also a couple of banks that open on Fridays and Saturdays like Qatar National Bank and Commercial Bank of Qatar.
Official banking correspondence and bank statements can be provided both in English and Arabic to offer expats a more convenient banking experience.
Let us now proceed to the common banking essentials!
Opening a bank account
It is a general rule of thumb to open an account with the same bank that your employer deals with. This makes the transfer more seamless because the money lands in your account on the same day.
In case you want to open a savings, current or fixed deposit account, you are free to choose what bank you want to deal with.
If you don’t go the international account route, the process is relatively simple. All you need is to apply in person at your chosen bank and bring the following documents:
- A copy of your passport
- A copy of your residency and work permit
- A ‘no objection’ letter from your employer, stating your monthly wage
- Two passport photos
ATMs and credit cards
ATMs are readily available in Qatar, particularly in the major towns and cities. Most of the automated teller machines in the region accept both national and international bank cards. However, banks usually incur extra charges when using a foreign bank card or credit card to withdraw cash.
Bonus info: most ATMs can be operated in both Arabic and English.
Transferring money from Qatar to other countries is also possible. There are two ways to do it: Through a bank or an international transfer provider.
Both procedures allow senders and recipients to send and collect funds within a few minutes, though it is recommended to compare the fee structure and exchange rates before transferring money overseas to get the best deal available.
The Qatari Government doesn’t oblige employees to give a fair share of their income. This means expats can earn a good salary without being taxed on income.
However, expats are strongly advised to research whether a double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) exists between Qatar and their country of origin. In the absence of the DTAA, one must pay tax in their country of origin on the money earned in Qatar.