Bahrain has a healthy economy with major industries that include the petroleum and aluminium production industries. It is one of the most important centres for Islamic banking in the Middle East. Expats relocating here can look forward to dealing with banking services that are efficient and reliable.


Money in Bahrain

The currency used in Bahrain is the Bahraini dinar (BHD), which is divided into 1,000 fils.

  • Notes: ½ BHD, 1 BHD, 5 BHD, 10 BHD and 20 BHD
  • Coins: 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 fils

Banking in Bahrain

With a strong and sophisticated banking industry, there are a number of good options for expats looking for a local bank in Bahrain. For those who prefer to bank internationally, there are also a host of foreign and multinational banks with branches in Bahrain.

Banks that are popular with expats in Bahrain include Arab Bank, HSBC Bahrain, Ahli United Bank, Citibank and Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK). Many expats find it easier and more convenient to open a bank account with the bank their employer uses.

Opening hours for banks in Bahrain are generally between 7.30am and 2.30pm, from Sunday to Thursday.

Opening a bank account in Bahrain

Opening a bank account in Bahrain requires a fair amount of paperwork. Expats looking to open a bank account in Bahrain must appear at the prospective bank in person and present a number of documents. The exact requirements vary from bank to bank, but a passport, work and/or residence permit, and proof of residence (such as a utility bill or rental agreement) will usually be required.

ATMs and credit cards in Bahrain

There are plenty of ATMs in Bahrain, and expats won't need to look too hard to find one. The majority of ATMs offer 24-hour service.

Although Bahrain has been a predominantly cash-based society in the past, they are moving away from this. Expats will be able to pay with a debit or credit card almost anywhere now, with many establishments also allowing the use of online payment apps.


Taxes in Bahrain

One of the great incentives for expats moving to Bahrain is that there is no income tax levied against personal earnings. Expats will only be liable to pay social security, which amounts to 1 percent of their monthly income. Expat employers pay an additional 3 percent towards each expat employee's social security.

Before getting too excited, expats are strongly advised to research whether a double-taxation avoidance agreement exists between Bahrain and their country of origin though. If not, expats may have to pay tax in their country of origin on the money they earn in Bahrain. It's worth consulting a specialist expat tax practitioner in order to ensure all obligations are met.

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