- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Saudi Arabia Guide (PDF)
The banking system in Saudi Arabia is robust and expats can be fully confident in the banking aspect of their transition to the Kingdom.
Money in Saudi Arabia
The currency in Saudi Arabia is the Saudi Arabian Riyal (SAR), which is divided into 100 halalas.
Notes: 1 SAR, 5 SAR, 10 SAR, 20 SAR, 50 SAR, 100 SAR, 200 SAR and 500 SAR
Coins: 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 halalas and 1 SAR and 2 SAR
Banking in Saudi Arabia
Expats can choose between local and international banks. Mobile and internet banking is standard, and facilities are advanced.
Banking hours are usually Sunday to Thursday, from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
Opening a bank account
Expats can open a bank account in Saudi Arabia with a work permit and a letter from their employer. It's worth doing this to avoid paying international transfer fees.
Due to Islamic law, banks don't pay interest on balances, don't lend at high interest rates and don't let account holders accumulate debt. Non-payment of debt is a criminal offence that can get expats imprisoned – and this doesn't discharge the debt.
Expats' salaries will be secure in local banks. However, if they want to earn interest on their income, it's best to periodically transfer earnings to an offshore account.
ATMs and credit cards in Saudi Arabia
Major credit cards are accepted at most shops, hotels and restaurants throughout the country. ATMs are freely available and some permit foreign remittances. Cash is still used for many transactions.
Taxes in Saudi Arabia
Expats won't be taxed on their salaries, as there is no personal income tax in Saudi Arabia. However, they should check whether they are liable for paying taxes in their home country.
►For more on money matters, see Cost of Living in Saudi Arabia
Are you an expat living in Saudi Arabia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Saudi Arabia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
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