The Qatar banking sector mainly operates from Doha - it consists of nine Qatari owned banks and seven foreign owned banks. Three of Qatar’s national banks are Islamic banks.
Islamic banking institutions must abide by the Islamic law (Sharia) and charging interest is forbidden - as a result there are fees for services. Both Muslims and non-Muslims have access to Islamic banking products.
Standard banking facilities are available and offered at most banks, which range from current and savings accounts to loans, debit and credit cards. If you are paid in US dollars you may open an account in that currency.
Generally people tend to open an account with the same bank that their employer deals with. This just makes the transfers easier as the money lands in your account on the same day. However, should you wish to deal with a different bank you will not incur additional charges for the transfer of your salary.
Opening a bank account
To open an account you require:
- A no objection letter from your sponsor/company that states your monthly wage.
- A copy of your passport
- A copy of your residence permit
- Two passport photos
Banks are generally open from 07:00 to 13:00 Sunday to Thursday. Some banks are open on Friday and Saturday; like the HSBC’s Al Sadd branch at the City Centre and the QNB branches also at the City centre in Doha. The banks in shopping malls have more flexible hours and are often open from 10am until 10pm.
ATM’s are spread throughout Qatar and are easily available. All major credit cards are widely accepted. There are no exchange controls in Qatar. For large cash deposits, banks do require a declaration of origin.
Be aware of your funds. Some banks charge a fee if the balance falls below a certain amount. To avoid these chrges try to keep your bank balance above this amount, it will not be a large one. Furthermore it is very important to know your bank balance when writing out a cheque. If your cheque does not clear you could find yourself in hot water for fraud. This could lead to deportation and even a jail term.
The monetary unit of Qatar is the Qatari Riyal (QR), which is divided into 100 Dirhams.
Bank notes in circulation are QR 1, QR 5, QR 10, QR 50, QR 500, coins available are Dh5, Dh 10, Dh 25, and Dh 50.
The Qatari Riyal is pegged against the US dollar at QR 3.64.
Banks in Qatar
+974 4420 5222 (from outside Qatar)
8002222 (call center)
+974 4445 6000
Al Khalij Commercial Bank
+974 4494 0000
Qatar International Islamic Bank
+974 4484 0000
Qatar National Bank
+974 440 7777
International Bank of Qatar
+ 974 4447 8000
Qatar Islamic Bank
+974 4444 8444
Qatar Development Bank
+974 4430 00 00
Bank Saderat Iran
+974 441 4646
+974 4442 4722
Standard Chartered Bank
+ 974 44248 601
Masraf Al Rayan
+974 4425 3333
+974 4408 3333
+974 4438 7878
+974 4453 07537