- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Saudi Arabia Guide (PDF)
The banking system in Saudi Arabia is relatively robust and has managed to put a progressive foot forward for the past decade. 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 halala.
Notes: 1 SAR, 5 SAR, 10 SAR, 50 SAR, 100 SAR and 500 SAR
Coins: 1, 10, 25, 50 halala (100 halala equals one riyal)
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 9am to 5pm.
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 their 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 most 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
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.