If you’ve just moved to Qatar you may have already taken in some of the sights like The Pearl or The Corniche, visited the wonderful shopping malls, strolled through Souq Waqif or eaten out in great restaurants. But in order to keep enjoying these experiences, if you are working for a foreign company on a visa, being employed by a local Qatari business, or beginning your own startup, you will soon discover that opening a Qatari bank account as soon as possible will become a top priority. This has become especially important since Qatar’s Wage Protection System was introduced three years ago, which stipulates that all workers employed in Qatar must have their salaries and wages paid into a Qatari bank account in Qatari Riyals.
In order to open a bank account, you will need to submit certain documents including the following:
This depends on the type of bank account you are opening. If you want to open a salary account you don’t need to deposit an initial amount. On the other hand, if you want to open a savings account, you will have to deposit a certain amount of money and this amount varies from bank to bank. For example, to open a saving account at Qatar Islamic Bank, you will have to make an initial of deposit QR 5000, whereas at Qatar Commercial Bank the required deposit is QR 10,000.
It is perfectly acceptable and, indeed, sensible to open a bank account before your arrival in the country. Larger banks like QNB and the Commercial Bank Of Qatar allow new customers to open online accounts, but to support an online application you may be asked to provide further documentation, including a copy of your passport photo page and a confirmation of your employment in Qatar. This confirmation must feature a company letterhead, the date that you started your job, your role in the company or job title, and your salary. Once you arrive in Qatar, you will then have 90 days to present your Qatar ID to the bank.
Most Qatari banks provide additional banking products when you open a bank account such as a debit card and a chequebook. To obtain a credit card you have to apply which also requires additional information and documentation.
Most banks offer a simplified registration procedure for their Internet Banking Service. You don't need to visit the branch to register if you have a debit card. There are four simple steps To register:
1.Enter your Debit Card Number PIN
2.Create A User Name and Password
3.Accept Terms and Conditions
4.Login to Internet Banking
ATMs are spread across the country and are located at hospitals, shopping malls, petrol stations etc. All major credit cards are widely accepted. Withdrawing money from an ATM is free!
Banks in Qatar are generally open from 7:00 to 1:00 (Sunday to Thursday), however, some banks are open on Friday and Saturday. In order to offer convenience to customers, the banks in shopping malls offer greater flexibility with timings, and are often open from 8.00 am until 10.00 pm.
Here is a list of some of the most well-known banks in Qatar.
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(Photo credits: iStock by Getty Images)
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