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Which bank should I open my account in? Al-Rajhi or SABB?

Hello folks!

I just got my Iqama a couple of days back and would like to open a bank account. Most of my usage will be international bank transfers. So which banks have user-friendly online services with the best transfer rates? I was bending towards Al-Rajhi and SABB. Al-Rajhi having so many branches all over Riyadh. And SABB being an international bank. So basically I'll list down the things I'm looking for -

1. Easy Online transfers/Mobile Transfers ( International - To India)
2. Lowest transfer charges/Best rates for currency exchange. Also should mention that I have an account in ICICI bank in India.

Any suggestions would be helpful! You can also mention any other bank other than these two, having good services!

Rajhi has a pathetic customer service.
SABB has a pathetic waiting time

Rajhi representatives dont understand much english
SABB representatives mostly are helpful in english too.

Online transfers . Mobile transfers are good in SABB
I dont think international transfers are yet allowed online. you have to visit the bank to do that.

Banks normally have the same currency exchange rate as the current market.

However may i suggest if you want to get your salary transferred easily to INDIA each month, a guy i know is using QUICKPAY account by  National Commercial Bank, using that you can just transfer easily using an ATM instead of visiting the bank, waiting, and filling in forms, you can just add your beneficiary and transfer using the machines.

Oh. I see. Also, I've visited most of the banks websites and they all mention online international bank transfer service. You only have to go the the bank once, the first time, to get the account registered and transfer from there, the first time, after that you can do it at home. This is what I gathered.

Even a co-worker who has account in NCB, transfers to India using just an SMS. Also, if you have any knowledge about any other bank, you can also mention. Thanks  :)

We use SABB & do international transfers online at least every other month if not once a month. Even the setup for the transfers was done online you just have to get the SMS code they send you entered in time.

My husband went in to the bank to set up the entire account & to pick up credit cards. Those are the only 2 times he has gone into the physical bank.

Online international transfers can be done regardless of which bank you open your account in.

Rates are pretty much the same in all banks.

So, go for any bank, or if you prefer that the bank is partially owned by a foreign bank, go for SABB, Samba, Hollandi, or Saudi Fransi.

Alright! Thankyou for the replies guys, much appreciated :)

Also, what is the online shopping scene in Riyadh? I've found Souq.com. Is it a trusted source of online shopping? Any other websites?

www.sukar.com
www.markavip.com
www.souq.com

You can do whatever you want with Samba bank, customer services understand English, much better than the traditional customer services in Saudi. Most probably transfer fees, will be the same in all banks.

My advice not to use online a lot! it is not healthy, and particularly in Saudi doing things physically is a good way to get out of the house.

Good luck

I will vote for SABB

www.cobone.com also has good deals.

REGARDING MY EXPERIENCE WITH SABB,

They have higher Bank charges for |International Transfers and it also takes longer than 3 days for the amount transferred to reach the beneficiary account.
Transfer fee is SR.35 + Sr.35-30 for currency rate difference, almost SR. 60-70 on every international transfer. Other charges also higher than other banks.

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