Banking and finances in Kuwait

Banking and finances in Kuwait
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Updated 2017-09-18 15:12

Soon after arriving in Kuwait, you will likely want to open a Kuwaiti bank account. Your company will assist you with the necessary documents to open your account. You are required to have a Civil ID before opening an account, so your residence visa will have to be processed before this can be accomplished. In addition to a copy of your civil ID, you will also need to provide copies of your passport, resident visa, and a letter from your company stating your salary. Most companies will provide you with at least your first month’s pay in cash to circumvent the time you’ll be waiting on your residence visa. Once your account is open, most companies will directly deposit your pay based on their pay schedule.

Opening a bank account

Transferring funds

If desired, funds can be transferred to other accounts easily from Kuwaiti banks. Transfer of funds is sometimes limited to a certain amount per month that can be transferred without penalty. Funds can also be transferred in any major currency. Most expats open offshore bank accounts to avoid being taxed within their home countries. Transfers made to home bank accounts are typically kept to a minimum. Banks provide debit cards with accounts and offer credit cards and lending which can be useful for buying a car. Most banks also have some rewards program for using their debit or credit cards, such as cash back or discounts on stores and restaurants.

Joint bank accounts

Kuwait does not allow joint bank accounts for married couples. This is due to the high divorce rate within Kuwait. While your spouse cannot be listed on your account, you can apply for a credit card through your bank for your spouse. If desired, you can also apply for a bank account for your spouse. This will require your written permission for your spouse to have a bank account in addition to the rest of the required paperwork. In the event of an emergency, the bank is in no way obligated to provide your spouse with any of the funds available in your account and, in most cases, will keep the money. This is why many expats chose to keep some money in a joint account either at home or outside of Kuwait. Most banks also offer savings accounts.

Good to know:

Interest rates are typically not very high in Kuwait.

Currency of Kuwait

Please note that issuing a cheque without enough funds available in the account to cover the full amount is illegal in Kuwait. Although checks are available through Kuwait banks, they are typically not the preferred method of payment. Cash is most preferable, followed by debit or credit cards, which are often referred to as K-net within Kuwait. The Kuwaiti Dinar is divided into 1,000 fils. Coins are 10, 20, 50, and 100 fils and bills range from 0.25 up to 20 dinars.

Good to know:

The bills and coins become larger in size as the amount increases.

Useful links

Banks in Kuwait

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