saudi riyals
Updated 10 months ago

Are you an expat in Saudi Arabia and looking to open a bank account? Find everything you need to know about banking in Saudi Arabia here.

One of the first and most important tasks for expats in Saudi Arabia is to get their bank accounts open and understand banking procedures. For starters, in order to receive your salary deposit, you must have a local bank account. Once you open your account you will be able to settle your monthly utility bills and money transfers.

Banking in Saudi Arabia

Banking in Saudi Arabia is very similar to what you would expect in most other countries. With several well-established banks in Saudi Arabia, there are many options to choose from. It is very easy to open a bank account in Saudi Arabia, as long as you have all the needed documents. Once you gather all the needed documents, a quick visit to the bank of your choice will have you set up within minutes.

Documents required:

  • A letter from your employer stating your name, iqama (residence permit) and your salary. Your salary needs to be clearly stated.
  • Iqama (Residence Permit)
  • Passport (original)
  • Valid mobile number

 Good to know:

Your banking is directly linked to your mobile number. Your security codes and banking activity is sent via SMS to your mobile phone.

Once you arrive and present your original documents, you will fill out an application on the spot and that is all.

Types of accounts

It is standard practice that you will be given a basic account (equivalent to a checking account) when you first open an account. This will be the account attached to your ATM card.

Savings Accounts

If you are looking to keep money stashed away in a savings account that you can ask for one to be opened at the same time as your first account. It’s important to note that savings account and/or multiple accounts can only be accessed via Internet Banking. You can’t actually access your savings account from an ATM; there isn’t an option for that.

International Currency Account

Depending on the bank you choose, some banks offer accounts in different currencies (US, EURO, GBP). It is not common but is available and with a little research, you’re sure to find certain banks offering them.

Joint Accounts

Unfortunately, joint accounts don’t exist in Saudi Arabia. However, expats who would like to have more that one user for an account can simply ask for additional ATM cards for family members. This is common practice among married couples in Saudi Arabia.

Methods of banking

Both Internet and Telephone Banking are readily available in Saudi Arabia. These services are available in Arabic and English and are very easy to use.

ATM/Money Transfers

ATMs are very easy to find and located citywide. Many banks offer free-of-charge use, so no additional charges to use an ATM.

Money transfers done through your bank to local accounts are done instantly through Internet Banking at a very small fee.

International money transfers to banks outside the country can be done in-branch for initial setup and thereafter through Internet banking. This does come at a charge but is roughly average to transfers worldwide.

Bill Payments

All bills can be settled through banking either on Internet or Telephone banking. Automatic payments can be scheduled via internet banking.

 Useful links:

Al Rajhi Bank
Riyad Bank
Bank Al Jazira
Banque Saudi Fransi
Saudi Hollandi Bank
AL Bilad Bank

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.