What is the local currency?
The Saudi Riyal (SR) is the currency of Saudi Arabia.
What denominations does it come in?
Coins are available in 5, 10, 25 and 50 halala and SR1 denomination while notes are available in SR1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500.
What is the best way to exchange currency?
You'll be able to find currency exchangers at the airports, hotels and other centers around town. Your hotel however, is not the best place to change currency. Their rates won't be as favorable as other outlets, some of which are open 24 hours.
What are commonly-used forms of payment for everyday purchases (such as groceries)?
Cash is the preferred method of payment for daily transactions.
Will I be able to use my credit card around town? If not, list when I’ll need cash.
You will be able to, but you'll find that a majority of the time you can use cash for daily transactions.
Haggling over purchases is common but if you produce a card for payment then you might lose whatever discounts you managed to haggle for and instead get a surcharge added to your transaction.
By what method are bills (such as rent and utilities) paid?
Although major service providers (utility companies) will accept checks, cash is the preferred method of payment for daily transactions.
What are the requirements for opening a bank account? At what stage of the settling-in process should I open it?
You will need to show your tenancy agreement to establish your address and your passport or other valid photo identification will be required; you might even need a letter from your employer. If you are the spouse or dependent of someone working in Saudi Arabia, you will also be able to open an account but only with the working spouse's permission.
You should establish a relationship with a banking institution as soon as possible, because your other activities while settling in might require banking/financial transactions.
Will foreign residents be able to find banking services in their native languages?
The official language of business in Saudi Arabia is English. Banking services will be offered in both Arabic and English, so if you are able to communicate in either of the two, you will have no problems.
You can check with your bank to determine if they offer services in languages outside of those.
Are there any restrictions on services for those who are new to your country?
You'll receive the standard banking services such as check clearance, personal credit/charge card services, and some free transactions yearly. It might be a good idea to open an account with your employer's bank for convenience and any additional benefits they offer for groups.
What are typical banking hours?
Banking hours vary here. Normally they open Saturday to Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and again at 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. On Thursdays, they open from 8 a.m. till noon, and on Fridays they and other businesses close.
Are automatic teller machines (ATMs) available around the clock?
There are plenty of ATMs available for use at banks and shopping malls and many operate for 24 hours. You will find there is a daily limit for withdrawals and you'll have your choice of English or Arabic for your transactions.
Is there any other money information that might help me?
Unlike the US and other countries, major stores in Saudi Arabia do not issue their own credit cards.
This is mainly because paying with cash is still the popular culture here.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.