Technology continues to develop and innovations are launched making life far better and easier than it used to be. The banking system, one of the most important structure in the business sector that has been and is still benefiting from the innovations technology has brought about. The various countries all throughout the world have different policies and procedures when it comes to opening a bank account especially for those who are foreign to their countries. There are those that require a lot of paperwork and there are those who do not. Fortunately for foreigners in Saudi Arabia, opening a bank account in the said country is relatively upfront.
The Saudi Banking System
Banking facilities in Saudi Arabia are very advanced, and like other prosperous countries, they also offer internet and telephone banking. The kingdom also have ATMs scattered all around its perimeter that offer a wide range of services to include cash withdrawals and bill payments. Some banks such as the Arab Bank even allows its customers to make remittances to their home countries through the ATM locations. On the other hand, other banks offer over the counter remittance services which are fast and efficient, such banks include the Speed Cash system managedby the Saudi American Bank (SAMBA).
Bank accounts in Saudi Arabia do not earn interest because of the laws that govern Islam. Credit cards are becoming popular in Saudi Arabia and are accepted in hotels, restaurants, and shops; but still most establishments prefer cash over credit cards. Standard banking services are also offered by Saudi Arabian banks, including check clearance, direct debits, standing orders, and credit card repayments.Banking hours in the kingdom vary but most open between 9 a.m. and 12n.n. on Saturdays to Wednesdays, with some that open late in the afternoon and evening. The biggest banks located within Saudi Arabia include Arab National Bank (anb), Al Rajhi Bank, Bank Al-Jazira (BAJ), Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), National Commercial Bank (NCB) (Al-Ahli Bank), Riyad Bank, Samba Financial Group, Saudi British Bank (SABB), Saudi Hollandi Bank (SHB), Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB), United Saudi Bank (USB)
Requirements When Applying for Bank Account
In Saudi Arabia, a foreigner needs to prepare several requirements when he or she opens a bank account. These required documents include
(1) No Objection Certificate (NOC) – The No Objection Certificate (NOC) will be issued by the employer or sponsor. The letter should state the employee’s salary, to indicate the amount that will be deposited in the bank regularly.
(2) Iqama or Residence Permit – It is mandatory that a foreigner must have a residence permit before he or she opens a bank account. This permit demonstrates his or her right to be in the country.
(3) Tenancy Agreement – A tenancy agreement is a necessary document because it establishes one?s residential address.
(4) Photocopy of Passport
(5) Passport Photographs and
(6) Completed Application forms – These are forms available at the bank.
Cash is preferred over checks. However, utility companies and other major service providers accept checks for regular payments. Direct debits can also be arranged with the bank to cover regular payments, but one must make sure that instructions are correctly carried out. The layout of checks in Saudi Arabia is similar to that of United Kingdom and America. Moreover, the information shown on personal checks include the name of the bank, the branch, name of the client, date, and other pertinent information. On the other hand, current accounts pay little or no interest on account balances and the account holder must have substantial balance to earn interest.
Savings account offer lower interest rates but allows easy withdrawal of funds anytime. Furthermore, savings account holders are given a passbook where they can track down the history of their transactions. Various types of savings accounts are available and offer different interest rates depending on the amount deposited. There are other banks that yield high interest rates but require substantial amount deposited to qualify for higher interest rates.
In Saudi Arabia, the application process is simple and brief. One would just need to visit the bank of choice along with the required documents, an application form completely filled out, and a choice of account services like for instance a choice between a checkbook versus an ATM or how statements will be received.