Standard bank facilities: Include debit/credit cards, standing orders, money transfers, personal loans, vehicle loans and mortgages on current and savings accounts (including joint accounts). Accounts offering longer terms, higher interest and the option to save in US dollars, pounds sterling and Euros are also available. Check with individual banks for their fees and account charges.

24/7 telephone and Internet banking services offer additional options and are easy to arrange. With mobile banking services a customer relations officer will visit you at home or work to assist with banking requirements. Most banks also offer premium banking services.

Opening an Account: Documents required:      

– A valid residence card or work visa. A worker’s dependants (eg spouse and family) can open a savings account with his permission as he is, in effect, their sponsor.

– Valid passport.

– For a current account, a letter from your employer or sponsor confirming your monthly salary in Qatari Riyals. This letter must carry the company’s official stamp. You will most likely have to transfer your salary to the new account – check full requirements with the individual bank.

– Some banks may ask to see your tenancy agreement to establish your residential address.

Take copies of these documents, and take identity photographs. Ask for photocopies of any documents signed.

Cheques: A chequebook can be issued with a current account. They are not widely accepted for instant payment – these are made with cash or cards. Post‑dated cheques are commonly used for house rental payments. The onus of responsibility is on the banks not to encash cheques before the designated date. Issuing a cheque without the necessary funds in your account is a serious criminal offence and the bank or creditor may notify the police, leading to possible prosecution.

Punishment for causing a cheque to bounce due to insufficient funds can be severe: jail terms of between three months and three years, and/or fines of between QAR3,000 and QAR10,000. Cases being filed are on the rise in the country, mostly for cheques for large amounts, and the Capital Security Department is now recording all cases electronically to speed up the process.

Credit cards: Widely available with all the usual associated privileges. The credit limit will be determined by the cardholder’s salary or savings balance. Family members may also be eligible for a card. Check with the relevant bank at the time of applying for details of issuance and renewal fees, conversion charges, and payment options.

Customers should contact their bank when travelling overseas and wishing to use their credit or debit cards – since May 2014 all banks’ credit and debit card transactions made using the magnetic stripe inside and outside of Qatar will be declined. However, as certain countries (eg the US, India and the Philippines) still use the magnetic stripe for transactions, customers should activate their card before travelling.

Complaints: Unresolved consumer complaints can be made online to QCB’s Consumer Protection Department.

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