Currency and Exchange Rate
The currency of Qatar is the Riyal, printed in paper units of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500. The Riyal is divided into 100 Dirhams, and there are thin coins worth 25 and 50 Dirhams. The riyal is pegged to the U.S. dollar, at an exchange rate of QR 3.65 to US $1. Currencies can be exchanged at banks, large hotels, and exchange centers in shopping malls.
Typical daily transactions require a debit card, credit card or cash, as checks are not often used in Qatar. Dirhams are in short supply, so stores will often round off your purchases to the nearest riyal. It is a good idea to carry with you a supply of small bills since some smaller stores may not be able accept the larger QR100 or QR500 bills.
GU-Q employees may choose to have their salary deposited directly into a U.S. bank or have all or part of their salary deposited in Qatari riyals in one of the banks in Qatar.
Banks in Qatar
There are a number of national and foreign banks operating in Qatar and they offer standard financial services: checking, savings, loans (including car loans), credit cards, traveler’s checks, money transfers and ATM services. In general, bank hours run from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Some bank branches, particularly those in malls, have Friday and afternoon/evening hours.
Opening an Account
In general, banks will require a copy of your residence permit and a statement of your monthly compensation to open an account for you. However, some banks are able to start the process while your residence permit is still underway (other documentation may need to be provided in lieu, such as a letter confirming your employment). To obtain a letter confirming employment or your monthly compensation, please contact HR.
There are ATMs at bank branches, shopping malls, hotels, and some supermarkets. There is a Qatar National Bank (QNB) ATM in the Atrium of the GU-Q building. While few, if any, Qatari banks charge a fee for using their ATMs, you may incur a fee from your personal bank if it is located outside of the country. Fees can run as high as US$5, so for this reason alone it may be advantageous to open an account with a Qatari-based bank. Networks accepted at most ATMs are American Express, Cirrus, Plus, Visa Electron, MasterCard and Visa.