6 Best Banks in Qatar in 2023 (Personal, Business Accounts)

doha skyline

Qatar is a small country with nearly three million people, the vast majority of them foreigners. As such, it has only 9 local and 7 foreign banks and a rather modest market volume. 

However, the country’s financial sector is rapidly expanding, coupled with investments from around the world. 

It is actually the most dependent on non-domestic funding of all of the GCC countries. The sector’s net external debt increased to 71% of GDP at the end of 2021, which is high compared to the end of 2018’s 30%. 

Unfortunately, this makes Qatari banks vulnerable to external political and economic shocks and weakens the Qatari government’s ability to provide support to the banking sector.

Still, Qatar has some of the best banks in the world and will soon be venturing into fintech-led digital banking. Without further ado, here are the best banks in Qatar from my experience:

Best Bank in Qatar Overall – QNB

qnb bank branch

  • Founded in 1964 
  • Qatar’s first domestically-owned commercial bank
  • It’s the biggest bank in Qatar
  • The largest financial institution in the Middle East and Africa
  • Total assets under management QAR1,135 billion (USD312 billion)
  • 27,000 employees at 1,000 locations, with a network of 4,700+ ATMs 

Qatar’s biggest bank is also its best bank. With a relatively short history (as far as banks go), QNB is the country’s first locally-owned commercial bank. 

The bank was also one of the bigger sponsors of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. I watched most matches religiously, and although there were some minor hiccups, the consensus is that it all went smoothly. Many Qatari brands also got exposure to the rest of the world.

Although there were some real concerns and controversies surrounding the country itself (human rights, thousands of deaths of migrant workers…), it all seems to have faded away, and the country managed to sportwash its image on the global stage. 

The bankers are used to foreigners, and that makes it easy to open an account – in branches or online. This was the case with me when I was opening an account with QNB. I simply filled out a form on their website and waited to be contacted by the bank.

The current account has no monthly fees, no minimum balance required, and comes with a free debit card and checkbook. 

Apart from current accounts, QNB offers savings accounts, loans, insurance, asset management, and investing. 

Businesses and corporations can avail of corporate accounts and credit cards, global transactions, loans, Trade Portal, and much more. If you are looking for an all-purpose account and aren’t looking to open a couple of them, QNB is the best bet for you.  

Best Bank in Qatar for Expats – Commercial Bank

commercial bank building

  • Founded in 1975
  • It’s the country’s first privately owned bank
  • Total assets under management of QAR165.5 billion (USD47 billion)
  • Owner of Alternatif Bank in Turkey and has partnerships with the National Bank of Oman (NBO) and United Arab Bank (UAB)
  • 30 branches, 173 ATMs, and 8 checkbook printing machines
  • Operates exclusive ‘Diners Club’ franchise in Qatar and Turkey

The Commercial Bank of Qatar is Qatar’s first privately owned bank and is often cited as the best bank for foreigners in the country, and I have to agree. You can open an account online with minimal documentation even before you move to the country.

The bank has a special bank account for people who are new to Qatar. It’s expressly designed for expats who haven’t arrived in Qatar yet, as well as those who have been in Qatar for less than 3 months. 

People that are in Qatar for more than 3 months automatically qualify for a regular bank account at any bank.

The whole process for opening this special account is free, but you need to deposit a minimum balance of at least QAR 4,000 (around $1,100). You can also close the account at any time, and it’s free. 

It also comes with many useful perks:

  • Discounted rides with Careem
  • Free reward points
  • 10% discount on your driving lessons
  • Premium mobile phone package
  • Buy Now, Pay Later at Ikea
  • Transfer money to your new account right away

Commercial Bank also owns one of the more popular expat websites about Qatar called Life in Qatar, where you can find out what it looks like on the ground from first-person experiences. 

RELATED: Digital Banking in Qatar

Best Bank in Qatar for Business – Doha Bank 

doha bank

  • Founded in 1979
  • Banking services for individuals, commercial, corporate and institutional clients
  • Total assets under management of QAR101 billion (USD27 billion)
  • Overseas branches in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), and India
  • 24 branches and around 100 ATMs

Opening a business bank account isn’t as easy as opening a personal account. That’s true for most countries, and Qatar is no exception. That said, I found the Doha Bank to be the best business bank in Qatar. 

It’s been around since 1979 and is one of the biggest banks in Qatar. However, as with any bank in Qatar, opening a business account can last up to four weeks. You will also need the following documentation:

  • Certificate of registration
  • Company trade license
  • Share certificates
  • Company memorandum 
  • Articles of association
  • Board resolution authorizing you to open the account
  • Passport and residence visa copies for shareholders and authorized signatories

As for Doha Bank, it launched a dedicated SME unit in 2008 called Tatweer that specializes in assisting with financing and credit lines. It’s a well-equipped team that has much-needed expertise in relationship management, as well as solution-providing and credit skills.

In my experience with the team, they are not merely selling you financial products but are trying to find solutions to your real-world problems both with the business and the financial side of it. 

If you have an SME, you’ll be in good hands with this bank.  

Best Bank in Qatar for Savings – Commercial Bank

qatar commercial bank

The Commercial Bank is again on my list of the best banks in Qatar. This time, they’re here for their excellent savings accounts. I have a habit of depositing into a savings account any dividend payments that I get. 

For that, the CBQ gives me back a 3.25% p.a. Interest rate, one of the highest in Qatar. You can also choose for how long you’ll be keeping the money in the savings account. The terms are 3, 6, 12, 24, and 36 months. 

However, you can only hold the savings in one currency – the Qatari Riyals.   

Best International Bank in Qatar – HSBC

hsbc atm qatar

  • HSBC has been present in the Middle East since 1889, when the bank was called The Imperial Bank of Persia
  • Present in Qatar since 1954
  • The largest foreign bank in Qatar
  • Full range of cross-border financial and banking products and services

I think HSBC is the best of all the international banks in Qatar. And, if you, for some reason, don’t want to open an account in one of the local banks, this is the way to go. 

You choose one of the various current and savings accounts: 

  • HSBC Premier Account
    • Personalized banking, plus a dedicated Relationship Manager
  • HSBC Advance Account
    • A current account in Qatari Riyals and Saving accounts in major currencies
  • HSBC Current Account
    • Basic Current Account for everyday expenses
  • HSBC Savings Account
    • Save when you can and have free access to savings
  • HSBC Call Deposit Account
    • Available in major foreign currencies

Other than that, you can get loans, credit cards, insurance, investing platform, or a business account. 

RELATED: 7 Best Banks in the UAE (Personal and Business)

Best Bank in Qatar for Investing – HSBC

hsbc doha

We are staying with HSBC as I find its investment platform the best in Qatar as well. HSBC offers the following:

  • Bonds
  • Wealth Management
  • Mutual Funds
  • World Selection Portfolios

You have a choice of over 100 international bonds, including the ones from the Eurozone, Asia, and the US. They’re the best if you want to receive a stable income throughout the tenor of the bond.

With Wealth Management, HSBC helps you identify your financial goals and complete your retirement plans, fund your kids’ education and marriage plans, and grow your overall wealth.  

Mutual Funds let you invest in a broad range of international investment funds and set up your own investment portfolio.

And lastly, the World Selection Portfolios have 5 different funds with different levels of risk and return, all according to your comfort level.

Best Bank in Qatar for Credit Cards – Dukhan Bank

  • Formed after the International Bank of Qatar and Barwa Bank merged
  • Total assets under management are QAR 75.4 billion ($20.7 billion)
  • Offers Shari’ah-compliant financial services
  • Over 130,000 customers

Although most Qatari banks offer credit cards with competitive rates, I like Dukhan Bank’s credit card selection the most. Although I haven’t used the bank personally, I know people that have. 

It offers the following credit cards, along with debit cards, prepaid cards, and DPay (contactless payment platform):

  • MasterCard Platinum Cards
  • World Mastercard Credit Card
  • Visa Platinum
  • Visa Signature
  • Visa Infinite Retail

To apply for a Dukhan Bank credit card, simply transfer your salary to Dukhan Bank or make a cash deposit. Additionally, every time you spend money on your credit card, you earn Loyalty Points that are automatically converted to a broad range of redemption options.

Best Private Bank in Qatar – QNB

qnb bank

We are back to QNB as the bank is also the first and still the bestprivate bank in Qatar. When you’re a client of their Private Bank division, you get banking services, real estate services and advisory, asset and wealth management, as well as World Elite benefits (if you get invited).

Having a private bank account has many benefits. A dedicated manager, special financing services, competitive deposit rates, exclusive rewards from luxury partners, and services tailored to fit your lifestyle. 

READ ALSO: 10 Biggest Mobile Payment Apps Dominating in the US in 2023

Best Bank Account in Qatar for Women – Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB)

  • First and largest Islamic bank in Qatar
  • Founded in 1982
  • Total assets under management QAR 184 billion ($50 billion)
  • 49% share of all Islamic banks in Qatar and 10% of the total domestic banking sector

Some Qatari banks offer dedicated accounts, products, and branches for women. QIB is one of them. 

QIB Ladies Banking empowers women with the tools to accomplish their financial goals, professional aspirations, and unique lifestyle.

Although all banking operations can now be done online or through the app, there are 12 dedicated ladies centers with dedicated female Relationship Managers.

Other Notable Banks in Qatar

doha

You have already seen my favorite banks in Qatar. However, there are many other banks here that deserve to be mentioned. 

Although I haven’t used them personally, I know friends, family, and business partners that have used them, and while talking with them, I now have a grasp of their offerings.

Qatar International Islamic Bank 

QIIB is a privately owned Islamic bank created in 1991 and based in Qatar that provides personal and business Islamic banking products and services.

The bank is, of course,  regulated by the Qatar Central Bank. It’s also highly rated by international rating agencies for its financial power and outlook.

In Q1 2022, the bank had a net income of QAR 295 million, which is in line with previous years or slightly better. QIIB works in Corporate banking, Personal banking accounts, and Treasuries and investments.

Qatar Development Bank

The Qatar Development Bank was founded in 1997 and works with sectors of the Qatari economy to offer banking, financial services, and loans for the development of tourism, agricultural, educational, industrial, health care, animal resources, as well as, fisheries sectors.

Ahlibank

Ahlibank was founded in 1983 as a local bank that serves individual customers, small businesses, and corporate clients.

After Citigroup ceased its operations in Qatar in 1987, Ahlibank swooped in and purchased all of its assets.

Masraf Al Rayan

Masraf Al Rayan was founded in 2016 and is the second-youngest bank in Qatar.

Still, it’s one of the leading banks already, with more than 17 branches and around 100 ATMs. Apart from that, the bank has six branches in the UK. 

The bank also had total assets under management of QAR 174 billion ($47.7 billion). 

READ NEXT: 6 Best Banks in Singapore for Every Account Type

What Documents do Expats Need to Open an Account?

For immigrants in Qatar, you will need some basic documents to open personal savings or current account:

  • Original passport 
  • Copy of your passport
  • A copy of your visa page (to prove you’re a legal resident)
  • Official employment letter from your Qatari employer (or sponsor) with your salary
  • Two passport-sized photographs
  • A filled-out and signed bank account application form
  • Qatar ID

Can I open a bank account in Qatar without Qatar ID?

If you don’t have Qatar ID (QID) at the time of opening the account, you’ll have to bring it in up to 90 days. If you don’t do that, your new bank account will be blocked, as that is the law. 

Which Banks Are Local Banks in Qatar?

There are nine local Qatari banks. Out of them, five are commercial institutions: 

  • Ahlibank
  • Commercial Bank of Qatar
  • Doha Bank 
  • Qatar National Bank 
  • Qatar Development Bank 

The other four local banks are shariah-compliant banking establishments:

  • Dukhan Bank
  • Masraf Al Rayan
  • Qatar International Islamic Bank
  • Qatar Islamic Bank

What Are International Banks in Qatar?

There are seven foreign banks that are regulated by Qatar Central Bank:

  • Arab Bank 
  • Bank Saderat Iran 
  • BNP Paribas
  • HSBC 
  • Mashreq Bank 
  • Standard Chartered 
  • United Bank

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