Experience in Qatar ?

Hi, just got a 6 month contract to Doha and was wondering does anybody have some up to date experience, suggestions or anything regarding usage in Qatar?
So, there is QAR in :r: and QAR is fixed to the USD :slight_smile:

I could find only one topic from 2016, saying that :r: is a bad decision to use there.

Asked Support what to do in this case, since that 6 month contract can be extended. They told me, even if I will be a permanent resident in Qatar (I heard I will get it in the first month), just should keep my European phone number and everything will just work out fine. But won’t :r:'s fraud management system recognize that I am pretty much in the same country for a very very long time, that is not Europe and block my account? Also, topping up with USD from Qatar does not seem a long term viable option, if they need proof of finances and show them my Qatari salary slip :thinking:. Just trying to come up with worst case scenarios, what could go wrong.

So, does it make sense to keep and use :r: in Qatar?

There is QAR in revolut.

Check the accounts list

Oh, yeah. My bad, really there is QAR.

Do you have any experience from Doha?

If you’re spending from a QAR balance, then there will be no exchange rate. You can buy QAR at a rate of your choice, which will be very clear in the Revolut app before you buy.

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I was there for 10 hours in September, and used my Revolut card to pay for food, withdraw from a couple of ATM also. It was fine. Didn’t really check the exchange rate. But it works. And as Iskender says, there is QAR in the app

Of course it makes sense to use revolut in Qatar.
There is absolutely nothing different from being where you are currently. You most likely will never need to send justifications to your incomes (why would you ?)
It doesn’t matter how long you stay, you are still European citizen travelling abroad. Not a valid reason to block your account.

Thanks, but I will live there! 6 months, but maybe more, years even as PR, not really accounts as traveling.

And if I transfer regularly bigger amounts of money to :r: probably (part of my salary) their Fraud Management will signal! So, far what I experienced only English banks were blocking my account, because of suspicious reason. No German or Hungarian banks ever did this to me, in my experience UK banks are overly sensitive to compliance and fraud management. My UK bank regularly blocks me for nothing…

Maybe Revolut will flag your account and ask for verification of funds. Which is normal and is a simple procedure (just send in the correct documents). This might happen quickly since QAR is a middle eastern country that isn’t on the best terms with its neighbours and often accused of support terrorism.

Hi there,
I conduct business in Qatar, spend and remit money regularly back to my revolut account and I can confirm there are no problems.
If in Doha, you will have to open a local bank account to receive your Qatari Riyals salary/fees with and for ease choose CBQ (Commercial Bank of Qatar). More on that later.

Here are a few tips learned along the way:

  • the week-end in the GCC is Thursday-Friday but revolut still applies the FX surcharge of 0.5% on Saturday-Sunday. So refrain from using your revolut card on Sunday even if it’s a working day there.

Best thing is to activate your QAR account in revolut and fund it. You’ll spend there transparently irrespective of the day of the week. Just don’t fund it on a Saturday or Sunday :wink:

  • the QAR is pegged to the USD at a rate of 3.64 QAR for 1 USD. All banks here apply a very competitive FX of 3.65 QAR for 1 USD. All other currencies are terrible. So always send back money in QAR or USD to revolut.
    Don’t even think about EUR or GBP irrespective of the local bank you’ll choose here.

  • Revolut offers the best USD/QAR bid offer spread at 3.64-3.643. Meaning that with 1 USD you’ll be entitled to 3.64 QAR and you’ll only need 3.643 QAR to get a USD, not 3.65.

Now on to remittance:

  • First thing is to make revolut aware of your new gig and send them your pay slip of fees so they don’t block your account when you’ll be sending this hard earned money back home.

  • Why CBQ? NO BANK IN QATAR EXCEPT CBQ allows you to send QAR abroad with Lloyd’s as intermediary bank. With all other Banks you must first convert your QAR in another currency. QNB QAR intermediary bank is RBS and they won’t redirect to Lloyds.
    Doha Bank being the worst as it prevents you from paying a company from your account! Since your QAR or USD account are poooled, the beneficiary will be Revolut, which Doha bank will prevent.

So in a nutshell:
If you have an account at CBQ, you can do QAR remittance at the counter only. Not through the app or online. Go ask for a “Telex Transfer” and in thé reference section write your reference number and the mention “Please send in QAR”. Also select “Our” fee (not Beneficiary or Shared) and you’ll only pay 6 QAR for this transfer versus the 15 normal. And no intermediary bank fee!!
Staff at CBQ in Villaggio mall know this.
You’ll see the exact amount you sent appearing in Revlolut and can convert at very little fee back to which ever currency you want.

If not at CBQ, your best option is to remit your QAR money back to your revolut USD account. And you can do this online with all the banks apps. Just don’t forget your revolut reference number! You’ll be charged by your local bank in Qatar:

  • a 3.65 QAR for 1 USD exchange rate at best.
  • 10 or 15 QAR sending fee
  • a 18 USD to 21 USD intermediary bank fee before it reaches your revolut account.

But once your USD in revolut, again you can convert in any currency of your choice.

Note: maybe I am priviledged, but Revolut sent me an email giving me a unique account number for all my currencies. No need for reference anymore!

Hope it helps.


Thanks @pcforce that was the answer I was looking for.
Really appreciate it, you are awesome :hugs:

So, basically best way is to transfer QAR to :r: pool account and notify them about my payslip.
And maybe after a while I will be privileged as you :money_mouth_face:

PS1: actually I will work at CBQ so I intended to open an account there by default :slight_smile:
PS2: will be there from January, maybe could meet up :clinking_glasses:

Hi there @pcforce @stumpy

FYI, my last 3 transfers perfectly worked in QAR from Masraf-Al Rayann to Revolut. Now it’s been a week and I have not received it yet, while it used to arrive in 24 hours… Sending 20K QAR -> 19955 QAR credited on Revolut. 45 fees somewhere between Doha and London. Which is fair.
Indeed, I confirm, no way to send QAR from the mobile app or online, despite all options are there. They call you and ask you to come to any branch to proceed.

I have also tried Barwa Bank. No way from the app unless you change the currency to USD. In this case, it works, but sending 1000 QAR -> 231 USD credited… if we consider the exchange rate 3.65 visible on their website, then I should have received 273 USD. So yeah, around 40 USD lost, it’s huge. I am wondering if it still worth it actually.

I am a metal user, all perfectly works here. Even the 1% cashback. But it’s becoming harder and harder to send QAR. On the chat, one Revolut agent even told me that Qatar starts to block some transfers in QAR…

Do you know if in Feb 2019, CBQ is still the best option? I might open an account there then.


EDIT: My last week transfer from Masraf was credited back to my account today. Explanation: QNB (Qatar National Bank, seems to be the correspondant bank this time) sent a message to Masraf: “Compliance issue with current IBAN”. What does “Compliance” means here? no idea.

Note: this transfer has been done using new Revolut IBAN, exactly like the month before with no issue at all. Will try again with the old one and keep you updated.

I’m with HSBC in Qatar and have for the last year been able to transfer QAR from my Qatar account to the Revolut account with no problems.

Just this week though I had a payment bounce due to ‘QNB Internal Guidelines’. QNB - Qatar National Bank - is the intermediary bank for HSBC.

It seems all QAR transfers are now being blocked.

Has anyone has faced this issue, or found a way around? For now, I’m having to convert to USD in Qatar, send to my HSBC expat account, and then from there to the Revolut account.

QAR is pegged to the USD anway. HSBC premier usually give close to, or at the, actual peg rate when converted to USD, so does it really matter ?

It’s pegged at 3.64 yes, but the rate you’re actually given by the banks is 3.6502, which is about 0.28%. It’s not much, but still US$28 a month on a $10k transfer.

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If you are transferring $10K/month salary, stop complaining about $28 charges. :rofl:

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@Sal, it’s a ridiculous argument to suggest that someone should pay an unwarranted $28 charge just because they can afford to do so. How far would you take this principle? For example, would you similarly say that someone should ignore theft of $28 because they can afford to lose it? An unwarranted charge of $28 is wrong irrespective of whether or not the owner can afford to lose it.


Well, it depends, if he transfers large sums they will.

It’s not technically a charge or theft. HSBC are applying a mark up of 0.28% to the inter bank exchange rate, (QAR to USD), just like ‘everyone’ else !

Where this is applied as a markup, this is called a transaction cost and 28 basis points is a high transaction cost.

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I’m pretty sure the high street banks have much much higher markups. Even the likes of specialists Torfx etc apply higher mark ups. 0.28% sounds reasonable.

Anyway nice to be in a position to earn $10k month tax free and pay $28. :wink: