Foreign Exchange Guide to Saudi Arabia
In this guide we review :
- Saudi riyal info - general info about the Saudi riyal
- Travelling in Saudi Arabia - currency & money saving tips
- Buying Saudi riyal cash online - travel money for Saudi Arabia
- Sending money to Saudi Arabia - save on Saudi riyal bank transfers to Saudi Arabia
- Saudi riyal exchange rates - latest info & charts.
Saudi riyal (SAR) general currency information
Saudi Arabia currency and money saving tipsThe Saudi riyal (SAR) is Saudi Arabia’s official currency, with each Saudi riyal divided into 100 halala. Five halala are equal to 20 qurush. ATM's are eveywhere and usually reliable. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted credit cards, but some establishments also accept Discover or American Express cards. Travelers’ checks are also widely accepted, but can sometimes be difficult to change.
Saudi Arabia contains the holy Muslim cities of Mecca and Medina, to which all physically and financially able Muslims are required to make a pilgrimage at least once if possible and where non-Muslims are forbidden from entering. Saudi Arabia has some of the most restrictive travel policies in the world, and advance visas are required for all foreigners desiring to enter. The only significant exception is citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council nations. Also exempt from visa requirements are foreigners transiting through airports for less than eighteen hours, but many other entry requirements, such as the dress code and restrictions on unaccompanied females, still apply. Nationals of Israel and those with evidence of visiting Israel will be denied visas, although merely being Jewish in and of itself is not a disqualifying factor.
It should be noted however that traveling to the Najran and the Saudi Yemeni border should be done with slightly more caution than usual, although if you use street smarts you will be safe. Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country in which Sharia (Islamic) law is strictly enforced. You should respect local traditions, customs and laws. For example, the public practice of any form of religion other than Islam is illegal and homosexual acts, adultery, and the possession of alcohol/drugs/pornographic material are illegal, and the punishment results in up to death.
Saudi Arabia Trip Checklist
Travel money for Saudi Arabia
Save money and time by Ordering your Saudi riyal online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the SAR cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Saudi riyal otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Sending money to Saudi Arabia
When sending money to Saudi Arabia it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 3 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Saudi riyal amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted SAR amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Saudi Arabia.
By comparing the rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Saudi riyal deposited into the recipient bank account in Saudi Arabia and less margins and fees kept by the banks!