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Bahrain – Banking

Bahrain has a well-developed banking sector, with several local banks operating in the country. The largest banks in Bahrain include:

Each of these banks offers a range of products and services, including current and savings accounts, investment services, and loans.

Presence of UK and USA Banks in Bahrain

Several major UK and USA banks have a presence in Bahrain, including:

Accounts and Services Aimed at Expats

Some banks in Bahrain offer accounts and services specifically aimed at expats. For example, National Bank of Bahrain offers a special expat banking service that includes free remittance and account opening, dedicated customer service, and discounted rates on loans and credit cards. Ahli United Bank also offers an expat banking service that includes free international money transfers and a range of other benefits.

Typical Bank Opening Hours

Banking hours in Bahrain can vary depending on the bank and the location. Generally, banks are open from Sunday to Thursday, from 8 am to 2 pm. Some banks may have extended hours, and some branches may be open on Saturdays. It is always best to check with the bank directly for their specific opening hours.

Areas of Concern for Expats

Expats should be aware of the potential for fees associated with certain transactions in Bahrain’s banking system. Some banks may charge fees for foreign currency transactions or international money transfers. Expats should also be aware of the different regulations and laws in Bahrain’s banking system, including the country’s strict anti-money laundering regulations.

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Opening a Bank Account

Opening a bank account in Bahrain is a relatively straightforward process for expats. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Choose a bank: Research the different banks in Bahrain and choose one that offers services that suit your needs. Make sure to check whether the bank offers services in English or another language you speak fluently.
  2. Schedule an appointment: Contact the bank to schedule an appointment to open an account. Some banks may allow you to make an appointment online or over the phone.
  3. Prepare your documents: You will need to provide several documents to open an account, including your passport, proof of address, and residency permit. You may also need to provide additional documentation, such as bank statements or references from your previous bank.
  4. Attend the appointment: On the day of your appointment, go to the bank with your documents. The bank representative will guide you through the account opening process, which may include filling out forms and providing additional information.
  5. Receive your account details: Once your account is open, the bank will provide you with your account details, such as your account number and routing number. You can start using your account right away, either online or by visiting a branch.

It’s worth noting that some banks in Bahrain may require a minimum deposit to open an account, as well as ongoing maintenance fees. It’s important to check the fee schedule and make sure you understand the costs associated with your account before opening it.

In addition, expats should be aware of the different regulations and laws in Bahrain’s banking system. The country has strict anti-money laundering regulations and there may be restrictions on certain types of transactions. Expats should also be aware of the potential for fees associated with certain transactions in Bahrain’s banking system.

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