Qatar corporate banking options in 2024

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Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group helps multi-national Clients open multi-currency corporate bank accounts in Qatar for both local and overseas companies.

Without bank signatory travel, our Dubai-based team will project manage the multi-currency corporate bank account opening process, including preparing a quality business plan for our Client’s business.

We recommend our multi-national Clients read this web page to avoid bank surprises later!

  • Qatar banking problems and solutions

    No Qatar banking problem Solution
    1. Bank insists that the bank signatory travels to Qatar for a one-hour bank interview.

    Healy Consultants Group Client travel policy will apply (click link). Our staff will organise the bank meeting in our Qatar affiliates’ office and assist our Client during the bank interview(s).

    Alternatively, where possible, Healy Consultants Group banking team negotiates with the Qatari bank to have our Client visit the bank’s international branch in their country of residence instead.

    2. Global banks continue to tighten corporate bank account opening procedures, their internal compliance departments completing more thorough due diligence of Clients. Consequently, our Clients should expect Qatar bank account approval to take up to four weeks. If our Client requires a bank account at short notice, we recommend an immediate Qatar solution plus already-approved international corporate bank account).
    3. Like the majority of international banks, it is common for Qatari banks to close corporate bank accounts without giving an open, transparent reason to their customers. To close a customer bank account without giving the bank signatory an opportunity to explain ‘unusual transactions activity in the corporate bank account’ is an unfair, unreasonable action which places our multi-national Clients’ businesses under stress. We recommend our multi-national Clients open multiple multi-currency corporate bank accounts for their entity. It is unwise to open one corporate bank account and have your business be dependent on one bank.

  • The Qatari banking sector

    Healy Consultants Group summary view:

    • Healy Consultants Group believes Qatar is a stable, reputable country in which to keep funds because:
      • The banking and financial system is well regulated by the Qatar Central Bank. The bank is responsible for the stability of the local currency, the Qatari riyal. Since 2001 the riyal has been pegged to the US dollar, currently at a rate of 3.64 to the dollar.
      • The January 2021 lifting of the diplomatic and economic blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt against Qatar will lead to an economic rebound for the country. Qatari banks will benefit from i) wealthy Saudis moving substantial funds back to Qatar as regional bank embargoes are lifted ii) a return of some of the US$30 billion withdrawn from Qatar by foreign depositors and funds in 2017 at the height of the crisis and iii) improved business and consumer confidence in Qatar, which will support demand for banking products and services, including wealth management products and loans.
      • Qatar is the world’s wealthiest country, with the world’s highest per capita income. Banks are liquid, stable and well regulated. It is almost impossible that any Qatari bank would fail. After the country’s first bank merger in 2019, there may be more consolidation in the sector in 2021 and beyond, further strengthening bank balance sheets and liquidity.
      • After a March 2020 low, the Qatar Stock Exchange recovered strongly in late 2020. We predict that investors from Saudi Arabia and the UAE will pour back into the Qatar stock market in 2021.
      • Standard & Poor’s sovereign credit rating for Qatar is AA with stable outlook, Moody’s is Aa3, and Fitch’s rating is AA with stable outlook. Qatar is at no risk of sovereign ratings downgrades.
  • Key information on the Qatari banking sector

    • The Qatar Central Bank licences, regulates and supervises i) nine local non-Islamic banks ii) four Islamic banks and iii) five international banks.
    • For international banks in Qatar we recommend i) Standard Chartered or ii) HSBC. The top local banks are i) Qatar National Bank (QNB) ii) Doha Bank and iii) Commercial Bank of Qatar. As well as Qatari riyal accounts, local and international banks in Qatar offer multicurrency accounts in US$, sterling, Euros and other currencies.
    • For our international Clients, and to facilitate international transactions, Healy Consultants Group prefers to open multicurrency corporate bank accounts with subsidiaries or branches of foreign banks such as HSBC.
    • As well as standard savings, deposit and checking account services, Qatar banks offer mortgages, investment products and loans. Islamic banks in Qatar offer similar retail services to their non-Islamic counterparts.
    • Most Qatar current accounts have no administration or maintenance fees. Depending on the bank, minimum balance rules may apply.
    • Qatar is a small country, and the network of more than 200 bank branches and ATMs covers all corners. Every ATM in Qatar will accept international debit and credit cards.
    • Corporate banking in Qatar includes a full range of conventional products and services including i) investment products (insurance and unit trusts) ii) financing products and services (trade and share financing) iii) trade and credit facilities (including revolving credit facilities) iv) remittances v) bank guarantee facilities and vi) vendor financing.
    • On average, Qatar banks take four weeks to issue corporate bank account numbers and e-banking access.
    • The World Bank ranks Qatar poorly in terms of getting credit. However, Qatar banks will provide finance to local companies if the following conditions are met i) the company submits a detailed business plan ii) the company can provide security iii) the business owners have experience in the company’s line of activities iv) the company can provide the last three years’ audited financial statements v) the company prepares a ‘realistic’ feasibility study related to the finance required and vi) project strength and weaknesses analysis (SWOT).
    • Healy Consultants Group can assist Clients to secure trade finance products and services, including i) bank guarantees ii) letters of credit iii) finance against trust receipts and iv) documents against payment and acceptance. Our team will also help our Clients obtain corporate finance in the form of a loan, overdraft or preferential credit terms.
    • Nearly all bank branch staff in Qatar speak English, and correspondence and online banking etc in all banks is available in English and Arabic.
    • While Qatar is still largely a cash-based society, Covid-19 is accelerating the move towards contactless payments. It is already normal to pay for taxi rides and even small payments in grocery stores by contactless debit cards. Contactless payments of up to QR300 can be made since 2020, and this limit is likely to be raised rapidly. More online banking will mean more physical branches closing.
    • Local retail banks offer better currency exchange rates than money changers. If you open a foreign currency account along with a Qatari riyal account, transfers can easily be made between the two. In 2021, Qatar banks pay up to 1% interest on riyal currency fixed deposits, and 0.5% on US dollar and sterling rates.
    • Unfortunately, bank deposits in Qatar are not protected by a formal government-backed insurance scheme. However, in practice the Qatari government is highly unlikely to allow a bank to fail.
    • The World Economic Forum ranks Qatar 27nd globally in terms of the soundness of its banks, better than any other Middle East country.
    • Qatar is a signatory to the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), a global initiative to clamp down on tax evasion. As a result, Qatar-based banks share information on accounts and account holders with tax authorities where the company/individual is tax-resident.
    • Similarly, under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), Qatar banks report information on US account holders to the US Inland Revenue Service (IRS).
    • If a Qatari company is de-registered, its corporate or business bank account must be officially closed. The bank statement may be required to prepare the company’s financial statement, which is submitted to the General Tax Authority to issue a No-Objective Certificate.
  • Foreign exchange obligations in Qatar

    There are no foreign exchange controls in Qatar. Non-residents can freely repatriate funds from the country. Resident companies can freely remit dividends to non-resident shareholders, and non-resident shareholders can freely repatriate sales proceeds of their stake in a Qatari resident company.
  • Healy Consultants Group fees to help open a corporate bank account in Qatar

    Healy Consultants Group guarantees Qatar company bank account approval. Our fees for different banking services include:

    Qatar banking task Our Client travels US$
    Qatar bank account for a foreign company No 5,950
    Qatar bank account for a Qatari company No 4,950
    Qatar personal bank account No 4,950

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Qatar multi-currency corporate bank account opening is easy if you know how. Contact Healy Consultants Group if your Firm needs assistance navigating through the different banking solutions.

Contact us

For additional information on our formation support services in Qatar, please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi