Moving to Oman?
Your guide to expatriate banking services in Oman
The Sultanate of Oman is situated in the Middle East, on the eastern borders of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. The Omani economy is heavily dependent on oil revenues, and has enjoyed continued economic growth despite the recent global financial crisis.
The official language is Arabic, although English is widely spoken, along with a variety of Indian dialects. The unit of currency is the Omani Rial (OMR), divided into 1,000 baisa, with the Omani Rial being closely linked to the exchange rate movements of the US dollar. As of April 2010, the exchange rate was approximately 1 OMR to £1.60 GBP (pound sterling).
Banks in Oman
- Central Bank of Oman
Commercial banks in Oman
- Bank Dhofar al−Omani al−Fransi SAOG
- Bank Muscat SAOG
- National Bank of Oman SAOG (NBO)
- Oman Arab Bank SAOC
- Oman International Bank SAOG
- Bank of Baroda
- Banque Banorabe
- Barclays Bank
- National Bank of Abu Dhabi
- Standard Chartered Bank
Bank opening times in Oman
The usual bank opening times in Oman are 8am to 12pm and from 2.30pm to 6pm Saturday to Wednesday, and 8am to 11.30am on Thursdays. During Ramadan, it is usual for banks to open one hour later, at 9am.
Banking services in Oman
Banking services in Oman are well regulated and open to competition. Many of the products and services offered by the Omani national banks reflect the range of products and services offered in the UK retail banking sector, such as savings and deposit accounts, loans, credit cards and investments.
Online banking in Oman is typically offered in either English or Arabic, and is widely available, as is telephone banking. Bank statements and correspondence can be provided in either Arabic or English, with many of the bank branches in towns and cities offering multi-lingual counter services.
The main types of bank account in Oman
The core banking accounts offered to banking customers are;
- Current accounts – typically multi-currency, with account tracking, debit card and cheque facilities, along with easy access to funds, and with no limits on banking transactions (except ATM withdrawals)
- Savings accounts – designed to help customers save on a regular basis. Some savings accounts may limit access to funds, but there some banks (e.g, National Bank of Oman) offer unlimited access to funds and also provide debit cards with the accounts, although interest rates may be low
- Deposit accounts – many banks offer a range of fixed-deposit and long-term deposit accounts. Typically, money is locked into an account for a fixed period of time at a fixed rate of interest, with access allowed only upon maturity of the account. Deposit accounts may be available in a range of foreign currencies
Opening a bank account when you arrive in Oman
Opening an account in Oman is relatively straightforward, providing that you meet the acceptance criteria. You will also need to provide proof of identity (e.g. your passport), company registration documents (for business applicants), an account opening form, a KYC (know your customer) form and a signature specimen card.
Opening a bank account before you arrive in Oman
An international account, which can be opened before you move to Oman, gives you access to a wide range of international banking services. These include secure online banking and offshore banking options, in addition to facilities such as international payments and money transfers and accounts in a range of foreign currencies (including sterling, euros and dollars).
An international account can help you make a smooth transition from a domestic to an international bank account.
Banking facilities in Oman
Omani banks typically offer customers ATM and debit cards with both savings and current accounts, which can be used at any branch of the issuing bank. In many cases, these cards can also be used at other Omani banks and across the network of ATMs, although charges may apply. Daily cash withdrawals generally have a daily limit applied (approximately 500 OMR / £825 GBP) and will be limited by the funds in your account.
Currency exchanges and banking facilities are available at major airports and, as well as exchange services in hotels, there are bureau de change in most towns and cities. Do shop around for the best exchange rates.
Using credit, debit and charge cards in Oman
Visa and MasterCard are widely issued and accepted, with American Express and Diners Club accepted to a lesser extent. If you withdraw cash from ATMs using a credit card, expect to pay a fee.
Also available are ‘web shopper’ cards (National Bank of Oman), designed for buying goods and services securely on the internet. These cards cannot be used in ATM machines, and do not have a PIN.
Using cheques in Oman
You should ask whether a cheque book can be supplied with the current account you are opening. Cheques are not as widely accepted as other forms of payment in Oman, where the preference is for electronic or cash payments. Ensure that the information written on cheques is correct, as banks are not required to refund you for payments made in error if you fill out a cheque with incorrect information.
Managing your account
In Oman, going overdrawn on your current account without prior authorisation is taken very seriously. Unauthorised overdrafts attract substantial penalty charges and fees. Issuing a cheque without the necessary funds in your account is considered a serious criminal offence, and the police will be notified at the discretion of the bank (or creditor) concerned. Prosecution is common and sentences passed on individuals can be severe.
Money transfers to and from Oman
Most of the major banks in Oman provide money-transfer services (fees may apply), and there are a number of specialist money transfer businesses too.
As of April 2010, there are no restrictions to the amount of money you can import into or export from Oman. Do check with the Oman Customs before you travel to confirm that no changes have been applied.
Banking in Oman– other information
If you require help or information about banking in Oman, contact the Oman Central Bank: www.cbo−oman.org
More information on banking with Barclays Wealth International
For further information about the benefits of opening an International Account before you move to Oman, you can speak to a specialist adviser at Barclays Wealth International by calling +44 (0) 141 352 3902.