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Qatar - Money, Savings, Transfers

Qatar - Money, Savings, Transfers

Old Feb 1st 2021, 9:48 am
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Default Qatar - Money, Savings, Transfers

Hi all! New to this forum and great to meet you all.

I am moving to Qatar soon from the UK for work (yuppie!) with my hubby. VERY confused as to how to exchange/transfer savings money into the UK. How are you guys - those who are in Qatar - doing it? Any accounts I should open up prior to moving? And do you all have SIPPs that you have opened up for pension savings? Or other investment accounts? Generally, would love to hear your experience/methods of saving and sending money out of Doha!

Many thanks all!
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Old Feb 1st 2021, 12:57 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Money, Savings, Transfers

Welcome!
Open a UK Personal Pension before you leave (if you don't already have one) and you can pay in £2,880 this tax year and for each of the next five tax years and get £720 basic tax relief added each year for free. As an expat, you can't pay more than that amount into a UK Personal Pension, nor can you pay into an ISA. Consider a current account with Commercial Bank of Qatar for your salary deposit, transfers to the UK were very competitive, fast and reliable. You can let HMRC know you're leaving the UK by filling in Form R85 online, and also check out Form NI38 on how to keep paying NICs to keep building your State Pension entitlement (try for Class 2's if you qualify, otherwise Class 3's). Saving in the UK is a problem, most banks and investment platforms won't do business with expats, if they find out...
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Old Feb 1st 2021, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Money, Savings, Transfers

With the possible exception of HSBC Qatar*, I wouldn't use any of the Qatari banks for money transfers to UK. Exchange rates for QAR>GBP are very poor through local banks, for example at the time of posting, Commercial Bank Qatar are offering 5.05 whilst the rate on xe.com is 4.97. On a QAR 50000 transfer you'd be losing around £160!!

I would normally suggest opening an account with Revolut in UK as they allow QAR incoming transfers and offer mid-market rates to GBP but in the last year or so, most (if not all ) Qatari banks aren't allowing transfers to Revolut accounts in QAR - they're simply not recognizing the Revolut BIC. This is based on feedback on the Revolut forums. I guess Qatari banks have cottoned onto the fact that transfers to Revolut in QAR are massively affecting their own business.

I suggest opening an account with Fineco bank or Currency Fair both of which give you USD accounts. Since the QAR is fixed to the USD (3.64), almost all of the Qatari banks will give you a rate very close to this when converting from QAR to USD. You then send USD over to Fineco Bank or Currency Fair and you will get almost the mid-market rate when converting from USD to GBP. I will be using my Fineco account to transfer savings from Qatar when I start my new job in Doha very shortly.

*If you hold an Advance account with HSBC Qatar and/or with HSBC UK then HSBC offers very competitive exchanges rate through their Global Transfer online portal. You will require HSBC accounts in both UK and Qatar but transfers made online are instant with no or very litle fees.
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Old Feb 2nd 2021, 2:34 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Money, Savings, Transfers

Originally Posted by Johnnyboy11 View Post
Welcome!
Open a UK Personal Pension before you leave (if you don't already have one) and you can pay in £2,880 this tax year and for each of the next five tax years and get £720 basic tax relief added each year for free. As an expat, you can't pay more than that amount into a UK Personal Pension, nor can you pay into an ISA. Consider a current account with Commercial Bank of Qatar for your salary deposit, transfers to the UK were very competitive, fast and reliable. You can let HMRC know you're leaving the UK by filling in Form R85 online, and also check out Form NI38 on how to keep paying NICs to keep building your State Pension entitlement (try for Class 2's if you qualify, otherwise Class 3's). Saving in the UK is a problem, most banks and investment platforms won't do business with expats, if they find out...
Hi Johnny! Thank you for your amazing and detailed response! I will definitely be keeping up with NIs and now looking into SIPPs too. Didn't realise that the government still tops up your SIPP even if you move abroad! That's awesome information, thank you! Do you know which Personal Pensions / SIPPs currently allow non-UK residents? I've looked into Vanguard but it seems that people are getting their accounts closed once they move abroad...
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Old Feb 2nd 2021, 2:36 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Money, Savings, Transfers

Originally Posted by psychopomp1 View Post
With the possible exception of HSBC Qatar*, I wouldn't use any of the Qatari banks for money transfers to UK. Exchange rates for QAR>GBP are very poor through local banks, for example at the time of posting, Commercial Bank Qatar are offering 5.05 whilst the rate on xe.com is 4.97. On a QAR 50000 transfer you'd be losing around £160!!

I would normally suggest opening an account with Revolut in UK as they allow QAR incoming transfers and offer mid-market rates to GBP but in the last year or so, most (if not all ) Qatari banks aren't allowing transfers to Revolut accounts in QAR - they're simply not recognizing the Revolut BIC. This is based on feedback on the Revolut forums. I guess Qatari banks have cottoned onto the fact that transfers to Revolut in QAR are massively affecting their own business.

I suggest opening an account with Fineco bank or Currency Fair both of which give you USD accounts. Since the QAR is fixed to the USD (3.64), almost all of the Qatari banks will give you a rate very close to this when converting from QAR to USD. You then send USD over to Fineco Bank or Currency Fair and you will get almost the mid-market rate when converting from USD to GBP. I will be using my Fineco account to transfer savings from Qatar when I start my new job in Doha very shortly.

*If you hold an Advance account with HSBC Qatar and/or with HSBC UK then HSBC offers very competitive exchanges rate through their Global Transfer online portal. You will require HSBC accounts in both UK and Qatar but transfers made online are instant with no or very litle fees.
Ah, in fact I have both an HSBC (UK) account and a Revolut one. Revolut has been amazing these few years, its a bloody shame you can't do QAR transfers anymore... That was my plan initially! I'll check out the other two platforms you suggested. Much appreciated!
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Old Feb 2nd 2021, 5:35 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Money, Savings, Transfers

UK pension plans are designed for people in the UK paying UK tax. there are hbetter ways of saving if you have a tax-free income. if you pay no tax, you cannot get tax relief.

Watch out for sharks who swim in the waters of thjis environment. Getting good advice is not easy. They all want to sell you something.
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Old Feb 3rd 2021, 5:14 am
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Default Re: Qatar - Money, Savings, Transfers

Hi AcrossBridges,

Form R85 is to apply to HMRC to receive interest without tax deducted.

Form P85 is what you need to submit to inform HMRC you are leaving the UK but only if you are not already filing self assessment tax returns.

If you are filing self assessment tax returns you do not submit form P85 as the notification takes place via your tax return instead.

Also, if you are not UK resident or are claiming a split-year you can no longer use HMRC's system as it is designed for UK residents only and does not have the necessary schedules that must be submitted when no longer UK resident.
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Old Feb 4th 2021, 1:12 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Money, Savings, Transfers

For largish transfers I use my Qatari bank to send US$ out to my account in Asia. There I get very good FX rates and send Euro/GBP and AUD to the necessary account. It's double transfer fees, but a much thinner bid/ask spread

Not being an HSBC customer Im not sure what QARUSD rate they offer, but the local banks offer close to the central bank rate (3.651 ish)
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Old Feb 6th 2021, 1:01 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Money, Savings, Transfers

What, this Revolut, a UK startup bank that's two years old and registered in Lithuania? Not for me, thanks.
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Old Feb 6th 2021, 1:42 pm
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Default Re: Qatar - Money, Savings, Transfers

I used HSBC in Hong Kong. Started in 1865 after the new venture of selling opium looked like it had prospects
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