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What to do with SAR 130k physical cash in the UK

What to do with SAR 130k physical cash in the UK

Old Dec 21st 2015, 3:26 pm
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Default What to do with SAR 130k physical cash in the UK

What's the best way to convert 130k SAR (i.e. Saudi Riyals) cash into a usable currency (GBP or USD) in the UK?

As background, I recently wanted to transfer 130k SAR from my Saudi bank account (where I work) to the UK. The transfer fees seemed high so in a moment of madness I decided to carry it with me on a flight back to the UK. This was obviously with hindsight not clever - I could have been robbed and there were major hassles declaring it at Saudi and UK customs - and no UK bank seems to offer a SAR denominated bank account so right now I have a brick of unusable paper.

Obviously I could take it back into Saudi, pay it into my Saudi bank account and transfer it back to my UK account but this will be a major faff and I want to avoid if possible. So does anyone have any ideas how best to convert this into GBP or USD?

Maybe I could find someone travelling to Saudi who needs SAR to swap for pounds (not sure how to do that safely...)? Or is there a good broker who can convert to GBP cheaply in the UK? Advice much appreciated!

PS And does anyone know of a UK bank offering SAR denominated accounts?

Last edited by FriendlyExpat; Dec 21st 2015 at 3:32 pm.
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Old Dec 22nd 2015, 8:07 am
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Default Re: What to do with SAR 130k physical cash in the UK

There are Saudi banks in the UK, London certainly. Samba Bank for example and you can google for others.

You will have to jump through the anti-money laundering hoops with the cash though and prove it's yours and where it came from.

Far better to have done an inter-bank transfer though and you can get better rates by using a currency transfer service (PM me if you want info) but they won't accept cash in that amount.
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Old Dec 22nd 2015, 8:44 am
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Default Re: What to do with SAR 130k physical cash in the UK

Originally Posted by Meow View Post
There are Saudi banks in the UK, London certainly. Samba Bank for example and you can google for others. You will have to jump through the anti-money laundering hoops with the cash though and prove it's yours and where it came from. Far better to have done an inter-bank transfer though and you can get better rates by using a currency transfer service (PM me if you want info) but they won't accept cash in that amount.
what if he downloaded a copy of his SAR bank statement which shows him making the cash withdrawal - I am sure, in that case any bank in the UK will accept the cash deposit.
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Old Dec 22nd 2015, 4:27 pm
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Default Re: What to do with SAR 130k physical cash in the UK

I duly declared the cash at Saudi and UK customs and can show the relevant bank statements so I don't think there'll be any issues from a money laundering perspective.

Meow - I'll PM you separately - thanks!

Last edited by FriendlyExpat; Dec 22nd 2015 at 4:41 pm.
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Old Dec 23rd 2015, 11:29 am
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Default Re: What to do with SAR 130k physical cash in the UK

Originally Posted by mission View Post
what if he downloaded a copy of his SAR bank statement which shows him making the cash withdrawal - I am sure, in that case any bank in the UK will accept the cash deposit.
A bank yes but not a currency exchange house which is what I mentioned.
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Old Dec 24th 2015, 12:53 pm
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Default Re: What to do with SAR 130k physical cash in the UK

Barclays do a SAR account. I've just opened one in advance of moving to Saudi
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Old Dec 24th 2015, 1:22 pm
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Default Re: What to do with SAR 130k physical cash in the UK

Originally Posted by Meow View Post
There are Saudi banks in the UK, London certainly. Samba Bank for example and you can google for others.

You will have to jump through the anti-money laundering hoops with the cash though and prove it's yours and where it came from. .....
He will certainly have to jump through some hoops, and any bank is likely to be cautious about accepting a large amount of cash, such that it is highly likely that it will be reported to the national police agency, though I wouldn't worry much about that for two reasons (i) (presumably) the OP is honest and came by the money lawfully, and (ii) the customs declarations end up in the same database, so much of the information is already reported to law enforcement.

That said, I suspect that taking it back to Saudi might be cheapest, and quite possibly the only option. Even that is not without risk as there is a risk that the money could be summarily confiscated and held pending a court hearing. In fact I am somewhat surprised that the money wasn't seized when the OP arrived into the country.
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Old Dec 24th 2015, 1:29 pm
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Default Re: What to do with SAR 130k physical cash in the UK

If u can prove the money is legal ( with a Saudi bank withdrawal slip and wage slips) a bank will take it no problem.
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Old Dec 24th 2015, 2:39 pm
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Default Re: What to do with SAR 130k physical cash in the UK

Originally Posted by Rere View Post
If u can prove the money is legal ( with a Saudi bank withdrawal slip and wage slips) a bank will take it no problem.
The vast majority of banks in the UK have no method of accepting and processing a currency such as Saudi Riyals, and if accepted at all the fees will be high and the exchange rate poor. Euros, US$, A$, C$, JYen, no problem, Saudi Riyals not so much.
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Old Dec 24th 2015, 3:26 pm
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Default Re: What to do with SAR 130k physical cash in the UK

A bank may take it but you will get a truly awful exchange rate. I truly cannot understand what folly motivated this !
Better to take it back to KSA and pay it into a bank - but you will have to declare it to UK Customs and to Saudi Customs on arrival
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