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Economy, Money, Banking & Taxes


Saudi Arabia uses the Saudi Riyal as its currency, abbreviated as SAR, it can be divided down into 100 Halalas. SAR 1 is equal to about $0.27 or £0.17.
Coins are available in 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 Halala amounts. 25 Halala coins are also known as 1 Qirsh coins, 50 Halala coins are also known as 2 Qirsh coins, 75 Halala coins are also known as 3 Qirsh coins and 100 Halala coins are also known as 4 Qirsh or 1 Riyal coins.

Bank Notes are available in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Riyal amounts.


Saudi Arabia’s economy is strongly oil-based and the country is known to possess at least 18% of the world’s petroleum reserves. It has a labour force of around 7.63 million and growing, with around 80% of these being expatriates. The expatriate-majority workforce has around 6.7% of its workers involved in agriculture, around 21.4% involved in industry and the other 71.9% involved in services.

The country mainly trades with the United States (14.3% exports, 13.2% imports), China (13.7% exports, 13.5% imports) and South Korea (9.9% exports, 6.7% imports), but also trades majorly with Japan, Singapore, India and Germany. Today the country’s GDP is worth around $0.9 Trillion and has a GDP growth at a rate of around 5% annually.


Saudi Arabia’s banking system is very similar to that in the west and has two main types of accounts, Current Accounts, which may offer lower interest rates but better flexibility, and Savings Accounts, which allow for a higher interest rate but may restrict access to funds. It’s also important to note that Saudi Arabia’s banks frequently offer Islamic Banking and Personal Finance services which are conducted in accordance with the Quran.


Saudi Arabia does not tax individuals through Income Tax, whether a Saudi national or an expatriate. However, it taxes all expatriates through Investment Income at a rate of 20%, Capital Gains at a rate of 20%, and Zakat, a religious levy, at a rate of 2.5% of an individual’s net worth.

Companies are also frequently subject to Zakat at the same rate as individuals and may also be subject to Social Security at a rate of 18% and a further 2% for Occupational Hazards Insurance.