Currency exchange and transactions are easy in Saudi Arabia. And even if you don’t yet know the difference between a riyal and a halala, there’s no need to worry: Many businesses in the kingdom accept credit cards and contactless payments. Use this guide to learn the ins and outs of Saudi currency and exchange rates so you can get back to scuba diving, sightseeing and shopping instead.
Saudi Arabia’s national currency is the Saudi riyal (ر.سSAR), which is subdivided into 100 halala. You’ll receive notes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 riyals, and coins in denominations of 1 or 2 riyals and 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 halala.
The U.S. dollar is equivalent to SAR3.75 (fixed rate). Check out this SAR conversion calculator for quick conversions to help you plan your vacation budget.
All banks in the kingdom offer currency exchange services. You can also find exchange bureaus at airports, some shopping centers and other locations throughout the country. Banking hours are generally from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday to Thursday. (Exchange bureaus are often open later, although they may charge higher commission fees.) ATMs are widely available, and credit cards including Visa, Mastercard and American Express are accepted throughout the kingdom. Many businesses also accept digital payment methods, such as Apple Pay.
You can send or receive money in Saudi Arabia by transferring funds online or through a bank that offers fast money transfer services, all of which are subject to the rules and regulations of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority. For more, here is some guidance on international money transfers.
Saudi Arabia imposes an indirect tax of 15 percent (called a value-added tax, or VAT) on all goods and services with few exceptions. VAT is common in many countries as a way to diversify their revenue sources.