Banking in Kuwait
Kuwait Banking Facts
Currently there are 10 locally incorporated commercial banks and 7 branches of foreign banks operating within Kuwait. Three out of the ten Kuwait banks follow the islamic banking methods
Kuwait’s banking sector has been witnessing impressive year-on-year growths due the country’s booming economy. This has resulted in the expansion of most banks in terms of branches and automated teller machine installations to reach a wider audience. Competition has also increased availability of flexible housing loans and Islamic banking schemes that meet public demand for Shariah-compliant financial products.
All commercial banks and financial institutions are governed by the Central Bank of Kuwait. Whilst the number of banks operating in the Kuwait has remained the same for some time, the banks have notably expanded in terms of the number of branches.
Most banks operate five days a week, Sunday to Thursday, from 8:00 to 14:00 while a few others are also open on Saturdays from 8:00 until 12:00. Many of the banks operates in the evening shifts as well. To locate your preferred bank’s branch or ATM closest to you, visit our interactive location maps or the respective bank’s local website.
Residents / Visitors can also avail 24- hour telephone banking services by dialing their respective bank’s toll free number.
If you are visiting Kuwait during the month of Ramadan, it’s wise to call up the bank to confirm their operating hours. Some banks open one hour later during Ramadan compared to their normal opening hours, while a few others operate shorter hours at daytime and re-open in the evenings after the iftaar.
The Central Bank of Kuwait is in charge of issuing or declaring public holidays for all banks. With the exception of two Eid holidays, all other occasions listed are celebrated with a day off.
1. New Year's Day - 1 Jan .
2. National Day - 25 Feb .
3. Liberation Day - 26 Feb .
4. Mouloud - 9 Mar (Birth of the Prophet).
5. Al-Esra Wa Al-Meraj - 20 Jul (Ascension of the Prophet).
6. Eid al-Fitr - 21 Sep (End of Ramadan).
7. Eid al-Adha - 28 Nov (Feast of the Sacrifice).
8. Islamic New Year - 18 Dec .
Cards and Currency Used
Nearly all major retail establishments in Kuwait accept credit card payment; however it is advisable to carry some loose local currency, in Kuwaiti Dinar, to use at smaller local convenience stores. There are numerous money exchange bureaus and ATM machines located conveniently around the city. Look for internationally recognized logos like ‘VISA’, 'MasterCard' or ‘Plus’ on your bank card to ensure it can be used at check-out counters. International Credit cards like American Express, MasterCard and Visa are most commonly used in Kuwait.