Safe, secure and cost-effective transfer options when you need to send money to Bahrain.
Bahrain is a country in the Middle East with more than 30 islands in the Persian Gulf. This kingdom was one of the first states in the Gulf to discover oil but does not have the level of production that Saudi Arabia has.
Because they cannot solely rely on the income produced by oil refineries, they’ve looked at other sources of income to grow their economy.
Bahrain is a small yet prosperous economy and is an important partner and base for UK companies in the Gulf given its position as a major trading hub in the region.
There are over 500 active UK commercial agencies and over 90 branches of British companies in Bahrain. In addition, over 350 Bahraini companies have UK partners.
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Case Study: Yasmeen sends money to Bahrain
Yasmeen has recently moved to Glasgow from Bahrain with the goal of becoming an avid sheep farmer. His wife and children are still in Bahrain and he likes to occasionally send them monetary gifts to cover some of their living expenses, and as birthday gifts. Yasmeen has a bank account with one of the top four banks and is doing some research to find out how much they would receive if £1,000 is sent over.
|UK bank||Money transfer service|
|Exchange rate||1 GBP = 0.438 BHD||1 GBP = 0.447 BHD|
|Transfer fee (minimum)||£15||£10|
|Amount received for £1,000||BHD 438||BHD 447|
|Transfer time||3–5 business days||1–4 days|
|Transfer options||Cellphone app and online||Online, by phone, at local branch or foreign exchange centre|
How do I compare transfer companies when sending and receiving money between the UK and Bahrain?
- Exchange rates. Different organisations will have different rates depending on the cost associated with that specific currency for them. All of these organisations have currency converters on their websites that will convert British Pounds to the Bahraini Dinars.
- Pick-up methods. If there is the option to transfer to the same bank, always make use of that option as it tends to save time and money and any dispute can be solved much quicker and easier. Cash pickup locations are listed below.
- Minimum transfer amounts. Organisations have a minimum amount that they are willing to transfer as any less will not make it worthwhile for them and the amount should be enough to cover all of the associated costs. For example, OFX has a minimum requirement of £150.
- Transfer fees. The transfer fees between the different organisations differ significantly and will, therefore, have to be measured against the exchange rate offered. It is important to take into account that this fee is not the full fee charged as the Bahraini organisation/bank to which the money is transferred will also charge a transaction fee.
- Transfer methods. All of the above-mentioned organisations offer a range of methods to go about transferring money, but read the fine print carefully as a transaction that is done over the counter can be up to £10 more than by making use of Internet banking or the cellphone application.
- Transfer time. The transfer time as shown in the table can change materially should something happen on the Bahrain side. The time, as shown in the table, is the average amount of time it takes for an international transfer. It is up to 3–4 business days, but can take longer, so make sure to send money in advance.
How do you send and receive money between the UK and Bahrain?
- MoneyGram. This is one of the most convenient methods to send money to Bahrain. The receiver in Bahrain can withdraw it at their nearest Bahrain Financing Company branch. Should you be in an emergency and need same-day receipt of money, there is an emergency service available for small sums of money
- Western Union. Western Union gives you the option to send money to the receiver’s bank account or mobile phone in Bahrain, should their country permit this option. When using the bank account option your sender will have to expressly request this option and will have to provide your BSB account number. Cash pickups are also possible. A transaction is limited to £5,000 per transaction and there is the option to get your first transaction free. Payment can be made by both a debit and credit card and you will once again receive a tracking number. The emergency money transfer option is known as money in minutes and gets sent to the receiver’s mobile phone.
- Xpress money. When sending money to Bahrain, the only option is to send it by Cash Pick-up. Visit an Xpress Money agent and provide your valid ID and the receiver’s details and hand over the cash. You will receive a receipt and 16 digit pin which you must share with the receiver.
How to handle emergency cash transfers in Bahrain
Moneygram, Western Union and Xpress Money offer cash pickup services with same-day delivery (most times within minutes) which is a good option for emergencies.
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Great tips for picking up cash in Bahrain
Bahrain is often in civil distress with the threat of terrorist attacks constantly looming. There are regular protests and demonstrations. Despite this, when it comes to the issue of carrying cash with you, the country is reasonably safe and has a low crime rate. Traveller’s cheques are always a safe option, but not accepted everywhere. When you carry cash, follow these simple rules:
- Don’t flash your cash.
- Don’t wear any type of bag around your waist that will identify you as a tourist.
- Try and dress like the locals. In Bahrain, where custom and tradition are taken very seriously, this might just be a general tip as well.
- Never put your cash in your back pockets; put it in pockets with zippers that are close to your body and that you can see.
- Keep your small notes and large notes in different pockets. You will usually only make use of smaller notes which means pickpockets don’t know where all of your cash is stashed when you take cash out to pay for something.
What are the steps to send money to Bahrain?
If you decide to make use of a bank account method to receive transferred cash you will require a bank account to receive money in Bahrain. To open a bank account in Bahrain you will go through the following:
- Residence visa
- Letter of ‘no objection’ from your employer (this needs to stipulate your salary to show that an amount will regularly be deposited into your bank account)
- Tenancy agreement (not always required)
- Photocopy of your passport
- Identity photographs
If you will receive money due to a company position, it is advisable to open an account at the same bank as your employer. This can offer favourable terms which might lead to quicker access to your salary.
For cash pickups and to send money via services like Moneygram, Western Union and Xpress Money, senders need to:
- Register with the service provider
- Have the money available in the right currency
- Valid government issued identification
- Accessible location details of the recipient
- Details of the recipient
Recipients will need to:
- Provide the tracking number (supplied by the sender)
- Have valid government issued identification
- Have a copy of the original transaction or receipt as a safety measure