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Whether you’re skydiving over the Arabian coast or visiting the home of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar is one of the top holiday destinations for many Brits this year. But with an action-packed itinerary, it’s worth knowing how you can use your UK credit card when you’re trying to pay for your new dallah.
If you’re planning to use your credit card in Qatar, you’re in luck, as most larger stores accept both credit and debit cards and you shouldn’t have any issues. However, independent and smaller stores or restaurants might be strictly cash only – so make sure you have some to hand to save yourself from an embarrassing situation with the waiter.
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Approval for any credit card depends on your status. The representative APRs shown represent the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances, the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.
ATMs are widely available in Qatar and can be found in most shopping malls, hotels and some souqs. However, like with any cash machine, you should be sensitive to the risks of fraud and theft and take the necessary precautions.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
Although you shouldn’t have an issue finding ATMs or paying by card in most shops, restaurants or hotels while in Qatar, it is always worth carrying some spare cash with you. Plus, when making small purchases it is often simpler to pay using cash rather than fishing out potential card fees.
You should note that it is important to always ensure that your cash is not damaged, as most merchants may refuse to accept any damaged banknotes and you could be fined up to 20,000 Qatari rials.
Chip and PIN is a common form of payment method in Qatar, exactly the same as in the UK. Simply insert your card and enter your 4-digit PIN.
Contactless is also widely accepted in Qatar, just keep an eye out for the contactless payments symbol. If your credit card network is Visa, then the contactless limit in Qatar is QAR300. If your credit card network is Mastercard, then you will have to check with your bank, as individual banks may set different limits.
By exercising some caution when using your credit card in Qatar, you’ll have a relatively trouble-free experience.
While crime rates are relatively low in Qatar, theft and pickpocketing is one of the top crimes to be cautious of when travelling, so always remain alert and keep a close eye on your belongings. Whether you’re in a crowded tourist destination or on a peaceful beach, stay aware of your surroundings so that you don’t have to spend your holiday sorting out stolen or lost credit cards.
Credit card fees can leave a noticeable dent in your pocket when you’re travelling overseas, so know what you’re up against well in advance and choose a card with no or low fees.
British credit card issuers typically charge a fee equivalent to 1–3% of your transaction, so carefully review your card’s fine print to avoid statement surprises. Some cards designed for travel come with no foreign transaction fees, so this could be a good time to switch.
If a retailer offers to bill your credit card in sterling, dynamic currency conversion comes into play. While this might sound like a good deal, you’ll actually end up getting a worse exchange rate and you might also end up paying currency conversion fees. Whenever you’re presented with an option, choose to pay in the local currency.
Using your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM may not make sense unless it’s a bona fide emergency. Each time you withdraw funds from an ATM, you’re likely to pay a cash advance fee. Your APR for cash advances is typically higher than your purchase APR and you’ll typically get no grace period on interest — instead, you start paying interest immediately. Again, some cards designed for overseas spending will waive this fee.
The table below serves as an example of how much extra you may pay to use your credit card in Qatar.
Ask yourself these simple questions before you leave so your spending in Qatar does not hit any roadblocks:
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