Cash is the prefered method of payment although credit cards are generally accepted. The use of cheques is not common. Foreign currencies can be changed at any of the numerous foreign exchange offices, hotels and banks. A passport or Civil ID is not always required but it’s better to have it with you just in case. If you don’t have original passport with you (if you are stuck in the residency process) then maximum amount of any foreign currency you can exchange by using your passport copy is 150 KD. There are no current restrictions on the import and export of local and foreign currency.
The Kuwaiti Dinar (KD) is the official currency of Kuwait accepted worldwide. KD 1 is equal to 1000 fils. Notes are issued in denominations of KD 20, KD 10, KD 5, KD 1, KD 0.500 (1/2) and KD 0.250 (1/4). Coins are in denominations of 100 fils, 50 fils, 20 fils, 10 fils and 5 fils.
Kuwait has excellent banking system with a wide range of commercial and personal services including money exchanges and transfers to any bank in the world. The majority of banks are located in the central area of Kuwait City with branches troughout the country. Banking hours are from 08:00 – 15:30h, Sunday to Thursday. Some do open for one evening a week but this varies from bank to bank. If you deposit foreign cash to your foreign accont expect to pay some fee (0.5% from total cash deposit) or when you withdraw expect to pay 0.25 % of total amount that you are withdrawing. For depositing and/or drawing KD’s there are no fees. 24-hour ATM’s are located troughout Kuwait and it is common to see roadside signs indicating the location of a bank and therefore an ATM machine. Each area of Kuwait has a major co-operative (supermarket) which usually has either an ATM machine or a bank in the vicinity.
Major Credit Cards (American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa) are accepted in hotels and at retail outlets, restaurants and shopping malls. Keep on mind that by paying in cash at the traditional markets and smaller shops you will be able to negotiate a discounts.