Credit Card Usage in Kuwait


I hope this would be some useful information to people.

Most people in Kuwait do not use credit, and have never had credit cards. According to a Sambla AS report, in the Middle East, most transactions are done with cash one way or another. Loans might be taken for vehicles or other large purchases, but what Im talking about is regular purchases.

In Kuwait if you pay by credit card most places will add a minimum of 3% to your purchase. And even if you pay with a check card(KNET) they might still include a 1% charge to what your paying. I have run into this problem at electronic stores, cell phone stores, travel agencies, and even computer stores at Wala’a complex. I got used to the idea of using my credit card, and paying for the purchase later for the sake of building credit.

The problem we face is simple there is no real consumer rights in Kuwait, the people selling you items can do as they please and they are rarely held accountable. But charging you the percentage for the Knet or credit card charges is ILLEGAL in Kuwait. I spoke to my bank manager about it at NBK, and she told me that if a company is doing that and they have an account with NBK and NBK found out then they will suspend their account until further notice. NBK wants people to report to them if a company is doing that because its something very wrong.

The hard part of going about this is finding out which bank the store has an account with. So you have to contact that bank and tell them what the store is doing. This issue has been pissing me off for the past couple of months. And there are no consumer rights laws clearly written to protect the consumer! Its always about big business, and the ones that do take care of the consumer (which are rare) are the ones that benefit.

A guy who is just trying to enjoy life!


  1. Hey, just want to point out that also stores pay 3% (or was it 4%) for every visa transaction, KNET is completely free for the shop. KNET does not take a single penny, not even 100fils from the seller if you pay with KNET.

    So if you find a store that wants to charge you for a KNET transaction, you need to inform KNET.

    KNET used to by my client so this is how I know of this.

  2. also stores pay should while stores pay

  3. urgh

    also stores pay should BE while stores pay

  4. KNET is completely free aaam damn sure…and yeah even our dear professional computers charge 4%…and thats bullshit…in some cases I’ve seen the bank logos on the credit card readers and that may give you some clue on which bank they bank upon…but sadly, most people tear off that sticker…

  5. Mark: I agree with you 100%, but I know of some places that charge 1%.. and I have complained about them!

    CyberRowdy: I agree with you! they charge 4%, and that is the reason I was writing this post its because of them! You can see the bank logo, but if you dont know someone in the bank its hard to get the complain across!

  6. :: Charges on KNET and Credit Cards ! … guys guys your are dealing with “low profit stores” hehe !

    IF AND ONYL IF they keep telling you “im gonna take 1% or 3%” just call ur bank and report this case , except travel agencies.

    huge and medium stores in Kuwait or outside country does not take any charge on using them, this is the main idea.


    and btw, when i bought my last mobile the guy told me he’s about to charge me 3% on my Mastercard i said FINE but im gonna report this to your BANK and i can get not only the 3% i might get the whole amount.

  7. moocherx

    small stores charging the handling fee from visa/mastercards is normal around the world.
    K-Net, that’s a different matter.
    But if you buy from bigger stores in kuwait, you don’t get charged using MC/Visa. And some smaller stores incorporate the charges into their retail price anyway so you don’t feel you’re being ripped off.

  8. Frankom: thank you for pointing that out! But how come travel agencies can get away with charging some of the fees? But even if small establishments do that, they still cant. They have so much of a mark-up they are making lots of money.

    Moocherx: If you haggle and bring down a price, then the store will tell you they cant give you that price with a credit card payment! Its annoying! But they mark it up so much anyways that it still doesnt make too much of a difference to them they have a discount. They just try to rip you off as much as possible!

  9. considering the size of this country and the sheer number of bank branches all over, there really shouldnt be any reason at all to pay by credit card.
    just remember while youre complaining about the additional charge, the credit card company itself is chargeing you massive interest to satisfy buying impulses.
    if you have the cash in your account walk to an atm,… if you dont have the cash in your account you obviously cant afford it :P

    credit cards are evil!

    ps doesnt building credit mean not using your card?….. i’ve used mine like 3-4 times in the past 5 years and my authorised limit has been quadrupled by my bank :D

  10. sknk: you can build credit by using it, and you build credit, by not having bad credit. One is just faster then the other. And the other thing, the interest on credit cards dont go on it, until it spills over to the next month! As long as you pay it before its good!

  11. guyz…i used my cc with TSC several times for purchases below 2 KD even…never had a problem…when I got something from my fav computer shop they charge me 4% extra…..and several others small stores wont charge…for example..MCdonalds take cards for small amounts…several restaurants take…wth..

  12. Cyber: I think the restaurants never add the percentage on top, because its like they are changing the prices or something on the spot. But still there are some places that do that!

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