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Qatar imposes ban on cash transactions to tackle fraud

Customers use automated teller machines (ATM), operated by the Qatar National Bank SAQ, in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday, March 17, 2012. The country, the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, was the world's fastest-growing economy for the past two years, International Monetary Fund data showed. Photographer: Gabriela Maj/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Customers use automated teller machines (ATM), operated by the Qatar National Bank SAQ, in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday, March 17, 2012 [Gabriela Maj/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

As part of efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, Qatar has imposed a ban on selected cash transactions exceeding the value of $13, 732 (QAR 50, 000).

Transaction values exceeding QAR 50,000 must be made via credit card, debit card, cheque or bank transfer. The new ruling was announced by Qatar's Central Bank (QCB) on Twitter earlier in the week and applies to the sale, purchase and rental of all types of properties, in addition to their modifications.

The law also restricts the use of cash to purchase vehicles of all kinds, maritime transportation, all precious metals, gemstones, jewellery camels, horses, livestock, and falcons, whether single or flocks reported Doha News.

READ: Qatari Qur'an TV channel closes over lack of funding 

The ban follows news earlier this month of the arrest of seven individuals "attempting to launder illegally acquired money by buying luxury cars for cash and exporting them abroad."

Conviction of money laundering and financial corruption in the Gulf state can lead to prison sentences and hefty financial penalties depending on the crime.

Last year an official of the Qatari fintech company, SkipCash stated that the country is ready to move towards a "cashless society." Digital payments also surged during the coronavirus pandemic, which is also thought to have accelerated Qatar's move towards a cashless society and QCB is also reportedly keen on embracing a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

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