Money & Currency Guide

1

The UAE is a very stable and safe country to visit, and that includes their own currency. On a day to day basis you will only use the local currency, known as the Dirham (signed as AED or DHS) – unlike some Middle Eastern countries there is no need to carry USD or GBP for transactions. We’ve prepared a guide to making the most out of your currency, from traveller feedback and real life experience.

Travellers cheques are no longer accepted in many locations, and if accepted will attract a poor rate of exchange.

Bringing Cash

AIRPORT ARRIVAL – Arrive at the airport and in arrivals change up enough for tips, taxi fares and other small incidentals. Enough to see them through until they can get to a shopping mall. The rates at the airport are not as good as the rates in the shopping malls, but are better than most can get in their home countries. A selection of currency exchanges are available in all arrival terminals of DXB and DWC.

Most major global currencies are accepted and if you are wondering if your home currency is classed as a global currency then you can check the rate here and then compare it to what you can get in your home country.

EXCHANGE HOUSES IN THE MALLS – As explained above these have the best rates, but always check to see which house has the best rate on that particular day. Rates are updated several times a day to reflect moves of the international currency markets. In most cases the rates offered here by the exchange houses are better than those offered in your home country. Banks here will offer exchange rates and in most cases they are similar or not as good as the exchange houses. Hotels offer currency exchange facilities and these will likely not be very competitive. You can buy goods in shops and pay in most global currencies, but these rates will not be very good at all.

Most major global currencies are accepted and if you are wondering if your home currency is classed as a global currency then you can check the rate here and then compare it to what you can get in your home country.

Using an ATM/Cash Machine/Credit Card

DEBIT CARDS – are widely accepted Dubai and the rate you get will depend on the exchange policy of your card provider. It would be surprising if the rate applied was better than the exchange houses here (by the time you add in forex and any other fees applied), but there will be exceptions to every rule. It is a good idea to tell the card provider that you are going away so that you can hopefully avoid having the card refused. Check with your banking provider before leaving for full charges description. If the terminal/operator asks you to pay in your own currency then decline, these rates are normally terrible compared to your banking organisation.

CREDIT CARDS – Can be used widely in shops here. If you use a credit card to withdraw cash then you will have the exchange rate to take into consideration as well as the fact that the withdrawal will be classed as a cash advance on your card. This will normally attract a daily interest charge from the time of the transaction. It is a good idea to tell the card provider that you are going away so that you can hopefully avoid having the card refused. Check with your banking provider before leaving for full charges description. If the terminal/operator asks you to pay in your own currency then decline, these rates are normally terrible compared to your banking organisation.

CHARGE CARDS – American Express or AmEx are widely accepted in tourist resorts and major shopping malls. Smaller operators tend to refuse or charge an additional fee for an AmEx card due to the higher charges levied on them by the provider. This may result in higher pricing or less negotiating power for your purchases. It is a good idea to tell the card provider that you are going away so that you can hopefully avoid having the card refused. Check with your banking provider before leaving for full charges. If the terminal/operator asks you to pay in your own currency then decline, these rates are normally terrible compared to your banking organisation.

ATM/CASH MACHINE WITHDRAWALS – There are free ATM machines throughout the city, in most populated locations. They are safe to use and will not charge you, but your provider may. It is a good idea to tell the banking provider that you are going away so that you can hopefully avoid having the card refused. Check with your banking provider before leaving for full charges. If the machine asks you to pay in your own currency then decline, these rates are normally terrible compared to your banking organisation.

 

Share.

About Author

1 Comment

  1. It’s worth noting that if you are exchanging large amounts of cash then you can negotiate the rate and get a better rate than the one on the board. Don’t be afraid to ask or to shop around. The exchange places are generally concentrated in one area of the mall so it’s easy to go from one to another to compare. Some won’t budge on the advertise rate, some will more than others. Ask around and change with the one giving you the best rate.

Leave a Reply