Money

Currency

The name of the currency in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates is the dirham (AED or Arab Emirate Dirham – also commonly abbreviated to Dhs or DH). There are 100 fils in a dirham.

Notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 dirhams. The writing on the front of the note is in Arabic while that on the reverse is English.

There are 1 dirham and 50 and 25 fil coins in common circulation.

UAE Dirham Exchange Rate

The dirham to dollar exchange rate is fixed at a rate of 3.67 dirhams to US $1 (or 1 dirham equals 0.272 US dollars). Most world currencies are not pegged to the dollar and so their exchange rate with the dirham fluctuates daily.

Middle Eastern Countries

Dubai is a popular destination for visitors from the Middle East. The city attracts around one million visitors each year from Saudi Arabia alone. Exchange rates for the dirham (AED) with currencies such as the Saudi riyal (SAR), Omani rial (OMR), and Kuwaiti dinar (KWD) are shown below. Rates were last updated on March 5, 2015 8:10 am.

  • Bahrain – 1 Bahraini dinar (BHD) = 9.74 AED
  • Egypt – 1 Egyptian pound (EGP) = 0.48 AED
  • Iran – 1 Iranian rial (IRR) = 0.00 AED
  • Iraq – 1 Iraqi dinar (IQD) = 0.00 AED
  • Jordan – 1 Jordanian dinar (JOD) = 5.18 AED
  • Kuwait – 1 Kuwaiti dinar (KWD) = 12.37 AED
  • Lebanon – 1 Lebanese pound (LBP) = 0.00 AED
  • Oman – 1 Omani rial (OMR) = 9.54 AED
  • Qatar – 1 Qatari riyal (QAR) = 1.01 AED
  • Saudi Arabia – 1 Saudi riyal (SAR) = 0.98 AED
  • Syria – 1 Syrian pound (SYP) = 0.02 AED

African Countries

Each year the city attracts approximately 100,000 tourists from South Africa. Visitor numbers from other African countries are fairly low. Current exchange rates between the dirham (AED) and African currencies such as the South African rand (ZAR) are listed below. They were last updated on March 5, 2015 8:10 am.

  • Kenya – 1 Kenyan shilling (KES) = 0.04 AED
  • Nigeria – 1 Nigerian naira (NGN) = 0.02 AED
  • Tanzania – 1 Tanzanian shilling (TZS) = 0.00 AED
  • South Africa – 1 South African rand (ZAR) = 0.31 AED
  • Sudan – 1 Sudanese pound (SDG) = 0.65 AED

Asian Countries

Asians comprise around a quarter of Dubai’s tourists, most of which are Chinese nationals. Much of the city’s expatriate population is Asian. Large numbers of Afghans, Bangladeshis, Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Indonesians, Pakistanis, and Sri Lankans live and work in the city.

Current exchange rates (updated March 5, 2015 8:10 am) between the dirham (AED) and Asian currencies such as the Indian rupee (INR), Chinese yuan (CNY), Philipine peso (PHP), and Indonesian rupiah (IDR) are listed below.

  • Afghanistan – 1 Afghan afghani (AFN) = 0.06 AED
  • Bangladesh – 1 Bangladeshi taka (BDT) = 0.05 AED
  • China – 1 Chinese yuan (CNY) = 0.59 AED
  • Hong Kong – 1 Hong Kong dollar (HKD) = 0.47 AED
  • India – 1 Indian rupee (INR) = 0.06 AED
  • Indonesia – 1 Indonesian rupia (USD) = 3.67 AED
  • Japan – 1 Japanese yen (JPY) = 0.03 AED
  • Malaysia – 1 Malaysian ringgit (MYR) = 1.01 AED
  • Pakistan – 1 Pakistani rupee (PKR) = 0.04 AED
  • Philippines – 1 Philipine peso (PHP) = 0.08 AED
  • Singapore – 1 Singapore dollar (SGD) = 2.68 AED
  • South Korea – 1 South Korean won (KRW) = 0.00 AED
  • Sri Lanka – 1 Sri Lankan rupee (LKR) = 0.03 AED
  • Thailand – 1 Thai baht (THB) = 0.11 AED
  • Vietnam – 1 Vietnamese dong (VND) = 0.00 AED

Australasia/Pacific

Approximately 200,000 Australians and 30,000 New Zealanders visit Dubai each year. Rates between the dirham (AED) and Australian dollar (AUD) and New Zealand dollar (NZD) are shown below. They were last updated on March 5, 2015 8:10 am.

  • Australia – 1 Australian dollar (AUD) = 2.87 AED
  • New Zealand – 1 New Zealand dollar (NZD) = 2.77 AED

European Countries

Europeans account for around 20 percent of Dubai’s tourists. The largest group are the British, but there are also significant numbers from France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Dubai also has a large British expatriate community. Current exchange rates between the dirham (AED) and European currencies such as the euro (EUR) and sterling (GBP) are listed below. Rates were updated on March 5, 2015 8:10 am.

  • Denmark – 1 Danish krone (DKK) = 0.54 AED
  • Eurozone – 1 euro (EUR) = 4.06 AED
  • Norway – 1 Norwegian krone (NOK) = 0.47 AED
  • Sweden – 1 Swedish krona (SEK) = 0.44 AED
  • Switzerland – 1 Swiss franc (CHF) = 3.80 AED
  • UK – 1 British pound (GBP) = 5.60 AED

Russia/CIS Countries

Dubai is a popular destination for Russian tourists. Large numbers also visit from countries such as Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan. Dubai also has a sizeable Russian-speaking expatriate community. Exchange rates between the dirham (AED) and Russian/CIS currencies are listed below. They are live rates (updated March 5, 2015 8:10 am).

  • Azerbaijan – 1 Azerbaijani manat (AZN) = 3.50 AED
  • Kazakhstan – 1 Kazakhstani tenge (KZT) = 0.02 AED
  • Russia – 1 Russian ruble (RUB) = 0.06 AED
  • Ukraine – 1 Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH) = 0.15 AED
  • Uzbekistan – 1 Uzbekistani som (UZS) = 0.00 AED

North American Countries

Around ½ million US citizens and 100,000 Canadians visit Dubai each year. Live exchange rates (updated March 5, 2015 8:10 am) between the dirham (AED) and US dollar (USD) and Canadian dollar (CAD) are shown below. As noted above the USD/AED rate is fixed.

  • Canada – 1 Canadian dollar (CAD) = 2.95 AED
  • Mexico – 1 Mexican peso (MXN) = 0.24 AED
  • USA – 1 US dollar (USD) = 3.67 AED

South American Countries

  • Argentina – 1 Argentine peso (ARS) = 0.42 AED
  • Brazil – 1 Brazlian real (BRL) = 1.23 AED
  • Columbia – 1 Colombian peso (COP) = 0.00 AED

Changing Money

There are a multitude of banks and money exchanges in Dubai where currency can be exchanged. They are located all over the city but if you are a tourist it is probably easiest to find one by heading to the nearest shopping mall. Most will have at least one bank and a couple of money exchanges.

Due to the city’s diverse population and mix of tourists, the banks and exchanges in Dubai typically hold more currencies than those in Europe and the US. You’ll have no difficulty exchanging any major currency.

Money exchanges typically offer better rates than the banks. Airport rates are less competitive than those in the city. Exchange rates at hotel currency exchanges are generally poor. Savvy travellers will just change a small amount at the airport to cover tips and taxi fares and exchange the rest of their cash at one of the money exchanges in the city.

The exchange centres have longer opening hours than banks. They usually open around 8 or 9 am and close late in the evening. Most also offer a range of additional services including cash advances against credit cards, money transfers, pre-paid credit cards, bill payments, and mobile phone top-ups.

Exchanges in Dubai include:

  • Al Ansari Exchange – over 50 locations in Dubai including branches at Deira City Centre, DragonMart, Dubai International Airport, Dubai Festival City, Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai Outlet Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, Lamcy Plaza, Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Centre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, and Wafi Mall
  • Al Ghurair Exchange – branches include Deira City Centre and BurJuman
  • Al Rostamani International Exchange – branches include Dubai International Airport, Ibn Battuta Mall, the Mall of the Emirates, Al Khaleej Centre, and Dubai Mall
  • Al Fardan Exchange – locations include the Festival Centre, Dubai Mall, and the Mall of the Emirates
Al Ansari Exchange, Dubai Festival City

Al Ansari Exchange, Dubai Festival City

Banks

Dubai is a major financial centre and boasts a good number of both local and international banks.

Foreign banks with a significant presence in Dubai include Barclays, Citibank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered.

Locally based banks include Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, Mashreq, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, RAKBANK (National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah), and Union National Bank.

Hours vary by bank but most are typically Saturday to Thursday from around 8 am to 1 or 2 pm. Bank close on Fridays. Branches at the shopping malls usually close around 9 pm.

HSBC, Mall of the Emirates

HSBC, Mall of the Emirates

Credit Cards

MasterCard, Visa and American Express are accepted at nearly all hotels, restaurants and shops in Dubai.

ATMs

There are thousands of ATMs in Dubai. You’ll find them at shopping malls, Metro stations, most hotels, supermarkets, and many other public places.

Comments and Additional Information

  1. Michael says

    What size of notes are dispensed from ATMs in Dubai?

    • Frank says

      It depends on the bank and how much you are withdrawing. One thing I’d say for certain though is that if you are taking out a large amount you will probably get large denomination notes.

      Say for example you are taking out 3000 AED, which is about 800 dollars. You may get it in 500 AED notes i.e. 6 notes. It takes some getting used to.

  2. David says

    What currency is accepted when tipping in Dubai?

    • Editor says

      You would normally tip in the local currency (dirhams) though I’m sure they would take any currency if it was the choice between that or no tip at all.

  3. Jo says

    Rents in Dubai are generally paid one year in advance. Loans to cover this are a major source of business for banks in Dubai.

  4. tim UK says

    Dubai isn’t cheap. I’d say prices were about the same as in the UK, although some things are cheaper e.g. taxis, watches.

  5. Jackie T says

    In banks there is usually a separate queue for women customers.

  6. Lisa & Tony says

    The exchange rates at Dubai airport are a lot better than those in the UK though. So if you need a bit of cash for taxis etc after you land, change your money at the airport.

  7. mark fairhurst says

    Cash in dirhams is your best bet for haggling in the souks.

  8. Farid says

    The lower denomination coins are quite rare, so sometimes you may not receive the correct change.

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