The name of the currency in Dubai and the UAE is Dirham, also known as UAE Dirham (also known as Arab Emirate Dirham or AED, or abbreviated as Dhs or DH).
One Dirham = 100 fils
Notes are available in denominations 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 dirhams. In the front of the note, you can find Arabic writing, while on the reverse side, it is English.
Also, 1 dirham and 50 and 25 fils coins are commonly in circulation.
There are several banks and money exchanges in Dubai, whose currency can be exchanged. They are located across the city. But, if you are a tourist, it is probably easiest to find one by just heading to the nearest shopping mall, as most malls will have at least one bank and several money exchanges.
Given, the diverse population in Dubai, the banks and exchanges here hold more currencies than those in other countries across the world. Hence, finding an exchange for any major currency should not be an issue.
The money exchanges also offer better rates than the banks. But, exchange rates at hotel currency are usually poor. Therefore, it is sensible to change just a small amount at the airport to manage tips and taxi fares, and do the rest of exchange at the money exchanges in the city.
The exchange centres work for longer duration than the banks too, and offer a range of additional services such as cash advances against credit cards, pre-paid credit card, money transfer, bill payments and mobile phone top-ups.
UAE Currency Exchange Rate
The dirham to dollar exchange rate is fixed at 3.6725 dirham for USD1, or in other words, 1 dirham is equivalent to 0.272USD. Most of the currencies in the world are not pegged to the dollar, and hence, their exchange rate with dirham fluctuates on daily basis.
Dubai, being a major financial centre, boasts of several local and international banks. There are foreign banks with major presence in Dubai too, such as the Citibank, Barclays, Standard Chartered and HSBC.
There are good numbers of local banks too, such as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, RAK Bank, and Union National Bank.
The bank working hours vary, but are usually from Saturday to Thursday 8am to 1pm to 2pm, and are closed on Fridays. The branches at shopping malls close around 9pm.
Credit Cards, ATMs
The Visa, Master Card and American Express are accepted in all hotels, restaurants and shops in Dubai. There are thousands of ATMs too in Dubai, and they are scattered across Metro Stations, hotels, shopping malls, supermarkets and other public places
Few handy tips:
- It is good to carry smaller notes with you always, as they are handy for tipping, and also it can get hard to get change for anything larger than a 100 dirham note, particularly in taxis and convenience stores.
- Exchange a small amount at the airport to cover just the tips and taxis, and make larger exchange once you have reached the city. Shopping malls are the easiest places to exchange money, as they have both banks and money exchange counters. However, it would be good to shop around for best rate.
- When travelling to Dubai, you can try using your own bank's Debit card if they are either a Mastercard or Visa. Although a fee is charged, you get the current rate of exchange when you spend, and you are safer as you are not carrying surplus cash. Another alternative is to carry a pre-loaded credit card. However, cash in dirhams could be your best bet when you are bargaining in the souks.
- The ATMs in Dubai usually dispense only larger notes, and smaller denominations like 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 may not be available through ATMs.