Dubai Currency - Money - Navigating Dubai's Currency and Foreign Exchange
In Dubai, currency exists in the form of the United Arab Emirates Dirham (Dh or AED as it is sometimes called.) Dirham notes come in an array of denominations which range from Dh 5 to Dh1000. In line with Arab tradition, falcons are pictured on the notes and the value of each note is written in Arabic only.
One dirham can be divided into 100 fils and coins can be obtained in values of Dh1, 50 fils, 25 fils, 10 fils and 5 fils. As is the case with all currencies exchange rates may vary, but when markets are stable exchange can be expected at around 7 Dirham to 1GBP British Pound Sterling and 3.7 Dirham to $1 US Dollar.
Foreign Exchange and Rates
As convenient and tempting as it may be, it is sensible not to exchange money at airports due to the fact that exchange rates offered at airports are usually exceptionally poor. Exchange centres, and local and international banks can be easily located in the city and will all likely present you with far better rates. There is no prohibition on the exchange of money in Dubai and most local banks will willingly transfer and exchange money for you. International banks like Citibank and HSBC Offshore can be found in Bur Dubai and Diera, as can a number of exchange centres like Al Razouki International Exchange Company, Thomas Cook Al-Rostamani and the UAE Exchange Center.
Both banks and exchange houses operate from around 8am to 1pm Saturday to Thursday. Some banks reopen from 4pm to 6pm Saturday to Wednesday and exchange houses typically reopen from 4:30pm to 8:30pm Saturday through to Thursday. Keep in mind the fact that the weekend falls on a Friday in Dubai and therefore all banks will be closed on this day and exchange houses are likely to only be open for a portion of the day if at all.
If you are looking to exchange large sums of money, it may be worth your while to spend some time comparing exchange rates offered by the various banks and money lenders in the city. Moneylenders will often offer better rates, although some will either refuse to accept Travellers Cheques or will accept only one or two specific types of cheques. ATMs are located all over Dubai in major shopping centres, hotels and banks. HSBC Financial Services and Emirates Bank International ATM s are connected to Global Access Systems and can be found in Deira and Bur Dubai
Travellers Cheques and major credit cards like Mastercard, Visa and American Express are accepted at the majority of hotels, shopping centres and restaurants. Tips and municipality taxes are usually already added into bills, although if you are unsure or wish to further compensate staff for good service, 10% is seen as more than generous. In the event that you are looking to pick up bargains, it is advisable to rather carry cash due to the fact that vendors will be more willing to lower prices for cash sales than they will for electronic sales. Smaller shops, especially those in souks will often refuse to accept credit cards altogether.
If you have any currency related queries whilst in Dubai you can contact either Al Razouki International Exchange Dubai on 04 2615113 or Thomas Cook Al Rostamani Exchange Company Dubai on 04 2223564.