camel with uae skyscrapers in background

How to send money to the UAE

Find the best exchange rates when you want to send money to the United Arab Emirates from the Philippines.

UAE remains as one of the top 10 destinations for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), with over 500,000 OFWs to date. If you have friends or loved ones based in the UAE, here’s a quick guide on how to choose a reliable money transfer service to send funds to them.

Compare international money transfers to UAE from the Philippines

Rates last updated March 29th, 2020
Name Product Description Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
WorldRemit Philippines lets you use your debit, credit or pre-paid card to send instant mobile airtime top-ups.
1 - 2 days
Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer
Easily transfer cash to more than 350,000 locations around the world.
1 day
The ‘Rate’ and ‘Amount Received’ displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

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How to send money to the UAE from the Philippines

The close economic relationship shared between the Philippines and the UAE makes it easy to find banks and service providers who will transfer money to the UAE:

  • MoneyGram. To send money through MoneyGram from the Philippines, you need to go to an agent location and send money in person. Be ready with a valid ID and your recipient’s complete details (name, address, contact number).
  • Western Union. Western Union provides the option of sending money to a bank account in the UAE or as a cash pick up. You can send cash in person from any Western Union agent location in the Philippines. You will need to present a completed Send Money form to the agent, along with a valid ID, money you wish to send, and the transfer fee. Check out fees below. Funds are typically available for pick up within minutes.
Sending amount (PHP)Transfer fee
1 – 10,000500
10,001 – 50,000750
50,001 – 100,000850
100,001 – above1,100

Western Union charges a flat fee of PHP500 for transfers deposited directly to your receiver’s bank account.

  • WorldRemit. WorldRemit is an online international money transfer service provider that allows for money to be sent from a bank account or credit card and picked up as cash from Horizon Exchange and Xpress Money branches located across UAE. Funds are typically available within minutes for pick up, and one working day for bank transfers. To sign up for an account, you need to submit:
  • A photo ID that shows your full name, birth date, ID expiry date
  • Proof of address that includes your full name and residential address. Utility bills and bank statements are accepted.

WorldRemit accepts debit, pre-paid or credit cards issued by Mastercard and Visa. Due to financial regulations, you need to send money coming from your own card, you cannot use someone else’s card to send money from your own account. Fees vary from currency to currency.

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Banks versus money transfer companies

Because a large number of remittances to the Philippines come from the UAE, your bank will be able to easily transfer money between the Philippines and the UAE. However, banks tend to have larger fees than money transfer companies, so your transaction will likely be more expensive through your bank. The exchange rates tend to be worse than money transfer companies. Generally, you’ll save more money and be able to transfer more dirham when you go through a money transfer company instead of your bank.

Carmela Sends Money to the UAE

Carmela’s husband Theo works in the oil industry in Dubai. With his birthday coming up, Carmela wants to send him a gift of $1,000 to spend as he wishes. Rather than pay the $25 transfer fee offered by her bank, she sees if she can find a cheaper alternative with one of the many money transfer companies online. She compares two to see which one offers the best deal.

Money transfer company 1Money transfer company 2
Exchange rate$1 USD = $3.672 AED$1 USD = $3.562 AED
Transfer fee$5$14
Transfer methodBank account depositBank account deposit
Processing time2 business days1-2 business days
Amount received (in AED)$3,672 AED$3,562

As you can see, not only can Carmela send an extra $110 AED by using the first company, but she can also save $9 on transfer fee.

Options for sending money to the UAE from the Philippines

  • Bank transfers. You can safely and securely send funds from a U.S. bank account to an account in the UAE.
  • Online money transfer providers. There are plenty of trusted online money transfer companies that can send secure and affordable transactions.
  • Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Consider companies that offer this service, such as Western Union and MoneyGram.

Know what to look for when comparing transfer services to the UAE

There are a number of factors to consider when looking at ways to transfer money from the Philippines to the UAE:

  • Exchange rates. Exchange rates may appear to be too similar to make a major impact on the amount received, but when applied to higher dollar amounts those differences become apparent.
  • Fees. Most banks will charge a standard fee despite the amount or location where the money is being transferred to. Money transfer providers make adjustments depending on the details of the transaction.
  • Turnaround time. Bank to bank transfers are typically longer and structured around business days, where transfer companies can complete the transaction in just minutes regardless of the day or time.
  • Pick up methods. For regular payments, completed bank transfers can be useful. Yet when your recipient needs cash quickly, the transfer service provider is able to effectively meet that need.
  • Transfer methods. For bank money transfer users, initiating the transaction can take place on a computer. This is not always an option with money transfer companies, and you may be forced to visit a local agency to send money to the UAE.
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Emergency cash transfers to the UAE

If you have joined the large number of Filipinos calling the UAE a temporary home, you may find that at times you need emergency cash sent to you from family in the Philippines. Even if you are not a resident of the UAE there are still methods available that can get that cash to you:

  • Travel insurance. In the event that you have purchased travel insurance for added protection while outside of the Philippines, your policy may cover lost or stolen cash and credit cards. In some cases, you may be asked to provide proof for your claim, such as a police report from local authorities.
  • Transfer service provider. So long as you still have a photo id such as your passport, you can pick up cash at a money transfer service provider agency in the UAE.
  • Credit card insurance. Some credit cards also come with an international travel insurance policy to cover your expenses if your card is lost or stolen. Typically you will be sent a lump sum to tide you over until your card can be replaced.
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Cash pick up locations in the UAE

Below you will find listed a few cash pick up locations for WorldRemit, Western Union and MoneyGram in some of the major cities of the UAE. If your city is not listed here, call the service to find a location more convenient to you or your family:

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Tips for picking up cash in the UAE

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recommends that travelers to the UAE practice normal safety precautions. Still, if picking up cash at a transfer agency, you should be vigilant about your surroundings and travel with a companion who is familiar with the area. Return immediately to your living quarters to secure the cash before continuing with your daily activities.

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