How to send money to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Find the best exchange rates when you want to transfer money to the UAE from the UK.

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Digital money transfer specialists will almost always offer you more dirham for your pound sterling than your local bank to send money to the UAE. Explore money sending options to transfer between the UK and the UAE to make sure you’re money is going to your recipient instead of to fees.

Compare services that send money to the UAE from the UK

Table: sorted by a combination of service offering and the amount your recipient will receive

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 5 2 days EUR 3.00 4.782 AED
4,782
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
GBP 1 Same day GBP 0.00 4.781 AED
4,781
Whatever amount you transfer, XE will not charge you a fee for using their service. Go to site Show details
GBP 50 Same day GBP 2.99 4.758 AED
4,744
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
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GBP 10 Within an hour GBP 2.00 4.781 AED
4,771
First two transfers free for new customers.
Instant or 1 hour transfers to over 50 countries, send money directly to bank accounts or over 280,000 cash pickup points.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

How to send money to the UAE online

Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:

  1. Sign up for an account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and your preferred payment method.
  2. Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If you’re transferring to a bank, you’ll need your recipient’s UAE bank account details.
  3. Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
  4. Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to the United Arab Emirates. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.

What’s the best way to send money to the UAE?

Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees to send money to the UAE. Some offer transfers straight to UAE-based bank accounts, while others allow the money to be picked up in dirham in person. Banks, PayPal and other options are available but come with high fees, weak rates and longer turnaround times.

Blue icon representing money transfers Image: Infogram

Digital money transfer services

Companies like OFX and CurrencyTransfer specialise in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s UAE bank account, often in as little as a day or two.

Picture not described: BlueCoinsCashIcon_Infogram_94x62.png Image: Infogram

Cash transfers

Services like MoneyGram allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in the UAE – often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money to the UAE, you’ll pay for the convenience in weaker exchange rates and high fees. If a cash pickup is necessary, look to digital services like WorldRemit or XE when possible.

Picture not described: BlueBankIcon_Infogram_62x56.png Image: Infogram

Banks

Dirham probably aren’t carried at your local bank. Even if your local bank can convert your pound sterling into UAE dirham, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending £1,000 to the UAE

Let’s say you need to send £1,000 to friends or family in the United Arab Emirates. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of 3 May 2020.

Digital money transferCash transferBank transfer
Fee£0£1.90£20 + additional correspondent bank fees
Exchange rate1 GBP = 4.54 AED1 GBP = 4.49 AED1 GBP = 4.44 AED
Transfer speed1-2 dayMinutes2-5 days
Amount receivedAED 4,546AED 4,493.91AED 4,440.30
Verdict
  • Best value
  • Fastest
  • Slowest and most expensive

The bank option ends up being the slowest way to send money to the UAE and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient. If you go with the digital money transfer service, your recipient ends up with AED 106 more than the bank offers. If speed is crucial, a cash transfer can typically have your transfer to the United Arab Emirates in as little as 15 minutes for just a slightly higher fee.

How to get the best value when you send money to the UAE

Weigh costs and fees against convenience, and learn how to compare money transfer providers that send money to the UAE to meet your needs:

  • Exchange rates. The GBP-AED relationship fluctuates daily, so using a service that allows you to lock-in exchange prices may help you save money down the line if exchange rates take a turn for the worse in the future.
  • Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger exchange rate.
  • Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the amount of AED you’re sending.
  • Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to the UAE.
  • Maximum limits. When exchange rates are favourable, sending more money can save you money in the future. If you plan to send large amounts of money to the United Arab Emirates, be sure to pick a provider that won’t limit you.
  • Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a UAE bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.

Emergency cash transfer to the UAE

When it’s more important to get your money to the UAE quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes.

You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees are higher than other methods.

How to send money to the UAE without a bank account

If you don’t have a bank account, you can still use cash transfer services to send money to the UAE. Similarly, a recipient can get the money with a cash transfer if they don’t have a bank account.

These cash transfer services are widely available around the world and although they’ll typically not be the cheapest available service they can be fast, convenient and can be used without bank accounts.

UAE’s exchange rates explained

The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weaker currency. The UAE’s exchange rate often fluctuates when compared to the pound sterling, so expect exchange rates today to be different than those you’ll see tomorrow. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.

Track how the UAE dirham trades against the pound sterling in our historical rate chart.

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Updated: 13 Aug 2020 09:14:33 UTC

Documents needed for money transfers in the United Arab Emirates

To send money to the UAE from the UK, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in the UAE may be different by company.

Documents needed to send money to the UAE from the UK

To send money to the UAE from the UK, you’ll need documentation and details that include:

  • Identification. Most services require a driver’s licence, passport or other government-issued ID.
  • Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or cheques.
  • Recipient information. Submit your recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number, UAE bank account and routing number if sending to their bank.

Documents to receive money in the UAE

To pick up money in person, documentation can include:

  • Transfer number. The person sending you money can forward the transfer’s confirmation details – called a PIN, a MTCN, a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
  • Government-issued ID. An Emirates ID that is issued by the Federal Authority For Identity and Citizenship may be required to pick up UAE dirham in person.
  • Amount sent. You may need to know how much was sent, usually within 10% of the total.
  • Sender’s information. Take along your sender’s full name, the sending country and their address, if known.

What to watch out for

Most money transfers between the UK and the UAE shouldn’t have any specific tax obligations attached to them, so long as they are for personal use and kept under £10,000.

Bottom line

It shouldn’t cost a fortune to send money to the UAE. Compare transfer companies that specialise in foreign for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BaloyiMay 14, 2017

    A customer from thr Arab Emirates wishes to pay for her I have provided my IBAN and bank details and bank address she is now saying that they require her date of birth is correct. I am based in the UK

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AnndyAugust 1, 2017Staff

      Hi Baloyi,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Some banks overseas may require you to provide full and correct details about the recipient, for verification purposes. This may include details such as birthdate.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

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