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

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

Sending money between South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Between banks and money transfer companies, you have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to converting your rands to dirham. Be sure to compare the fees you’ll be charged and familiarise yourself with the common exchange rates in order to get the most out of your transfer.

Compare international money transfers to UAE

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 1 Within an hour ZAR 250.00 0.252 AED
Use promo code FREE to send your first transfer with no fee. T&Cs apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
USD 2,000 1 day ZAR 0.00 0.253 AED
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
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EUR 8 3 - 5 days EUR 3.00 0.252 AED
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
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How do international money transfers work?

International money transfers allow you to send South African rand to another country in its currency. If you have friends or family in the UAE, then transferring ZAR to AED makes it easy to help out when someone you love is in need. You can use cash, a credit card or transfer money directly from your bank account when you complete a transaction with a money transfer company. Your recipient can then pick up the cash in person or have the money deposited into their bank account. The process is generally quick, and if you compare fees and exchange rates ahead of time, it doesn’t have to be costly.

Banks versus money transfer companies

Because the UAE dirham is traded globally, your bank will be able to easily transfer money between South Africa 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.

Jenna sends money to the UAE

Angelique’s husband Michael works in the oil industry in Dubai. With his birthday coming up, Jenna wants to send him a gift of R5,000 to spend as he wishes. Rather than pay the R500 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 rate1 ZAR = 0.18 AED1 ZAR = 0.15 AED
Transfer feeR60R150
Transfer methodBank account depositBank account deposit
Processing time2 business days1-2 business days
Amount received (in AED)889.20 AED727.50 AED

As you can see, not only can Jenna send an extra DH161.70 AED by using the first company, but she can also save $9 on transfer fee.

What to compare when looking at money transfer companies

  • Exchange rates. How do each company’s rates compare to those offered by other providers? Are they higher, lower or roughly the same when compared to the competition?
  • Fees. How much will you have to pay when you send a transfer? Can you avoid a transfer fee when you send a large amount of money?
  • Transfer methods. What options are available for making transfers: online, over the phone or at a branch? Is there a smart phone app available?
  • Transfer options. Can you lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer the money later, known as a forward contract? Does the institution offer limit orders, which allows you to take advantage of changing market conditions by executing the money transfer when a certain exchange rate is met? Can you schedule recurring payments?
  • Turnaround time. How long will it take for the funds you send to make it into your recipient’s bank account or wallet?
  • Minimum amount. Is there a minimum transfer limit you will have to meet?
  • Pick-up methods. Will the funds be available for collection from a branch or will they be transferred straight into your recipient’s bank account?
  • Customer service. Are phone, email and/or online customer support offered?
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Foreign exchange rates explained

Exchange rate is determined by the global political and economic climate. A currency may be strong or weak against another depending on how the country is doing. Because exchange rates fluctuate, the best way to get more dirham out of your rands is to find the trends and make a transfer on a day where a ZA rand is worth more UAE dirham. Below, you can see a real-time update of what the mid-market rate for ZAR/AED is, as well as what it has been historically.

ZAR to AED: Historical rate chart

Updated: 21 Oct 2021 08:49:37 UTC

Options for sending money to the UAE from South Africa

  • Bank transfers. You can safely and securely send funds from a South African 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 pick-up options. Consider companies that offer this service, such as Western Union and MoneyGram
  • Cheques. International cheques can be obtained from your bank and sent overseas.
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How to send money to the UAE

Transferring money isn’t difficult, but it can be confusing if you’ve never done it before. Here are the steps you should follow when sending money from South Africa to the UAE.

  1. Compare the exchange rates and fees of the money transfer companies in the chart above.
  2. Click the “Go to Site” link and register with the provider.
  3. Enter your recipient’s information and confirm how much money you want to send.
  4. Pay for your transfer.
  5. Keep the tracking number close to make sure your transfer is completed successfully.

That’s it. If your recipient is picking up cash, they will also need the tracking and confirmation numbers to complete the transaction.

Tips for picking up cash in the UAE

There are a few simple precautions you can take to ensure you and your money remain safe. Avoid any dangerous parts of town and make sure not to advertise the fact that you’re carrying around a large sum of cash. Ask a friend to come along when you pick up your cash, and as soon as you can, deposit your money into a secure bank account or safe.

Emergency cash transfers to the UAE

Although there are companies that are willing to make emergency transfers of ZAR to AED, be mindful that this is an expensive process that will have more fees and a worse exchange rate than the slower, more traditional process. You’ll have to pay extra to get the money to the UAE quickly, so if the transfer can wait, it’s best to compare your options and avoid unnecessary charges.

Cash pick-up locations in UAE

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