The currency circulated in United Arab Emirates is the UAE Dirham, which is also known as Dh or AED. The notes of Dirham are available in several denominations, which include 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000.
Dirham coins are available as Dh 1, 50 fils, 25 fils, 10 fils and 5 fils. Coins with lower denominations than 25 are rarely used. 1 Dirham comprises 100 fils, and the value of Dirham is fixed against the US Dollar.
Besides Dirham, USD and few others are accepted in most of the stores, hotels, restaurants and taxis. USD and Euro are commonly accepted at duty free shops in the airport.
ATMs are located across the country, mostly in the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Most of the ATMs accept foreign credit and debt cards, including Maestro, Switch, Visa and Cirrus. ATMs are also located at several petrol stations and supermarkets as well as shopping malls.
Dubai houses various money exchange centres such as Al Razouki International Exchange Company, the UAE Exchange Centre and Thomas Cook Al-Rostamani. Al Ahalia Money Exchange, Al Ansari Money Exchange, Al Bader Money Exchange and Al Fardan Exchange are some of the money exchanges in Abu Dhabi.
There are a number of domestic and international banks in the country. Some of the globally known banks located in Dubai are Barclays, Citibank, Standard Chartered, HSBC and Lloyds TSB.
Money can also be exchanged at number of foreign banks located in Abu Dhabi, such as Bank of Baroda, Citibank, Habib Bank AG Zurich and Standard Chartered Bank. Ajman has several banks as well, such as Ajman Bank, Arab Bank PLC, Commercial Bank International, Dubai Bank and Commercial Bank of Dubai.
Both banks and exchange centres located within the country operate from 8 am to 1 pm, from Saturday to Thursday. However, some of the banks reopen from 4 pm to 6 pm from Saturday to Wednesday.
The exchange centres reopen from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm operating from Saturday to Thursday. Since Friday is a holiday in Dubai, all the banks are closed on this day, while exchange houses open for sometime in the later half of the day.
Besides cash, travellers’ cheques are also widely used. In order to avoid additional exchange rates, travellers’ cheques in US Dollars and Pounds are better. Besides, credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, Visa and MasterCard are also widely accepted in the country.
For use of credit cards at the ATMs, no personal tax is deducted, though some fees may be charged for the service. The rates offered by the banks are generally less compared to the rates offered by the exchange centres.
In addition, most of the hotels in Abu Dhabi also exchange money and travellers’ cheques at standard rates. Moreover, most of the local banks in Dubai transfer and exchange money on the client's behalf. Most of the times, the exchange rates offered by these banks are better compared to those located at the airport.
1 Dirham is equivalent to 0.272 US Dollar. However, the currency conversion rate for other currencies like Euro, INR and Pound variy on a daily basis as the rate is not fixed.
Other than banks and money exchange centres, one can also get the money exchanged from money lenders. These money lenders often offer better rates; however, some of them refuse to accept travellers’ cheques or accept one or two specific types of cheques.
Money lenders prove to be beneficial only in case of exchanging large sums of money. Those who avail services of money lenders should ensure the authenticity of these lenders before exchanging the sum.
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