With 80% of the UAE population being expats, it’s no surprise that AED 18 billion a year gets sent ‘home’ from the UAE, meaning remittance is big business – and a highly competitive one. There are dozens of exchange houses, banks and online brokers who will help export your money. More than half of the remittances in the UAE go to Asian countries like India, Pakistan and the Philippines, with the UK, Australia and Canada also popular.
The exchange houses will give you an exchange rate and a transaction fee – in general, the better the exchange rate, the higher the fee. Fees often range from AED 5 to 25, with the average processing fee around AED 20. Another aspect to look for is the speed of the transfer – some can take seconds and some can take 3-5 days to clear. Typically, sending $200 from the UAE to Asia will cost around 3-5% of the total transaction, making the UAE one of the cheapest countries in the world to remit money from. The more money you send, the better rates you’ll receive.
Ask your current bank for advice as they may be able to give existing customers preferential treatment. Some banks will also offer free direct remittance to selected countries, while the larger the amount you send, the better value deal you’ll be offered.
Waiting until the exchange rate leans in your favour can make a difference – the UK/dirham exchange rate is currently at one of the lowest points for years meaning any money sent home will go a lot further.