Dubai City Information Site

Currency of Dubai - What to Know About the Dirham




What should you know about the currency of Dubai?

Duh, as much as you can! If you are going to visit or live in Dubai, one of the important things that you must know and have is the city’s currency.

The currency of Dubai exists in the form of the United Arab Emirates Dirham (Dhs or AED – Arab Emirate Dirham).

Dirham notes come in a wide variety of denominations ranging from Dh 5 to Dh 1,000.

Following the Arab tradition, the notes are designed with falcons and the value of each note is written in Arabic.

Even the texture and design of the Dirham has an historic feel, the emblems and writings on each coin look like it were handcrafted.

One Dirham can be divided into 100 fils (the equivalent of cents) and the coins can be obtained in values of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 fils and 1 Dirham. The notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 Dirhams. Like the cases of most currencies, exchange rates may vary. But when markets are stable, the currency of Dubai is pegged to the US Dollar at Dh 3.65 per $ 1, and Dhs 7 to 1 GBP British Pound Sterling.

Coins with a denomination below 25 fils are pretty uncommon, and it is the reason why a lot do not receive the correct or exact change when buying in markets when they use cash. Thus, it would be advisable that you use your credit card. If you have a card that works in Dubai, use it. Moreover, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are widely accepted in Dubai. The Discover credit card does not work in Dubai, though.

If you need to convert your Dirham to other foreign currency, you can exchange it in banks and exchange houses all over the city. Just go the malls or some of the hotels in Dubai and you are sure to find one. It would be a good idea to exchange your currency at the airport since the Dubai airport has better exchange rates unlike in other countries. For your convenience, always have Dhs 100 ready before leaving the airport in case you need cash for a hotel in Dubai, transportation and other smaller expenses here and there.

If you need to go to a bank, better head out to a place called Bank Street. You will find a lot of banks lined up in one street, and you would probably find your bank there since most multinational banks have branches in Dubai. Take note of the banks’ office hours – they are closed around noon for a few hours, and every Friday because it is a religious holiday in Dubai. However, if you need cash instantly, you can just withdraw from the ATM machines scattered all over the city. Dubai has thousands of them! There is one right outside Kish’s parents’ house.

When you visit Dubai, always carry some cash with you especially when shopping at the souks to be able to negotiate freely and get the best bargains. Cash is king and will allow you to negotiate the best deals. When merchant see the “bling”, their appetite for negotiation weakens and you can often walk out with a great deal.

The International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Right regulates and manages the valuation of the currency of Dubai in the global market based on the behavior of the US Dollar. Back in 2007, there were rumors that the Dirham was going to be revalued again after 20 years because of the complaints of local investors as their investments suffered due to the devaluation of the US Dollar.

Because of this, many people rushed out to exchange their dollars. Nothing happened, rumors remained rumors and many folks ended up losing money exchanging currency during that time because many money changers took advantage of the situation on hand. They bought low and sold high. But isn’t that that trick to becoming rich anyway?

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