The local currency in Dubai is called United Arab Emirates Dirham. The abbreviation for UAE Dirham is AED or DH both used internationally with the sole exception is that AED is used before the actual value while DH we write after the value. When arriving in the United Arab Emirates, it is wise to exchange some money but do it always in banks. Some Middle Eastern countries do not allow you to take out their currency abroad and there is not much chance to exchange or buy these abroad either. Normally tourists like to change their currency back before travel.
It is interesting to note, that until the Sixties’ the national currency of Dubai was the Indian Rupee. Unbelievable but true! The number and effect of India on The United Arab Emirates had been high a long time ago as we can see. That is why some old residents of Dubai still call the Dirham as “Rupee”.
The banknotes of Dirham are printed by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates. One of their sides is printed in English, the other one in Arabic. The banknotes of the United Arab Emirates Dirham are printed in France and in the UK. Interestingly in many of the bigger shops in Dubai, the shops accept also payments in USD, EUR or GBP referring to the British Pound.
Talking about exchange, you can exchange money in any of the Dubai banks or in any of the certified exchange offices. Shopping malls also have at least one exchange office open at the same time as shops open and close in Dubai. However, always take care to go to an accredited exchange office or bank and always take care of how much you get, even count it and see the papers, in order to avoid any bad situation later on.
The most popular offices, on which many say they are exchanging the best rates even, are the Al Ansari and the Al Rostamami the latter being part of Thomas Cook travel agencies.
Let us talk about how the banknotes of Dubai look like exactly:
5 Dirham – brown
10 Dirham – green
20 Dirham – turquoise
50 Dirham – purple
100 Dirham – red
200 Dirham – orange (older ones are brown)
500 Dirham – blue
1000 Dirham – brown (larger than the 5 dh note)
As for the coins, they use fills, out of which, you will see the 25, 50 and 1-dirham coins the most commonly.
Naturally, the latter two types (500 and 1000 Dirham banknotes) will be the ones you will see the most rarely. There have been problems with the similar colours of the 5, the 200 and the 1000 Dirham banknotes. For these reasons, the 1000 Dirham note is larger for and the colour of the 200 Dirham banknote has been changed to orange.
Apart from these types of banknotes, there is something called “Chicklets” which they would give or attempt to give you as return, but try not to accept, as afterwards you cannot be able to do anything with them. They are frequently given at petrol stations and small shops or supermarkets. The Chicklets are not official money.
Some interesting facts:
There was a plan some years ago, that the six GCC or Gulf countries, namely UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, would issue a common currency and this process would end by 2010. But Oman decided to say no to this plan in 2006 and eventually also the Emirates pulled out as soon as they realised that the centre of the GCC Bank, which would have been the responsible for the whole operation, would be headquartered in Saudi Arabia, and not in the area of the United Arab Emirates.
Since 1998 there are some very worthy commemorative coins issued by the Central Bank of Dubai. Some years ago, they issued 2500-dirham coins made out of the best gold.
That is the story including some basic and interesting information on the currency of Dubai. If you would like to know more about the Dubai currency, visit the Dubai Municipality Museum open every weekdays except Friday.
Many of you already know that the currency used in Dubai is called Emirati Dirham. The Dirham and the Dinar are the most frequently used types of currencies all over the Arabic world. The Emirati Dirham is not a weak currency, as one USD equals almost four Emirati Dirham, abbreviated as AED or DH.
The AED is used as a currency since the late Sixties in the whole area in Dubai and the whole United Arab Emirates too of course. It’s interesting to note that there are a short period in the life of Dubai, when the local currency had been Indian Rupees. This period has ended in the Sixties but there are still some older residents mentioning Dirham as Rupees for this very reason. When you arrive in Dubai, it is wise if you will exchange some of your money to Dirham. Unlike other countries, the airport of Dubai is a good place for exchanging money. The Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Right regulates the currency in Dubai (UAE) and it in real regulates currency in Dubai in a way that it follows the monetary movement of the USD as opposed to other currencies on the global market. The main and easiest conversion of currency in Dubai (UAE) is: 1 USD = AED 3.67
One hundred Fil equals one Dirham. There are coins though, which are called just Chicklets that you may get at petrol stations if you do not oppose. These are not money for you to use so try not to accept it but ask for normal money. Dubai people are notorious for not giving you the exact change when you pay with cash so always count through before leaving a place. You can try to avoid using the UAE currency in Dubai by mostly using credit cards but of course, there are situations when this is not possible. The ATMs accept Mastercard and Visa but take care with AMEX and other cards as they can be turned down. Good examples for this are Diner’s Club and Discovery credit cards.
The United Arab Emirates used to share a plan with the other Gulf Countries to establish their own and common currency but the plans have been delayed to 2015. As of now, UAE currency in Dubai is the one which is mostly used although in some stores you can also pay with USD. EUR is not that much accepted. You can find the following bank notes and coins of UAE currency in Dubai: 5,10,20,50,100,200,500 and 1000 Dirham. As for the coins, you will see them in 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 fils and 1 dirham. The old style silver 1 dirham looks really great, if you are lucky you may receive one. As you see the UAE currency in Dubai is multicoloured and do not be surprised either if someone will tell you Rupees for the upper mentioned reason.