UAE Exchange Review: Exchange Rates, Transfer Fees & Alternatives
UAE Exchange is an Abu Dhabi-based foreign exchange, global remittance, and bill payment company, established in 1980. The company has been at the forefront of money transfer services in the Middle East and Asia regions.
This review will take you through UAE Exchange’s exchange rates and fees, the kind of payments you can make, how to send and receive money, and how to utilise this money transfer service to get the best possible deal.
As of 2015, UAE Exchange had more than 9000 employees drawn from over 40 nationalities, giving a true reflection of the communities it serves. UAE Exchange handles over 6% of the global remittance payments, making it one of the largest money transfer companies in the world. As of 2018, UAE Exchange had a customer base totalling 15 million and a strong partnership comprising 140 reputable banking institutions.
India is a key market for UAE Exchange, accounting for more than 40% of its staff and offices. States like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra contribute close to 60% of the total inflows recorded by the company. Daily, UAE Exchange serves over 400,000 customers in its 839 branches located in 32 countries worldwide.
Throughout 2018, UAE Exchange facilitated the transfer of 128.9 billion dirhams, a 6% rise from the volume it processed in 2017. However, it is also important to note that online money transfers can only be made from the UAE to other countries. Customers in the other markets use UAE Exchange physical branches for international money transfers.
UAE Exchange rates and fees
UAE Exchange is one of the most transparent money transfer companies for exchange rates and transfer fees. Through the transfer widget on the website, you can tell how much you'll pay in fees and the rate at which your transfer will be converted. UAE Exchange online transfers can only be made from the UAE.
Much like other money transfer providers UAE Exchange makes some money off both transaction fees and exchange rate margins.
On average, UAE Exchange charges anywhere between 0.05% and 1.5% in exchange rate margins. This will vary depending on your transfer, but below are three scenarios that give you an indication of what you can expect to pay.
Sending 5000 United Arab Emirates Dirhams to the United Kingdom: The beneficiary will get £1,048.83 at an exchange rate of 1 AED = 0.20977 GBP. The mid-market rate currently is at 1 AED = 0.212391 GBP translating to a 1.23% margin.
Sending 5000 United Arab Emirates Dirhams to India: The recipient will get 99,423.00 Indian rupees at an exchange rate of 1 AED = 19.88467 INR. The mid-market rate at the moment is at 1 AED = 19.9037 INR translating to a 0.096% margin.
Sending 5000 United Arab Emirates Dirhams to Pakistan: Your beneficiary will receive 209,677.00 Pakistani rupees at an exchange rate of 1 AED = 41.93549 PKR. Currently, the mid-market rate reads 1 AED = 41.9611 PKR which means the provider charges a 0.061% margin.
You can also set an alert for your preferred rate on the transfer widget by clicking on the 'Set Alert' tab and inputting your contact details.
The provider charges a nominal fee ranging between AED 10 and 45 based on the destination, size of the transfer, and payout method. Again, here are three scenarios showing a sampled amount in fees UAE Exchange charges.
Sending money from the United Arab Emirates to Pakistan
Bank Transfer delivery option: Amounts between 0.01 and AED 736 attract AED 16 in fees. Any amount as from AED 737 does not attract any fees.
Cash payout delivery option: When you send any amount from 0.01 to AED 752.97, you'll be charged AED 20. Any amount of AED 752.98 attracts no fees.
Sending money from the United Arab Emirates to the Philippines
Bank Transfer delivery option: You'll be charged AED 20 for any amount you send.
Cash payout delivery option: The provider will charge you AED 25 for any amount you transfer.
You need to check the pricing for every individual transfer before you put it through. The fees are fixed for any transfer range hence the larger the transfer size the lower the fees per unit of the amount sent.
All fees and margins are paid by the sender. However, any beneficiary-side charges like landing fees, SWIFT charges, and intermediary bank fees are paid by the recipient.
In its terms and conditions page, UAE Exchange makes it clear that there could be bank-end charges and foreign correspondent bank fees. The provider will deduct these charges from the transfer amount payable to the beneficiary, so it’s worth checking with your bank or other relevant institutions that could impose additional fees before making your transfer.
UAE Exchange pros and cons
As a brand, UAE Exchange is synonymous with international money transfer not just in the Middle East but the world over. There are some specific attributes and features that make it particularly attractive to users, and also a few drawbacks that might mean you would want to look elsewhere to make your transfer.
What kind of payments can I make with UAE Exchange?
UAE Exchange allows its customers to use a variety of transfer payment and withdrawal options. This convenience gives the users the flexibility to transfer money to their recipients irrespective of their location.
Payment methods available
When paying for your transfer, you can choose from any of the following methods:
Wire transfer: You can transfer your funds to the UAE Exchange account through wire transfer. To pay for your transfer, you must first log in to your UAE Exchange account and initiate the transfer. Ensure you choose wire transfer as the payment method and note the UAE Exchange bank details. Then log into your local UAE bank and make the payment.
Net banking: This payment method works through the online banking system and is instant. Once you choose net banking as the transfer payment channel, the system will redirect you to the UAE Payment Gateway System (UAEPGS) page where you choose your bank and login to make payment.
Direct debit: This is another convenient method where you authorise your bank to allow UAE Exchange to withdraw funds from your bank account via your debit card details. You can make the authorisation by visiting your branch or via the website.
Cash: When transferring money from a UAE Exchange branch, you can pay for your transfer in cash.
Withdrawal options available
UAE Exchange has simple, swift, and secure payout options that enable you to move money across geographies and currencies. There are three payout options available.
Bank transfer: The funds are credited into the recipient's bank account as provided in the transfer instructions. Bank transfers are generally desirable for transferring large amounts of money.
Cash payout: The recipient can collect the funds in cash from a payout location near them. This option is convenient when sending money to remote areas with no access to formal banking facilities.
Mobile wallet transfer: In June 2014, UAE Exchange partnered with M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer service in Kenya to allow transfers directly into M-Pesa mobile wallets. The maximum you can transfer in a single transaction is 70,000 Kenya shillings ( around $700 worth) and the maximum you can transfer per day is $1,400. The M-Pesa mobile wallet can hold a maximum of $1,000. The recipient can withdraw the cash at an agent, pay bills from the phone, or send the funds to their bank using specific pay bill numbers.
How to send and receive money with UAE Exchange
UAE Exchange has developed innovative and technology-led solutions to help you send and receive money hassle-free and enjoy savings in the process. Whether you are an individual or corporate client the provider has you covered.
How to send money with UAE Exchange
There are two main phases to sending money with UAE Exchange. First, you have to sign up for an account and then initiate and pay for your transfer. To sign up for an account, you must be an Emirates resident aged 21 years old and above.
Account creation: On the signup page, fill in your name, pick your nationality from the dropdown menu, key in your UAE mobile number, enter your email address and password. Once you’ve confirmed that the details are correct, click on the ‘Create my Account’ tab.
Account activation: You’ll be sent an email with your Customer Registration Number and a code will be sent to the registered mobile number. To be activated, visit any of the provider’s 150 branches in the UAE with your Emirates ID.
2. Making your Transfer
Transfer details: Click on the ‘Send Money’ tab and input the details of where you want to send the money to. Choose the country, the amount you want to send, the transfer method (cash payout or bank), the payment method (net banking, wire transfer, or direct debit). Then confirm your transfer by clicking on ‘Send Money’.
Recipient details: Key in the recipient’s name, gender, nationality, the country they are in, state, city, their address, your relationship with them, their phone number and email address. You should also add the preferred payout method, your source of income and the purpose of the transaction.
Payment details: Choose your payment method and follow the prompts to pay for your transfer.
How to receive money with UAE Exchange
Bank and mobile wallet transfers are deposited directly into the recipient's accounts. They can withdraw the money or spend it in whichever way they prefer. For cash payout, the recipient can collect the funds in cash from any Xpress Money agent cash pickup location in their country. The following information is needed to collect the money:
A valid, original photo ID
The 16-digit XPIN number
Does UAE Exchange have an app?
Yes, the provider launched its app in November 2017. The app is available on both Google Play and the App Store as a free download. Using the app, you can access the following services:
Online money transfer
Exchange rate calculation
Currently, the app has a 2.4/5 rating on Google Play with a total of 1895 reviews and 3.1/5 on App Store with 417 reviews, so it is fair to say that UAE Exchange has a bit of work to bring its app up to the standards of some other providers.
How fast are UAE Exchange's transfer speeds?
Mobile wallet transfer and cash payouts are instant. Bank transfers take 2 to 3 days to be delivered. Currency routes with lots of intermediaries and correspondent banks may take an additional day to complete the transfer.
Are there maximum and minimum transfer amounts?
UAE Exchange has no minimum transfer amount but has daily, and monthly transaction limits as listed below:
Daily transaction limit: Customers can make up to 2 transactions to the same recipient per day. The daily transaction limit is AED 200,000.
Monthly transaction limit: Customers can transact up to AED 500,000. The maximum number of transactions per month is 8.
Can I trust UAE Exchange?
UAE Exchange is one of the most well-known and trusted companies in the money transfers space. It was established as a limited liability company in 1980 in the UAE by Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty and HE Abdulla Humaid Ali Al-Mazroei, a former UAE Minister for Justice. Initially, the company was offering demand draft services, and later on in 2001 it launched the Instant Cash 'Xpress Money' service.
The launch of online money transfer through the website and mobile app in 2017 was such a huge milestone for the provider. Customers could now transfer money with ease and convenience to various destinations worldwide. In April 2018, UAE Exchange was brought under Finablr, a London Stock Exchange-listed financial services holding company.
Apart from UAE Exchange, Finablr boasts of famous brands like Xpress Money, Remit2India, Travelex, Unimoni, Ditto and BayanPay.
UAE Exchange is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate as an Authorised Payment Institution in the UK under reference number 504329. It is also regulated by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.
UAE Exchange holds 3 ISO certifications as summarised below:
ISO 27001 certification for information security management obtained in 2015
ISO 14001 for environmental management obtained in 2010
ISO 9001:2000 for quality management systems obtained in 2004
Key industry partnerships
The provider has partnered with other money remittance services to expand its global reach and tap into third party innovations that propel its business. Here are some of the strategic partnerships:
Ripple: The provider has a partnership with Ripple, a San Francisco-based currency exchange and remittance network for seamless cross-border transfers.
Ooredoo: In 2018 UAE Exchange entered into a partnership with Ooredoo, a leading telecom headquartered in Doha. Ooredoo customers can now recharge their prepaid mobile phones at any of the 60 UAE Exchange outlets in Oman.
M-Pesa: Through its partnership with Kenya's M-Pesa mobile money service, Kenyans in the UAE can now send money to their families through mobile wallet transfer.
Federal Tax Authority (FTA): UAE Exchange customers can make their Value Added Tax (VAT) payments at any of its 150 branches across the UAE.
The company has also partnered with over 140 reputable banks to serve as its transfer payout points
Encryption and customer data
The provider has put in place measures to ensure customer information in its custody is fully secured. The UAE Exchange platform is designed with innovative proprietary technology that incorporates the following:
A 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption
Unique 16-digit customer registration number and password to identify users each time they log on to the UAE Exchange website
Firewalls to ensure that Customer information is secured in databases and only accessed to facilitate transfers.
UAE Exchange is an award-winning brand thanks to its innovative products, business excellence, customer service initiatives and corporate citizenship programmes. Among the top awards the company has bagged include:
Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MRM) Business Award 2017: The provider ranked top for business excellence and outstanding customer service
Skoch Order of Merit Award 2018: This award acknowledges UAE Exchange's exceptional currency exchange services
Dubai Quality Gold Award 2016: Recognises business and organisational excellence
Dubai Service Excellence Scheme Award 2011: This award recognises businesses that maintain exceptional service standards and adhere to a code of ethics
Banker Middle East Products Award 2011 in the Best Exchange Category: UAE Exchange was acknowledged as the highest achiever based on the success of its financial products and services
On Trustpilot, UAE Exchange has a TrustScore of 4.8/5.0, one of the highest in the financial services industry. In total it has 13606 reviews, 12196 of which are rated 5-star. Customers have highlighted the following experiences with the provider:
Can I cancel my transfer?
As long as the transfer has not been paid out to the beneficiary, you can cancel it by sending an email to the customer service team. Cancellation charges and any exchange rate adjustments will be charged to the customer.
Top destinations for using UAE Exchange
On its website, the provider has listed the following destination as the most frequented by its online transfer customers.
To get help with your transfer or a query you may have, you can use any of the following customer support platforms.
Telephone: You can reach UAE Exchange on phone 24/7 at 600 555 550. Calls are charged at the normal rate based on your telephone network provider.
Email: This support platform is the most appropriate for detailed queries that may not be easily described on the phone. You can email customer care at email@example.com.
UAE Exchange is one of Finablr's brands dedicated to offering money transfer, foreign exchange, and payment solutions to businesses and individuals. Since its founding in 1980, the company has championed financial services innovation in the Middle East and Asia. Currently, UAE Exchange has over 9000 employees drawn from over 40 nationalities.
In terms of geographical coverage, the provider has a total of 839 branches spread over 32 countries. Customers can send money online or at branches near them through cash pickup, bank transfers, and mobile wallet transfers. Transfer payments can be made through net banking, wire transfer, or online transfer.
However, while you can send money all around the world with UAE Exchange, you can only sign up for an online account and use the service via the internet if you live in the United Arab Emirates. If you're based elsewhere then you'll need to find another provider to use online services, but you can still send money by visiting UAE Exchange's physical locations.
As an ISO certified and FCA regulated entity, UAE Exchange has gained trust among its customers. For instance, it has a TrustScore of 4.8/5 on Trustpilot, with more than 12,100 5-star reviews.
When shopping around for a credible online money transfer provider, UAE Exchange can be that one-stop shop. However, it's always good to compare the different providers available on your transfer route before committing. Our money transfer comparison tool can help you do a quick analysis to help you find the right provider for your needs.Compare Providers Now