If you’re looking to expand business operations into the Middle East, or set up a new business in Dubai, for example, you’ll likely need the ability to transfer money quickly from the UK to the UAE. You'll want to do it cost-effectively to keep as much of your precious profit as possible. That’s where we can help.
In this guide, we’ll talk you through your different options for sending money to the UAE for your business transactions, along with the potential cost implications and other helpful information. Let’s get you up to speed.
What methods of payment are available?
- Banks usually charge a fee to arrange and process money transfers
- Some banks may also charge a percentage of the total amount you’re transferring (as much as 3-4%).
- Banks may use their own foreign exchange (FX) rates which could cost customers up to 5% more.
- You have a choice of how the money is received. Many services offer bank transfers, eWallet delivery, or cash pickup from a physical location.
- If you want a faster transfer, you’ll probably pay significantly more.
- These services often add a currency exchange rate markup, meaning the sender must pay more or the recipient receives less. Either way, the provider pockets a healthy profit.
- Wire transfers can be less secure and more difficult to trace. Ensure that an independent body regulates your provider for greater peace of mind. The DFSA in Dubai regulates 3S Money.
Money transfer services
- It uses the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) payment system to enable financial transfers to and from 200 countries worldwide.
- The UAE’s Central Bank has access to the Gulf Corporation Council’s Real-Time Gross Settlements system (GCC-RTGS), enabling instant money transfers between GCC states.
- The Arab Regional Payments System (BUNA) enables central and commercial banks to send and receive cross-border payments through the Arab region. This multi-currency platform encourages financial integration to promote ease of trade and investments across the region.
- Through Project Aber, the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) is looking to use technology to make cross-border payments with its closest neighbours more efficiently. While not yet operational, Project Aber would involve the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) and the CBUAE in developing a common digital currency.
- In 2020, the UAE and Israel signed an agreement to allow direct SWIFT payments between the two nations.
Online payment platforms
- Savings: EMIs offer lower fees and more competitive FX rates than traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
- Simplicity: All your business transactions are accessible in one easy-to-use platform.
- Scale: Your business can grow quicker with greater access to multiple countries and currencies.
What currencies are supported?
The UAE uses the Dirham as its official currency and has the AED international code.
Before 1966, the UAE used the Gulf Rupee, which was tied in value to the Indian Rupee. When the Indian Rupee was devalued, some Emirates used the Qatar and Dubai Riyal, while Abu Dhabi used the Bahraini Riyal. In 1973, all the Emirates adopted the Dirham and have used a single currency ever since.
You can make transfers from the UAE in many different currencies however, it’s always recommended to send (and request) transfers in the local destination currency. This helps both you and your recipient save money.
The currencies available will depend on your provider, but 3S Money offers 65+ currencies (with FX rates up to five times lower than traditional banks).
Currencies Receiving from UAE
AUD, BGN, BRL, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, PKR, SEK, SGD, TRY, USD, AED.
Currencies Sending from UAE
AUD, BGN, BRL, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, PKR, SEK, SGD, TRY, USD.
Factors to consider when sending money to the UAE
Fees and charges
- Outgoing transfer fee: You’ll most likely be charged a flat fee for sending an international transfer. For UAE banks, this can be up to AED 100 (approx. $27). 3S Money charges just $1 (or your local equivalent) per transfer, regardless of how much you send.
- Incoming transfer fee: A flat fee for receiving international payments can range from zero to 25 AED ($6-7 USD). 3S Money charges $0.00.
- Initiation fee: Some banks might charge you a fee if you request the transfer over the phone or in person rather than online. Expect this to be around £20. 3S Money doesn’t charge initiation fees.
- Commission: Banks might also charge a fee based on a percentage of your transfer amount. For UAE banks, this is currently around 3-4%. 3S Money charges just $1 per transfer (or your local equivalent) regardless of how much you send.
Speed of transfer
- Transfers via traditional banks tend to be the slowest. They often have a correspondent bank through which the money is sent, leading to longer processing times.
- Transfers using the SWIFT network can take up to four working days to reach the recipient.
- Wire transfers vary in speed, depending on the provider and product. Some providers offer cash pick-up or mobile wallet options where the money is available within minutes. Bank transfers typically arrive the next day.
- Remember, if you send a payment over a weekend or public holiday, expect your money to take longer to reach its destination.
- The federal government in the UAE has implemented a four-and-a-half-day working week. Standard working hours are 7.30 am - 3.30 pm on weekdays and 7.30 am - 12 pm on Fridays.
Religious and public holidays
Security and safety
- Beware of transfer scams.
- Don’t send cash in the mail.
- Always confirm you have the correct details (i.e address, recipient name, account number etc.)
- Using a wire transfer or money transfer app is usually safer.
Transfer limits and regulations
- Some providers cap the amount you can send in a single transfer, so you may have to do several.
- There may be a limit on the number of transfers you can make in a 30-day period.
- Larger amounts can take longer to process, depending on the provider.
- Your provider may enquire about large transfers. This is considered best practice and an essential part of how regulated institutions meet their obligations.
Benefits of opening a 3S Money account in UAE
- Access to multi-currency accounts: 3S Money allows businesses to open multi-currency accounts. This means they can hold and manage funds in various currencies.
- Easy cross-border Transactions: With a 3S Money account, businesses can often make cross-border transactions more efficiently and at competitive exchange rates.
- More streamlined B2B payments: 3S Money may offer features like expense management, invoicing, and reporting tools designed to meet the specific needs of businesses and streamline B2B payments.
Overview and next steps
- With a 3S Money International Business Account, you aren’t capped at how much you can transfer to and from the UAE (you can access 65+ currencies across 190+ countries.)
- Even small delays to payments can be a big issue for small businesses, so plan to ensure your transfer arrives on time.
- Avoid many small transfers where possible, as individual fees can add up.
- Ensure that an independent body regulates the provider you use. 3S Money is licensed by the DFSA and uses safeguarding to protect 100% of your funds.
3S Money - the better bank account alternative in UAE
Yes, it is possible to transfer money through email using certain financial services. For example, PayPal allows users to send and receive payments through email but you’ll need to set up a PayPal account and link it to your bank account or credit card.
There are many platforms to transfer money from India to the UAE however, the process will be different for each platform. i.e., the transfer fee, time taken, exchange rates, and process followed.
International money transfer providers like Western Union are reliable and well trusted for sending money from Tunisia to the United Arab Emirates.