Know the Dirham

United Arab Emirates dirham

For every international traveler traveling to Dubai or United Arab Emirates at large, should have a know-how about the Dubai currency and its denominations. This will help him deal with immediate financial transactions as soon as as he lands in Dubai. The current currency exchange rates and converter is available on websites recommended by the Dubai Government Website.


The currency of the United Arab Emirates is the dirham, also unofficially abbreviated to DH or Dhs. The fils which is subdivision of the currency in many Arab countries is also used by UAE whereby 100 fils make up a single dirham. In the world market, UAE currency is denoted as AED or Arab Emirate Dirham, although the Dubai currency symbol is displayed as AED and Dhs in many places. The value of Dirham in the the global market is regularised by the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Right. Pronounced as dir-ham, dirham notes are available in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000. The coins are available in fils of Dh1, 50, 25, 10 and 5 fils, but 10 and 5 fils are rarely used. Though the value of the denomination mentioned on the currency note is in Eastern Arabic Numerals and text in Arabic, it is easy to remember. However, the reverse texts do have text in English with Eastern Arabic Numerals.


Foreign currency of any country and denomination is readily accepted and exchanged in UAE. The dirham is pegged to the dollar and official exchange rate currently is Dh3.671 for US $1.00. Travelers who want to exchange foreign currency for dirhams could approach private moneychangers  located in the souqks and the shopping centres, who provide the best exchange rate. The UAE Exchange Centre collaboration with Western Union also has branches throughout UAE. Also, banks across UAE also offer good rates.

History of UAE Dirham:

The UAE introduced the first dirham on December, 1971, replacing the Qatar and Dubai riyal at par. Before the introduction of the UAE dirham, the Qatar ad Dubai Riyal were widely used in all emirates except in Abu Dhabi which had started using the dirham in place of the Bahraini dinar. Prior to 1966, all emirates used the Gulf rupee as the currency for financial transactions. The dirham was officially linked to the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights since January 28, 1978, but was mostly linked to the US dollar. Since November 1997, the Central Bank of the UAE has maintained a fixed exchange rate of the dirham against the U.S. dollar to 1 U.S. dollar = 3.6725 dirhams. This ensures free convertibility of the national currency to foreign currencies. However, other currencies such as euro, pound are not fixed to the dollar and their rates with the dirham fluctuate from day to day.

The name dirham was derived from the Greek word “Drachmae” meaning ‘handful’ in Latin.

List of Banks in UAE

Bank working hours are Saturday – Wednesday from 8 am to 1 pm and Thursday 8 am to midday. Banks with branches in shopping malls are open for longer period of time. Banks are closed on Fridays.

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One thought on “Know the Dirham

  • 14 Giugno 2011 at 21:15

    Salve, è possibile avere maggiori informazioni sulla valuta e sul trading in Dirham anche in italiano?

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