When sending money to the UAE, finding the best way to do so can be confusing. 

Whether your transfer is for personal or business purposes, navigating the many options available can be daunting. 

In this article, I will highlight some of the most popular methods to help you find the fastest and cheapest way to send money to the UAE.


Best Way to Send Money to the UAE: My Verdict

The best way to send money to the UAE depends on the transfer amount and urgency.

For most people, online money transfer services like TorFX and XE are the cheapest and fastest way to send money to the UAE.

These services offer more competitive exchange rates and lower transfer fees than traditional methods, helping you get more dirhams for your money. 

Transfers are processed faster than other methods, with funds typically received in the UAE between 1 and 3 working days after initiation. 

However, although some providers like Currencies Direct, OFX and TorFX can accommodate large transfers, some services limit the amount you can send in a single transfer. 

In this situation, you may find a bank transfer more suitable.

Bank transfers are a convenient and secure way to send money to the UAE, but they usually take longer and have less favourable exchange rates and higher transfer fees, making them less cost-effective.

What’s the Cheapest Way to Send Money to the UAE?

CompanyTransfer Fee (£100)Exchange Rate (£100)Transfer Fee (£2,000)Exchange Rate (£2,000)Learn More
TorFX£04.6429£04.6434Visit TorFX
Currencies Direct£04.6365£04.6361Visit Currencies Direct
OFX£04.4280£04.5656Visit OFX
Revolut£1.004.64891£13.004.64906Visit Revolut
Wise£1.61 (bank/SWIFT) or £2.03 (card)4.6629£11.45 (bank/SWIFT) or £19.77 (card)4.6627Visit Wise
XE£1.994.6213£1.994.6213Visit XE

TorFX is the cheapest way to send money to the UAE, combining a competitive exchange rate with free transfers to minimise costs and maximise the value of your pound.

Whilst Currencies Direct and OFX also don’t charge a transfer fee, TorFX has a better exchange rate.

Wise and Revolut offer more favourable exchange rates but also charge transfer fees, which can be significant if you send more money. 

These transfer fees counteract any potential gain you would make, so you’d still receive more UAE dirham for your pound using TorFX.


What’s the Fastest Way to Send Money to the UAE?

CompanyTransfer SpeedLearn More
XEWithin 24 hoursVisit XE
Wise1 working dayVisit Wise
Revolut1 working dayVisit Revolut
TorFXWithin 2 working daysVisit TorFX
Currencies Direct1 to 3 working daysVisit Currencies Direct
OFX1 to 5 daysVisit OFX

XE is the fastest way to send money to the UAE, typically completing transfers within 24 hours, making it ideal for emergencies and time-sensitive situations.

Wise and Revolut also offer fast transfers, with the recipient receiving funds in the UAE in around 1 working day.

As you can see from the table, the average transfer speed of the providers I evaluated is around 2 to 3 working days.


Can I Send Money to the UAE Online?

There are several ways you can send money to the UAE online. 

  1. Online Money Transfer Services: Providers like Currencies Direct and OFX offer fast transfers with better exchange rates and lower fees than traditional methods. Although the user-friendly platforms have various payment options, they’re unsuitable for recipients without bank accounts in the UAE.
  2. Bank Transfers: Best used for securely sending large amounts of money, bank transfers are familiar and reliable, with no need for a 3rd party service. However, they’re one of the slowest ways to send money to the UAE, so they’re unsuitable for emergencies.
  3. Digital Wallets: You can conveniently use platforms like PayPal to send money to other PayPal accounts. Although fast, it’s only suited to smaller amounts as digital wallets tend to have a low maximum transfer limit. 
  4. Cash Pick-Up Services: You can send money online through services like Western Union and MoneyGram, which the recipient can pick up at agent locations in the UAE. This method is suitable for recipients without a traditional bank account but tends to have higher fees and a weaker exchange rate. 
  5. Prepaid Debit Cards: You can load money onto prepaid cards like Revolut online for the recipient to spend or withdraw in the UAE. Ideal for those without access to a bank account in the UAE, prepaid cards have fees for loading money or ATM withdrawals, reducing the amount the recipient can access.
  6. Cryptocurrency: Although helpful in sending money to the UAE with lower fees and faster transaction times, the value of cryptocurrency is highly volatile and has limited acceptance.

Sending Large Amounts of Money to the UAE

CompanyTransfer LimitLearn More
Currencies DirectNo limitVisit Currencies Direct
OFXNo limitVisit OFX
TorFXNo limitVisit TorFX
RevolutMost currencies have no limit, but the app will show any exceptionsVisit Revolut
WiseUp to £5,000,000, depending on payment methodVisit Wise
XE£350,000Visit XE

If you need to send a large amount of money from the UK to the UAE, the best way is to use a reputable online money transfer service. 

Online money transfer services often offer competitive exchange rates and lower fees than banks, maximising your transfer’s value.

Although some providers limit the amount of money you can send to the UAE, Currencies Direct, OFX, and TorFX don’t have a maximum transfer limit, giving you greater flexibility. 

These services also provide a dedicated account manager for larger transfers, guiding you through the entire process, which includes extra verification and regulatory compliance. 

Alternatively, you can arrange a transfer through UK banks like RBS and NatWest. 

Banks have a long-standing reputation and trustworthiness, which may provide peace of mind when transferring large sums of money.

However, they often charge higher fees for international transfers, including fixed fees and unfavourable exchange rates, making them more expensive than online money transfer services.

Due to additional verification processes and intermediary banks involved, they can also take longer to reach the UAE, typically ranging from 1 to 5 working days, especially for large amounts.

Be aware of any tax implications associated with sending large amounts of money to the UAE, both in the UK and the UAE. Consult with a tax advisor or financial professional to understand any tax obligations or implications related to your transfer.

Can I Set Up Regular Payments to the UAE?

There are several ways you can set up regular payments to the UAE.

  1. Online Money Transfer Services: You can schedule transfers automatically at regular intervals through services like Wise and TorFX. They’re flexible and convenient, but some services have transfer limits or restrictions. 
  2. Standing Orders: Suitable for fixed payments like mortgages or loan repayments, standing orders are easy to set up but have limited flexibility for changing payment amounts or frequencies without setting up a new standing order.
  3. Direct Debits: Commonly used for recurring bills and memberships, Direct debits are convenient, but you won’t have control over the payment amounts or timing.
  4. Digital Wallets: Platforms like PayPal and Skrill are handy for recurring payments like e-commerce purchases and subscriptions. Although transfers are quick, many services have low maximum transfer limits, making them unsuitable for sending large amounts of money to the UAE.
  5. Cryptocurrency: Suitable for those already familiar with digital currencies, cryptocurrency has lower transaction fees than traditional methods but has high price volatility and limited acceptance.

Sending Money to Businesses in the UAE

Online money transfer services like OFX and XE are an excellent way to send money to businesses in the UAE.

Ideal for making regular payments to suppliers, vendors, or partners or funding business operations, these services are user-friendly, fast and cost-effective.

While many services can accommodate larger amounts, some limit how much you can send to the UAE.

Alternatively, you can directly transfer money from the UK to popular UAE banks like Emirates NBD or FAB. 

Bank transfers are a secure and reliable way to send large, on-time payments or regular transactions between business accounts.

However, they have higher fees and longer processing times than online money transfer services.

Some transfer providers may require you to provide further information, including the purpose of your transfer and the recipient’s 15-digit Emirates ID/ EID number.

They may also request documentation like an invoice or contract to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.

How to Send Money to the UAE

How you can fund your transfer to the UAE depends on your transfer method and service provider.

  • Bank Transfer: Ideal for large or regular transfers, bank transfers and a secure and reliable way to pay for your transfer to the UAE. However, they can be slower and more expensive than other payment methods. 
  • Credit Card: Suitable for smaller transfers or emergencies where sending more quickly is essential, using your credit card is quick and has additional consumer protection. However, it can incur high fees and interest rates, making it less cost-effective. 
  • Debit Card: This method is best used for smaller transfers when you can access the amount you want to send. Like credit cards, debit card payments are fast and widely accepted but usually have lower fees.
  • Digital Wallet: Ideal for sending small amounts of money, digital wallet payments are near-instantaneous but have limited acceptance among money transfer providers or banks compared to traditional payment methods. 
  • Cash: Suitable for those without a traditional bank account, cash payments are quickly processed but can be more inconvenient than other methods. They’re also subject to a cash handling limit, making them unsuitable for large transfers.
  • Cheque: This method provides a paper trail and record of payment but is rarely used for international transfers to the UAE as it has the slowest processing times. Exchange rates can also be less favourable, meaning you’ll receive fewer dirhams for your pound.

What Details Do I Need to Send Money to the UAE?

To send money to the UAE from the UK, you typically need:

  1. Recipient’s Contact Details: Make sure you have the correct spelling of the recipient’s full name as it appears on their identification, as well as their address, email address and mobile number.
  2. Recipient’s Bank Details: You’ll need the recipient’s bank name, branch address, account number, 23-character IBAN, and the 8-11-character SWIFT/BIC code.
  3. Alternative Payment Details: If you’re using a digital wallet or cryptocurrency method, you’ll need the recipient’s e-mail address or mobile number. 
  4. Further Information: For tax purposes, some services may ask for details, such as the reason for the transfer or the recipient’s 15-digit Emirates ID/ EID number.
  5. Additional Documents: Your provider may ask for further documents depending on how much you send to the UAE. These documents could include copies of government-issued IDs such as passports, proof of address, and sources of funds.

Once you have these details, you can initiate the transfer through your chosen money transfer provider, whether a bank, online money transfer service, or other platform. 

Double-check all the information before confirming the transfer to ensure it reaches the recipient accurately.

How Much Does it Cost to Transfer Money to the UAE?

There are various costs associated with sending money to the UAE.

Transfer Fees

The service provider charges transfer fees for sending money from the UK to the UAE.

Some providers may offer flat fees, while others may charge a percentage of the transfer amount.

Typical transfer fees range from £0 to £5 per transfer for online money transfer services or £10 to £30 for bank transfers.

Exchange Rate Margin

The provider typically offers an exchange rate when converting British pounds to UAE dirhams. 

This rate may include a margin added to the real exchange rate, at which currencies are traded in the global market.

The difference between the exchange rate offered by the provider and the real exchange rate is known as the exchange rate margin. Providers often make a profit from this margin.

Generally, banks have an exchange rate margin of between 1% and 4% above the mid-market rate, whilst online money transfer services have a lower margin of 0.5% to 2%. 

Bank Fees

Banks involved in the transfer process may charge fees for processing international transactions. 

These fees can include outgoing transfer fees from the sender’s bank in the UK and incoming transfer fees from the recipient’s bank in the UAE. 

Additionally, intermediary banks that handle the transfer may also deduct fees along the way, reducing the final amount received by the recipient.

Bank fees are usually nominal if you use an online money transfer service. If an intermediary bank is involved, fees may be around £0 to £10 per transfer.

In contrast, banks may charge fees ranging from £10 to £30+ per transaction. 

Recipient Fees

Upon receiving the transferred funds, the recipient’s bank in the UAE may deduct fees before crediting the amount to the recipient’s account. 

These fees could vary depending on the recipient’s bank and account type. They typically range between £0 and £10 per transfer for online money transfer services or £5 to £20+ for bank transfers.

Additional Charges

There may be extra charges depending on the transfer method and any additional services you opt for. 

For example, some providers may offer expedited transfers for an additional fee. In contrast, others may charge for services like payment tracking or cancellation fees if you need to modify or cancel the transfer.

If you choose an express transfer option, you should expect to pay around £5 to £20 per transfer for online money transfer services or £10 to £50+ for bank transfers.

How Long Does it Take to Send Money to the UAE?

The time it takes to send money to the UAE depends on your transfer method.

With online money transfer services, your money can reach the UAE within 24 hours for express transfers. Standard transfers usually take 2 to 5 working days.

In contrast, bank transfers can take 1 to 5 working days to reach the UAE.

Bank transfers typically involve multiple intermediary banks that facilitate the transfer process. Each bank may have its own processing times, which can add to the overall transfer duration.

General transfers funded by card are processed faster than those funded by bank transfers.

If currency conversion is involved in the transfer, factors such as exchange rate fluctuations and the availability of liquidity in the foreign exchange market can also impact transfer speed.

Similarly, transfers initiated during banking hours and on business days may be processed more quickly than those initiated outside banking hours or on weekends and public holidays.

Compliance with regulatory requirements, such as anti-money laundering checks and verification procedures, may introduce additional processing time, particularly for larger or more complex transactions.

My Methodology

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best app for sending money to Dubai?

Can I Send money to the UAE through PayPal?

Can I transfer money to a UAE bank account?

How do I send money to someone without a bank account in Dubai?

How can I send money to Dubai instantly?

Is it safe to send money to the UAE online?