The relationship between Australia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has seen rapid growth over the last decade. As Australia’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, there are numerous financial bonds that tie the nations. As of 2013 there were over 360 Australian businesses based out of the UAE, with investments into the country estimated at $1.3 billion.
The UAE has an even larger investment in Australia with an estimated $17.2 billion in 2013.
There are currently over 30,000 Australians who are living and working inside of the UAE, while 2013 saw close to 1,000 UAE students enrolled in Australian schools. These permanent and temporary immigrants rely on international money transfer services for personal transactions between family members and friends.
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Rashid was raised in Ajman, but is studying at the University of Sydney. Having younger siblings, he is interested in finding a way to send them financial gifts for birthdays.
Rashid has a bank account with one of Australia’s big four banks, so he researches to see if using their money transfer service is cost effective when compared to a money transfer service provider. He uses $1,000 Australian dollars (AUD) in order to see how many UAE Dirham (AED) his brothers would receive.
Money transfer company
$1 AUD = 2.56 AED
$1 AUD = 2.72 AED
Cost per transfer
$22.00 AUD when initiated online or using an app. $30.00 when done at a branch.
$60.00 AUD but this amount varies depending on the amount sent.
Amount received in AED
Time for transfer
Two to five business days
Pick up options
Bank to bank transfer
Cash pick up at an agent
What Rashid noted was a difference in the exchange rates which resulted in more money getting to his siblings when using the international transfer service provider. Even when calculating the difference in the cost of the transfer, using the bank was the more expensive option.
Know what to look for when comparing transfer services to the UAE
As you can see from Rashid’s research, there are a number of items to consider when looking into ways to transfer money from Australia to the UAE:
Exchange rates. Exchange rates may appear to be too similar to make a major impact on the amount received, but when applied to higher dollar amounts those differences become apparent.
Fees. Most banks will charge a standard fee despite the amount or location where the money is being transferred to. Money transfer providers make adjustments depending on the details of the transaction.
Turnaround time. Bank to bank transfers are typically longer and structured around business days, where transfer companies can complete the transaction in just minutes regardless of the day or time.
Pick up methods. For regular payments, completed bank transfers can be useful. Yet when your recipient needs cash quickly, the transfer service provider is able to effectively meet that need.
Transfer methods. For bank money transfer users, initiating the transaction can take place on a computer. This is not always an option with money transfer companies, and you may be forced to visit a local agency to send money to the UAE.
If you have joined the large number of Australians calling the UAE a temporary home, you may find that at times you need emergency cash sent to you from family in Australia. Even if you are not a resident of the UAE there are still methods available that can get that cash to you:
Travel insurance. In the event that you have purchased travel insurance for added protection while outside of Australia, your policy may cover lost or stolen cash and credit cards. In some cases, you may be asked to provide proof for your claim, such as a police report from local authorities.
Transfer service provider. So long as you still have a photo id such as your passport, you can pick up cash at a money transfer service provider agency in the UAE.
Credit card insurance. Some credit cards also come with an international travel insurance policy to cover your expenses if your card is lost or stolen. Typically you will be sent a lump sum to tide you over until your card can be replaced.
Below you will find listed a few cash pick up locations for Worldremit, Western Union and MoneyGram in some of the major cities of the UAE. If your city is not listed here, call the service to find a location more convenient to you or your family:
Worldremit - Dubai
Horizon Exchange Office Nasser Square, Sabkha Bus Stand, Sabkha Street Open Mon - Sun 9am to 12:30 pm, Friday closed
Western Union - Dubai
Al Ansari Exchange, Sonapur Branch Shop no 4 and 5 13 Street B Mu Dubai Phone: +971-4-2641976 Open 7 days a week from 9 am to 11 pm.
Al Falah Exchange Malik Abdul Jalil Mehdi M. Mus Ras Al Khor 9, Al Aweer Dubai Phone:+971-4-3207856 Hours: 7 days a week from 9:20 am to 9:20 pm.
Western Union - Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Central Post Office PO Box 7000 Abu Dhabi Zayed City Ameror Street Abu Dhabi Phone:+971-02-6225415 Open 7 days a week from 7 am to 8 pm.
Airport Road Hamden Street Signal Next to the Modern Pharmacy Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Phone:+971-2-6225544 Open 7 days a week from 8 am to 11:30 pm.
MoneyGram - Dubai
Emirates India International Exchange Al Gaiz Building Nasser Square Dubai Phone: +971-4-42232278 Hours: 7 days a week from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm
Al Rostamani Exchange Hor Al Anz Al Safiya Building Shop Dubai 11& 12 Dubai, 10072 Phone: +971-4-2657727 Open 7 days a week from 9 am to 10:10 pm.
MoneyGram - Abu Dhabi
Al Ahalia Exchange Near Rulers Court-Madinat Zayed Abu Dhabi Phone: +971-2-8848955 Open 7 days a week from 8:30 am to 10 pm.
Malik Exchange – Hamdan Street Nasser Salem Saqer Al Mansouri Bldg Hamdan Street Near Al Mariah Cinema Abu Dhabi Phone: +971-2-6770385 Open 7 days a week from 8:30 am to 11:30 pm.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) recommends that travellers to the UAE practice normal safety precautions. Still, if picking up cash at a transfer agency, you should be vigilant about your surroundings and travel with a companion who is familiar with the area. Return immediately to your living quarters to secure the cash before continuing with your daily activities.
If you find that a money transfer service provider is your best option for sending money to the UAE from Australia, make note of the following to help facilitate your transactions:
Recipient name. Photograph ID is used to pick up cash at a money transfer agency. Ensure that the name you are using for your recipient exactly matches how it appears on their identification document.
Tracking number. When you initiate a money transfer overseas, the agency will issue you with a unique tracking number. This number must be given to the recipient in order for them to be able to receive the money.
Transfer amount. The recipient should know how much has been sent along with your name, address and telephone number.
Loyalty program. A few of the money transfer service providers offer a loyalty program to individuals who transfer money overseas frequently. Not only will this save you time on filling out paperwork with each transfer, it may entitle you to certain discounts.
Retain the paperwork that is given to you at the conclusion of your transaction in the event that there is an issue with your money transfer. This printed receipt provides you with proof of the amount sent and to whom.
It is not only UAE nationals who are in need of service providers to send money from Australia to the UAE. With the large number of Australians working and living in the foreign nation, they too can benefit from finding cost effective methods of sending money to the UAE from Australia.
Marc Terrano is the lead publisher of Points Finder and a co-host of the Pocket Money podcast. He was previously a writer and publisher for home loans at Finder. Marc has a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) from the University of Technology Sydney. He’s passionate about creating honest and simple reviews and comparisons to help Australians get the best value for their money.
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