If you are visiting Dubai or recently have moved there you must know at least the fundamentals of the currency used in Dubai. I like the appearance of Dubai currency. I have many one dirham coins saved and not less than one bill of every denomination. I find them exotic looking and the coins have a historic feel to them.
Get a hold of a one dirham silver coin and just feel its edges. They wouldn’t be straight. Examine the emblems and writings and it seems like every coin is hand crafted. The print on the coin looks like it was handmade.
Enough of sentimental talk. Dubai shares the same currency that is used in the remainder of the country (as you would expect), the Arab Emirate Dirham or AED. It is called Dirham for short and you will see it abbreviated as either Dhs. or Dh.
The dirham has long been pegged (since 1980 I believe) to the US Dollar at Dh. 3.65 per $1. It’s divided into 100 fils (the equivalent of cents). The notes come in denominations of 5,10,20,50,100,200,500 and 1000 Dirhams. The coins come in one, five, ten, twenty five, and fifty fils and december global holidays one dirham.
It’s very rare to get coins with a denomination below 25 fils and so they are not as commonly used. In fact it is common not to obtain the exact change in markets if you’re using cash to shop. Be cautious.
I would personally recommend you to make use of credit cards whenever possible. If your credit card works in Dubai (most US issued cards do), use it. MasterCard, Visa and American Express are accepted in most places in Dubai.
Be careful about Discover though. For some reason this card is rarely accepted anywhere outside the US, at least in my experience. I’ve tried using Discover both in India and Dubai and it did not work. It does work next door in Canada though lol.
Anyhow, you can convert your Dubai currency to any other foreign currencies liberally. You could do the exchanges at banks and exchange houses which are everywhere in Dubai. Simply visit any mall and you’ll find one inside.
I’d suggest exchanging your currency at the airport. Unlike most other countries, the Dubai airport is actually a good place to cash in your dollars or anything else for Dirhams. You will usually find better exchange rates compared to other airports.