Regardless of nationality, most of us are here in the UAE for one common reason- to earn and save money. High salary brackets with no income tax on them attract professionals from across the world, who will be going back to their country at some point in the future. Everyone wants to make their savings work well for them, and most prefer to save it in their own currency. How to send money back home effectively and easily is therefore an important question for most people in the region.
In this feature, we have shortlisted things one should bear in mind when planning to send money back home and different ways of doing this.
Things To Bear In Mind When Sending Money Back Home
Before we jump to the options, let’s get familiar with the common things we need to know. Sending money overseas is not a tough task, however, a little research can pay well.
Be aware of the current exchange rates of your currency- It is important to keep handy the current exchange rates of your currency, so you know how much it is going to cost you. To keep the information handy, you can download apps such as XE which updates the latest currency exchange rates. Knowing the currency exchange will help you make a decision on when is the right time to send money back. Do legal research- There are a number of exchange houses which offer attractive rates to lure customers, but are not registered with the regulatory bodies. Transferring money through these exchange houses is quite risky, therefore do proper research to avoid losses and falling into the trap of fake money exchange houses.
Evaluate each option- Once you have all options handy, evaluate and compare each option. Discuss the costs, negotiation parameters and assess the time it takes to transfer money before you make a final choice.
There Are Three Options To Send Money Back Home
There are three popular ways to send money from the UAE- bank transfers, exchange houses and online transfers. Make sure you do proper research to get the best deal.
Money exchange houses
It is the most popular way to send money overseas. There are many registered exchange firms such as UAE Exchange, Al Ansari Exchange, Lulu Exchange, Al Ghurair Exchange and many more. There is usually a flat fee per transaction, which generally ranges and depends on the country of remittance. It is advisable to know the exchange rate each exchange house offers, as it may vary from firm to firm. Where possible, it is recommended to secure a better exchange rate, to send large amounts in one go rather than small amounts multiple times. Do your maths, before you send money.
Banks are generally considered to be the safest option as the level of risk and fraud involved is almost nil. While some banks in the UAE such as Emirates NBD have direct remit services allowing free transfers from the UAE to some countries, other banks have similar services at cheaper rates. Exchange rates between banks and other money transfer services also vary, but this can work to your advantage as long as you calculate the overall costs, including transaction rates.
Mohsin Aikal, Head of Liabilities, Noor Bank said, “Dubai being a cosmopolitan place attracts expat residents across different geographies. Amongst numerous requirements, one of the key aspect for residents living in Dubai is to transfer funds back home. In 2017 the total remittance from UAE amounted to Dhs 1,64.3 billion; growth of 2.2% from 2016. According to a report by the UAE Central Bank, an amount of Dhs 121.66 billion was transferred through money exchange while the rest went through banks.”
Another popular method of sending money is through online transfers. You simply open an account with a reputable online portal through which you can send money to your home accounts in the local currency within minutes. Western Union is one of the most prevalent channels for this option.
We, at Connector, also spoke with expats from different nationalities to know their preferred way of sending money overseas.
Henry Coyle, British expat
"I send money through the website currencyfair.com. I have opened a Dirham account with currencyfair.com. I transfer Dirhams from my HSBC account to my Dirham account with currencyfair.com. HSBC charges Dhs 100 per transaction. Currencyfair.com then transfers my Dirhams to UK pounds in my local HSBC account in the UK. The rates are far better if I directly transfer through HSBC Dubai to HSBC UK."
Jatin Gupta, Indian expat
"I have opened a Non Resident External (NRE) account with an Indian Bank. Since I am an ENBD customer, I linked my NRE account with an ICICI Direct Remit account. I transfer directly from ENBD to the ICICI account in India. There is no transaction charge and rates are good. Exchange houses may give slightly better rates, but the hassle of taking out money and going to an exchange house is not worth the savings."
Naweed Lalani, Pakistani expat
"I have an overseas account in Pakistan. From my local UAE bank, I send money to my overseas bank through direct remit. There is no transaction fee involved."
So whether it’s the bank, money exchange or online transfer, make sure that you do your maths and research, and choose the best option for yourself.