Monetary Units of Abu Dhabi

The currency of the UAE is the Dirham – not to be confused with the Moroccan Dirham. It is referred to as the Emirate Dirham.

The UAE currency abbreviation is DH, Dhs or AEDand in Arabic the abbreviation is د.إ (which translates to A.D.) and the ISO numerical code is 784.

Changing money is easy in the UAE with lots of money changers at the airport and in the shopping centers. Use our currency converter below to see how much your currency is worth in UAE dirhims.

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UAE Currency Notes and Coins

The UAE notes come in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 bills. The bills are colorful and make a great souvenir as they have beautiful scenes from the UAE on them.

100 of the subunit or Fils equals one Dirham. The Fils come in 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 Fils coins. An examination of the UAE bills and coins will give you a pretty good history lesson as they feature faces of famous Arab historic figures.

The coin values are in Arabic numerals and Arabic text but on the paper notes the value appears on one side of the bill in Easter Arabic text and Arabic numerals and on the other side in Hindu Arabic numerals and English text.

Abu Dhabi Guide Insiders Tip

If you are shopping in the UAE and using currency it is good idea to create a small pocket chart of amounts such as 5AED, 20AED, 50AED, 100AED, 500AED with your countries exchange so you don’t get confused by the prices.

How far will your UAE Dirham go?

You will find that coins below 25Fils may not be accepted as they are of little value. Your foreign currency can be exchanged in banks, hotels and at the airport, the banks will give you the best rate.

There are also many money exchange places but the rates may not be reliable. The exchange rate is influenced by a number of factors but in essence is pegged to the USD and remains relatively stable at approximately $1US = 3.67AED.

You’ll find that accommodation is usually the biggest expense in the UAE with rent on a 1 bedroom apartment costing on average between $850 – $1,400US a month.

To give you some idea of prices:

  • a 1 liter bottle of Cola – AED3.50,
  • a pair of sports shoes – AED185,
  • a domestic beer – AED15,
  • cappuccino – AED20,
  • small bottle of water – AED5.50,
  • cinema ticket – AED25
  • a one way ticket on public transport about AED1-2.

Use our UAE currency converter above to find out the conversion rate in your currency.

History of the UAE Currency -The Emirate Dirham

The bedouin people used more solid forms of exchange for years and coins were more acceptable to them than paper money which didn’t fare well in the hot weather and its value couldn’t be “felt”.

But gradually they too reverted from coins to the more practical and widely accepted paper money (even hand-written paper notes) which was introduced to the Trucial States around the 1930’s.

With increased trade with India the “External Rupee” or “Gulf Rupee” became the official currency in 1959 and remained in use until the 60’s. For a brief time the Saudi riyal was used and then Abu Dhabi (Bahraini Dinar) and Dubai (Qatar Dubai Riyal) together with other Emirates used their own currency unit.

The UAE did not have a single currency unit until the UAE were united (1971) and together with the unification came a nationalized and unilaterally accepted currency in 1973. The Central Bank of the UAE now issues the national currency.

Note: The UAE currency is also known as the Dubai currency or Abu Dhabi currency.

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