How to buy UAE dirham with a credit card

By   |   Verified by Andrew Boyd   |   Updated 22nd March 2022

Looking to get some UAE dirham (AED) for a trip to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, or somewhere else in the UAE?

You can use a credit card to purchase UAE dirham in Australia or while you’re in the UAE. But, there are a few important things to bear in mind since some choices can be quite costly. Find out how it works with this guide.

Before travelling

Buying UAE dirham with a credit card in Australia

If you haven’t used a credit card to purchase UAE dirham before, there are several important considerations to be aware of.

What cards you can use

  • American Express, Mastercard, and Visa. You can buy UAE dirham using any Australian credit card. However, buying foreign currency will typically be classed as a cash equivalent that incurs the interest rate for cash advances and the cash advance fee.

Where you can buy UAE dirham with a credit card

  • Your bank's local branch. Most local bank branches carry foreign currency, making them one of the easiest ways to get UAE dirham. The problem will be their exchange rate, which is very unlikely to be the best available.
  • Currency exchangers. Various exchangers sell UAE dirham and other currencies.
  • Money transfer services. You can use an international money transfer service to buy UAE dirham with your credit card and send it to someone or a business. Their rates are typically very competitive.

While overseas

Buying UAE dirham with a credit card while in the UAE

If you’re already in the UAE, here’s how to get UAE dirham using your credit card.

  • At a bureau de change. Since there are so many tourists and immigrants in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the UAE in general, finding an exchange bureau where you can buy UAE dirham is very easy. However, purchases at a bureau de change will be classified as a cash equivalent and incur interest at the cash advance rate. A one-off cash advance fee will also be applied, plus a foreign currency fee if your card charges one.
  • Withdrawing from an ATM. Using an ATM may be convenient, but it is an extremely expensive way to get UAE dirham. Not only will you be charged interest at the cash advance rate, the cash advance fee, a possible foreign currency transaction fee, and a fee for using an overseas ATM.

What it might cost

Fees

Type of feeIncurred in Australia?Incurred overseas?Cost
Cash advance interestYesYesAround 20% (daily, no interest-free period)
Cash advance feeYesYes2 - 3% (one-off)
Foreign currency feeYesYes2 - 3% (one-off)
Overseas ATM withdrawal feeNoYes2 - 3% (one-off)

Get rewarded when you spend using a credit card with frequent flyer points.

Want more help?

FAQs

Can you earn credit card points when buying UAE dirham?

No. Buying UAE dirham or another foreign currency like Thai baht will be classed as a cash equivalent and won't be eligible to earn any credit card points.

Can you get cashback when buying UAE dirham?

No. It will be regarded as an equivalent to cash and won’t earn qualify for cashback.