Wire Transfers in UAE


Around 75% of the ex-pats living in the UAE utilise wire transfer facilities for international money transfers. Such individuals send money abroad (usually back home) through one of the 125 money exchanges or cash houses present in the UAE. Most of these exchange houses employ SWIFT mode to make such transfers. 

In 2018, about AED 30.4 billion remittances was wired through exchange house and about AED 9.5 billion via the banks in the UAE.

What is Wire Transfer?

A wire transfer is essentially an electronic fund transfer mechanism. Commonly known as bank transfer or telegraphic transfer, it allows ex-pats and nationals to transfer money from one bank account to another. This process is done online via electronic fund transfer or by depositing and transferring cash in person over the cash counter.

Traditionally, wire transfer takes place using a network of Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) or FedWire. Different wire transfer systems offer different ways of settlement, limits of transactions, values, and costs of transactions.

Process of Wire Transfer

Money transferring institutions like banks and exchange houses are responsible for providing the wire transfer facility. To understand how you can use this facility as a user, you can check out the key steps involved in the process –

(1) Sort the Wire Transfer-Related Information – If you plan to transfer funds from your bank account, you would require online banking access and a government-issued ID (usually your Emirates ID or valid passport). Moreover, your account balance should necessarily be equal to or above the amount that you have to transfer. 

Other details that you need to have include –

  • Complete name and contact details of the receiver 
  • Receiver’s bank account name, address, and associated contact details
  • The receiving party’s bank transit number or ABA number or routing number
  • The receiver’s bank account information

Further information can be required at the bank’s discretion. Occasionally, banks can ask for information regarding the intermediary bank, i.e., the bank that your recipient uses for the money transfer. In case you don’t have access to online banking, you can visit the bank and seek assistance for the same offline. 

Non-banking firms also offer the facility of wire transfers and don’t require your bank account details. However, you would need to provide the receiver’s details including their name and address. There are several non-banking institutions like MoneyGram, Western Union, Ria Money Transfer, and others in the UAE that offer smooth and simple solutions for transferring money. 

The following are the details you would need to provide to such organisations –

  • Emirates ID or valid passport
  • Recipient’s complete name, contact number, and address

(2) Costs Involved in Wire Transfer – The next step here is to find out the amount you would need to pay for the electronic fund transfer. Generally, institutions offer options of transferring via telephone banking, online banking, or bank branch visitation. Before transferring the funds, you should make sure that you compare the charges that you might incur and select the payment mode accordingly. 

You can even connect with the transfer agent or bank and ask about the transfer fees, exchange rate details, taxes that would be levied, and the net amount that would be transferred (excluding the fees). This can help you arrange the extra amount before you transfer the funds. 

(3) Fill up the Fund Transfer Form – Once you are aware of the charges for transferring the funds (whether online or offline), fill out the fund transfer application form. It must be emphasised here that you should provide precise information and avoid misspellings or missing out on numbers to prevent the rejection of the transfer. 

(4) Save the Acknowledgement Receipt – Once the transfer has been processed, you will receive a tracking number or code which will work as a confirmation. This transaction number can be used as a reference to check if the money has been successfully processed or not. 

Once the transfer is completed, you will be issued a receipt which can be used to confirm if the funds have been received. Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that international transfers usually take more time than regular transfers.

Note – Wire transfer comprises irreversible and cash-based transactions. It is highly recommended to avoid sending funds using this method to individuals you don’t know well enough. 

Wire Transfer in the UAE

In the UAE, several exchange houses are located across the top malls or on the high streets. You can find several companies in the country that help with wire transfers like –

  • Al Fardan Exchange
  • Wall St. Exchange
  • Al Ansari
  • GCC Exchange
  • Al Rostamani Exchange
  • UAE Exchange
  • LuLu Exchange

You can easily transfer funds from these exchange houses and even make money transfers using your credit card. Such transfers, however, generally take 5 business days to be processed. 

Benefits of Wire Transfers 

The following advantages make wire transfer a preferred mode of fund transfer for UAE residents –

  • There is no bank regulation on the money received via wire transfer
  • The risk of scam is less when it comes to sending and receiving funds using wire transfer 
  • The process is short – it usually takes only a few minutes to transfer the money locally and credit it into the receiver’s bank account.  International transfers, however, can take a day or two.
  • Wire transfers can be revoked only when there is a mutual agreement between the sender and the receiver 
  • You can avoid delays or cancellation of the process by connecting with the receiver and confirming whether they have received the money. In case of any delay, you can connect with the bank or transfer agent and confirm the processing. 

Key Takeaways

  • Wire transfer is commonly used by banks and non-banking institutions like exchange houses to help you transfer money. Generally, money is transferred using a SWIFT code or Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system. 
  • The wire transfer is usually an irreversible and cash-based process.
  • The process of conducting a wire transfer includes – providing all the information about yourself and the recipient, finding out the applicable charges for the transaction, filling up the fund transfer application form, and receiving and saving the receipt. 
  • To start the process, you would need to provide the recipient’s contact information, address, as well as their bank account details. You would also be required to provide your Emirates ID or valid passport. 
  • You should be aware of the charges that might apply for the initiation of the process. The charges can be different for the different wire transfer modes, namely phone banking, online banking, or offline banking at a branch office. 
  • Wire transfer is an easy process. You can transfer money locally within a few minutes, although international transfers can take a few days for completion. 
  • The exchange houses facilitating wire transfers are present in most malls and on high streets. Some of the most notable ones in the UAE are LuLu Exchange, UAE Exchange, GCC Exchange, Al Ansari, Al Fardan Exchange, Al Rostamani Exchange, and so forth.

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