Dubai banks now offering free online remittances

Published:  9 Jan at 6 PM
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Dubai’s forex service companies are feeling the heat as Dubai banks begin offering free online remittance services.

Banks across the UAE are now offering free remittance services via online and mobile banking in order to claw customers away from the emirate’s currency exchange businesses. Forex company remittance charges are typically between Dh16 and Dh22 to send remittances back to expats’ home countries, and are now having a tough time as more banks run free services, promotions and other benefits.

First Abu Dhabi Bank is leading the field with its mobile and online banking free remittance service, offered as unlimited for selected currencies. Emirates NBD isn’t far behind with its free direct remittances to countries in Asia, slated to take just 60 seconds to complete. Other banks are advertising promotions as well as offering the expat community free money transfers. Taking into account this month’s introduction of VAT at 5 per cent across the board, online remittances for expats are looking even more attractive.

According to UAE Central Bank figures, total remittances by foreign workers in the emirate are huge, with Dh78 billion being sent out during the first six months of 2017 and representing almost half of the country’s total balance of payments in 2016. Nationalities involved are Britons, Indians. Pakistanis, Egyptians and Filipinos, and the introduction of free remittances is likely to increase the total, thus pleasing the banks. Meanwhile, the 1,000 plus branches of 125 exchange houses in the UAE have announced they will be passing on the 5 per cent VAT charge to their customers, which may not be their best idea to date.
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