Looking for the best ways to send money from UAE to India online?
There are a lot of ways you’ll come across to send Dirhams overseas.
Finding the one that strikes a subtle balance between the best exchange rates, low cost, great customer service, convenience, transfer time and security is challenging.
With every company claiming their offering to be the best and the most economical, it becomes even more overwhelming and confusing.
It doesn’t need to be that way! And that’s EXACTLY what this guide is for.
I looked at more than 15 options and curated the top ones for you with the below details in mind:
- Which option provides the best AED to INR exchange rates?
- How much do you “actually” pay in fees (taking into account the hidden charges)?
- How long does the money transfer take?
- Who provides the best offering for convenience and customer service?
I have compared and ranked the most cost-effective methods to convert Dirhams to Indian Rupees.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that earn a commission (at absolutely no extra cost to you). However, that doesn’t influence our content and these are the methods I found effective to remit money from the UAE to India (AED to INR) in 2021. For more information, you can read my affiliate disclosure.
Let’s get started.
Best Ways to Send Money from UAE to India Online
Short on time? Here’s a quick summary for you.
The 5 best online money transfers to India from the United Arab Emirates; based on the overall amount sent to your recipients, after fees and exchange rate margins when sending 10000 AED from UAE to India.
Not only that. I also looked at the overall customer journey experience these providers provide.
- 🥇 CurrencyFair with 0.61% total fees (Cheapest, Our #1 Recommendation)
- 🥈 XE with 0.68% total fees
- 🥉 PaySend with 0.96% total fees
- OFX with 2.5% total fees
- Wise (formerly TransferWise) with 3.5% total fees
Here’s a table for you in a quick snackable format comparing the top 5 options for sending 1000 AED, 5000 AED or 10000 AED from UAE to India.
The amounts below are static but should give you a nice idea of how these different options stack against each other.
|Provider||1000 AED||5000 AED||10000 AED||To Site|
AED-INR exchange rates for calculating overall fees in this guide are static (21 Jul 2021) taken from the websites of the providers reviewed within a few minutes of each other.
If you’re interested to know how the total amount received in India is calculated, here’s another table showing the total fees (in %) derived after considering the flat fee that money transfer providers charge and the markup they add to the currency rates.
You can conveniently toggle through the tabs to compare how different providers price their overall offering.
Can you transfer money from UAE to India?
Yes. There are no restrictions on sending money from UAE to India. You can freely convert Emirati Dirhams to Indian rupees without any hassle or legal constraints. As close to 3.5 million Indians live and work in the UAE cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, AED to INR is a key money transfer corridor.
Because the market is so enormous and important, it is only natural for the remittance market to be very competitive for the UAE to India money transfers. That works in your favour as the companies in the money transfer business come up with the best money transfer deals fighting each other for new customers.
But, to find THE one for you, you need to compare your options, work out the fees you pay, hidden charges and transfer times to make an informed choice.
Well, that’s exactly what this guide is for – help you find the best remittance method.
Let’s jump right in.
How to send money from UAE to India online?
The United Arab Emirates is one of the largest money remitters globally, and no wonder it ranks #1 in remittances made to India.
33.6% of total overseas transfers from the UAE in 2020 were to India (source: Central Bank of the UAE – Annual Report 2020).
As an NRI, the easiest way to manage your money transfer from UAE to India is to send it to your NRE account. You can also send money directly into your NRO account to pay for expenses in India.
An added advantage of sending funds into your NRE account is: you can bring the money back from India to UAE without any hassle (known as repatriating funds).
Related: Do you need an NRE or NRO account to send money to India? (opens in a new tab)
Below are the best (cheapest) money transfer options for Dirhams to INR transfer into your NRE or NRO account.
The most cost-effective method with low mark-up for UAE to India remittance.
CurrencyFair has been in the currency exchange business for over 10 years and lets you transact in 20+ currencies from 150+ countries. They are well-trusted, licensed and regulated and offer a compelling service to exchange UAE Dirhams (AED) to INR.
Usually, Wise (review) tops my recommendation for such guides for the amount transferred to the recipient, but CurrencyFair comes at the top for UAE to India corridor.
Plus, you can use my link below to get the first 10 transfers for free.
- Low markup on the exchange rate (~0.6%).
- Transparent about the fees charged and exchange rate margins.
- New customer offer: ZERO fees for the first 10 transfers.
- CurrencyFair Exchange: a peer-to-peer marketplace to choose your own rate and wait for a match. You could even get a better deal than the mid-market rate on the day (exchange rate you see on Google).
- Rated 4.6/5.0 (Excellent) on Trustpilot based on 5079 customer reviews.
Here’s how the CurrencyFair marketplace works:
CurrencyFair Fees for AED to INR
CurrencyFair charges ~0.60% as fees (inc. exchange rate margin, also known as mark-up) for the AED-INR currency pair on average.
|Google rate||CurrencyFair rate||CurrencyFair exchange rate margin|
Using our link, you’ll get the first 10 transfers for free (that are valid for six months).
For CurrencyFair marketplace (where you can set your own rate to exchange currency), CurrencyFair charges 0.25-0.3% depending on the currency pair you’re converting. If there is no match for your pair, CurrencyFair steps in and match with you instead – in this case, the fees charged are between 0.4-0.6% of the exchanged amount. Plus, there is a fixed €3 transfer fee.
(£0 fees on first 10 transfers with this link)
How to transfer money from UAE to India with CurrencyFair?
- Step #1. Create a free CurrencyFair account Use this link to get the first 10 transfers for free (good for 6 months). Select the amount and click “Get started now.” You can sign up using your email or your Facebook account. Enter your personal details and “Create a personal account.”
- Step #2. Set up your transfer request Enter the amount you need to transfer from UAE (AED). Select INR in the “Recipient Gets” field and you will see the live AED to INR rate today.
CurrencyFair is a regulated financial services company. You might need to upload documents at this step to verify your identity. You can upload your documents here or skip to upload them later. But: you will need to have a verified account before continuing with your transaction. You can upload any of these documents at this step: Passport, Driver’s licence, Identity card or Residence Permit. Whilst you’re get verified, you can continue with your transaction.
- Step #3. Add recipient details. Add the bank details for your new recipient (or your own account) – they will be saved to your account. For your next transfer, you can select and proceed to the final step.
- Step #4. Confirm deposit method and pay CurrencyFair. Now, you need to pay CurrencyFair to place your transfer request using bank transfer. To proceed, click “Confirm Deposit Method.” To complete your transaction, log in to your online banking. Send the amount in UAE Dirhams (AED) to the CurrencyFair bank account using the details given. Make sure you use the “Payment reference” number given and send AED to the given bank account. You’ll have all the details you need mentioned on this screen.
Here’s a quick video showing you the steps:
XE is one of the most trusted names in the remittance industry and a very competitive option for sending money from UAE Dirhams to Indian Rupees.
Chances are you’ve already used XEs data services as many websites rely on XE for providing exchange rates data (the mid-market rate).
In fact: Whenever I need to refer to mid-market rates on Comparism, I usually refer to XE currency charts to explain them better.
XE started as a currency converting tool back in 1993 and has come a long way and now provides money transfer services.
- Competitive fees and low margins on exchange rates
- Transparent delivery times (delivery estimates shown upfront)
- Rated 4.5/5.0 (Excellent) on Trustpilot based on 46,093 customer reviews
XE Fees for UAE to India money transfers
Recently, XE changed their fees structure to new, even lower rates for the INR currency.
XE makes money in exchange rate margin and a small fee of 2 AED for smaller amounts of up to 1300 AED.
The total fee you pay is 0.68% of the total amount you’re sending and is very competitively priced (just behind CurrencyFair).
Above 1300 AED, there are no fees, and you only pay the exchange rate margin.
|Google rate||XE rate||XE margin|
How to Send money from UAE to India with XE
- Step #1. Check exchange rates. Visit XE and select the amount you need to convert from AED (Emirati Dirham) to INR (Indian Rupee). The tool instantly calculates the amount your recipient will get, based on the live exchange rate and applicable fees. From this point on, you know upfront exactly how much your recipient will get – no surprises. Click on “Sign in and send” to proceed and create a free XE account.
- Step #2. Create a free XE account. Now, create a free personal or business account with XE using your email, personal details followed by Address and Date of Birth. Accept the Terms and Conditions and click “Open your Account.”
- Step #3. Get verified. Next, you need to validate your mobile number (it’s easy – wait for the One Time Pin and enter it on the XE site when prompted). Now, you need to wait for your account to be reviwed and verified by the XE team (FCA regulations) before being able to transfer money. This usually takes 1-2 days.
- Step #4. Set up your New Transfer. Enter the amount you need to transfer from UAE (AED) in the You have section. Select INR in the You want section and you will see the real-time AED to INR rate. If you want to send a specific amount to India, you can also enter that in the You Want section. Click “New Transfer.”
- Step #5. Recipient details. Add the recipient details (or your own account); for your next transfer, you can select the previously saved details and proceed to the next step.
- Step #6. Make payment and confirm. Pay XE using bank transfer. To proceed, click “Confirm Deposit Method.” To complete your transaction, log in to your online banking. Send the amount in UAE Dirhams (AED) to the CurrencyFair bank account using the details given. Make sure you use the “Payment reference” number given and send AED to the given bank account. You’ll have all the details you need mentioned on this screen.
PaySend is a fairly new kid on the international money transfer block.
PaySend (review) was founded in 2017 by a team of experts from the banking and payments industry out of frustration from the traditional banking systems. They were one of the first Fintech companies to introduce global card-to-card transfers.
With 3.7 Million existing customers in over 60 countries, PaySend is another great option to exchange Emirati Dirhams for Indian Rupees.
With Paysend, you can send money to India using the below methods:
- Directly to any Mastercard bank card in India – 9 AED fees
- Direct bank transfer to any Indian bank account – 0 AED fees until 01 Aug 2021, delivery on the same day.
- UPI (your beneficiary must have a UPI ID) – 0 AED fees and delivery in a few minutes.
- Paysend Link – the recipient chooses how the money is delivered. All you need is recipient’s mobile number.
- No fees on transfers using UPI or direct bank transfer
- Flat fee of 9 AED for any amount using other methods
- Money usually transferred on the same day.
- Request money using PaySend Link (you generate a link for someone to pay you from overseas)
- Rated 4.7/5.0 (Excellent) on Trustpilot based on 24,718 customer reviews
To know more in-depth details, head over to our detailed Paysend review.
PaySend Fees for money transfer from UAE to India
PaySend charges a flat fee of 9 AED for converting Emirati Dirhams to Indian Rupees, irrespective of the amount you send with them.
Transfers to bank accounts are free until 01 August 2021 – so you can save on the 9 AED fees as well.
In addition to the flat fee, Paysend adds an exchange rate mark-up of 0.87%, on average.
Adding the fees and the exchange margin, the total cut that Paysend keeps is still very competitive, especially compared to banks. As you saw in the comparison table at the start of this guide, the total fees for Paysend range from 1.76% (for 1000 AED) to 0.96% for 10000 AED) and keeps going further down for larger amounts because of the fixed flat fee of 9 AED.
|Google rate||Paysend rate||Paysend exchange rate margin|
How to transfer money from UAE to India with Paysend?
- Step #1. Check exchange rates. Visit Paysend and enter the amount you need from the UAE. Pick AED in the You send section and the Recipient gets to INR. The calculator updates in real-time to show you the amount the recipient will get. It also shows you the fees (9 AED flat), today’s rate and how long the transfer will take – all the key information you need for your money transfer. Click on “Get started” button to proceed and create a free Paysend account.
- Step #2. Create a free Paysend account. Now, you need to follow the standard process of providing your details to create an account. You may be asked to upload your documents for identity verification.
- Step #3. Setup your transfer. Login to your account and enter the amount you want to send. Select how you’d want to pay – bank card, bank account or Paysend link. Paysend will instanty calculate how much your recipient will received based on the current exchange rate.
- Step #4. Provide recipient details. You know the drill – provide your recipient account details in India. And then pay for your transfer.
- Step #5. Pay for your transfer. You can pay using your card or your bank account. Lastly, review your transfer details and Confirm to send the money.
Wise (earlier known as TransferWise) is one of the most competitive money transfer options I have covered on Comparism for various currency pairs.
The exchange rates are excellent as you get access to the mid-market conversion (without any added exchange rate mark-up) that few services offer.
For conversion of AED to INR, because of the fees that Wise charges, it is not the most competitive offering compared to other money transfer options on this list.
I was quite surprised as Wise is usually on the cheaper side of the money transfer spectrum whenever I compare remittance services (read TransferWise review).
The reason is:
For AED to INR corridor, Wise doesn’t offer bank transfer as an option to pay for your remittance. The payment methods available are Debit/Credit card which is usually expensive compared to a local bank transfer.
Adding bank transfer as a payment option would bring the costs down and make TransferWise very competitive.
Despite the good exchange rate and great service, Wise doesn’t fare well in the race for the cheapest way to send money from the UAE to India. And, that’s due to the transfer fees and the amount received in India.
- Zero markups on the exchange rate (you get the rate you see on Google)
- No hidden fees – all fees charged are shown upfront
- Rated 4.6/5.0 (Excellent) on Trustpilot based on 5050 customer reviews.
To know more about Wise (fka TransferWise), you can read my in-depth Wise review.
To send UAE Dirhams (AED) to India with TransferWise, you pay a flat fee of 6.51 AED + 3.56% of the amount transferred.
There is no exchange rate markup added to your transfer.
|Google rate||Wise rate||Wise exchange rate margin|
Here’s how the AED to INR transfer fees with TransferWise looks like:
How to transfer money from UAE to India with TransferWise?
The steps involved in sending money with Wise are:
- Step #1. Check Wise rates. Go to this link and enter how much you want to send in AED – you will be shown the equivalent amount you will get in INR in India along with applicable fees and delivery timelines.
- Step#2. Create a free account. Click “Get started” and sign up using your email or you can opt to use your Apple, Google or Facebook account.
- Step #3. Provide your recipient details. Enter the account details for your recipient in India and follow the on-screen instructions to initiate your transfer
- Step #4. Pay Wise and Confirm transfer. Next, pay for your transfer from the UAE in AED to Wise using your Debit or Credit card. As I mentioned before, bank to bank transfer is not available with TransferWise. Review your details and confirm. That’s it your money is on the way to your recipient.
OFX (formerly known as UK Forex) is a reputed currency exchange that offers bank-beating rates and has moved £80Bn+ so far in remittances for 1Million+ customers worldwide.
OFX doesn’t charge fees on money transfers but rather charges an exchange rate margin.
If you’re sending smaller amounts regularly to India, OFX isn’t effective vs your other options; CurrencyFair, XE, Paysend, and Wise are cheaper alternatives.
But if you are sending larger amounts, OFX provides good value for money as their percentage margin reduces with larger amounts.
- Transparent upfront about the margin kept
- Ability to set a target rate to transfer at (set and forget)
- 24/7 support on the phone
- Rated 4.3/5.0 (Excellent) on Trustpilot based on 4548 customer reviews.
As I mentioned, OFX is doesn’t have a flat fee, so your transfers are free, but they keep a cut from the exchange rate (known as mark-up) that comes to 2-3%, depending on the amount you’re sending for the AED-INR pair.
|Google rate||OFX rate||OFX exchange rate margin|
(£0 transfer fee on 3 transfers)
How to transfer money from UAE to India with OFX?
- Step #1. Create a OFX account. Go to this link and select between Personal or Business account. Provide your personal details – email, home address, and set up a password. Click Submit.
- Step#2. Get verified. Once your account is created, you’ll need to upload identity verification documents – once approved, you can proceed to setup your transfer. The review takes 1-2 business days on average – mine was done on the same day.
- Step #3. Check AED to INR rates. When you’re logged in, you’ll see the exchange rate calculator. Select AED from the drop-down and enter the amount you need to send from UAE. You will see the total amount that’d be received in India and the exchange rate applied by OFX. OFX allows you to make the transfer now at the current rate OR set a target to only make the transfer when the target is met. You can also choose to lock in the rate now and transfer later.
- Step #4. Enter recipient details. Add a new recipient (Indian account details) and follow the on-screen instructions to initiate your transfer.
- Step #4. Review and Pay OFX. Next, review the details you’ve entered so far. Next, you need to pay OFX in AED for your remittance. That’s it.
Use a local bank in the UAE?
While on the quest for the different ways of sending money from the UAE to India, I came across Emirates NBD.
The Emirates NBD money transfer service is called Direct Remit, and it allows you to send money to India for free from the UAE and has very competitive exchange rates.
If I were to rank Emirates NBD in terms of the overall amount received in India, DirectRemit would stack between XE and Paysend. But when I examined the Trustpilot reviews (rated 1.2/5.0)for Emirates NBD, I had to make way for other alternatives that have excellent reviews!
Now, I am unsure if the DirectRemit service itself has got issues or the reviews are more directed towards their bank services. Help me here – if you have used Emirates NBD Direct Remit service, please leave a review below (good or bad), so I can add the information here for completeness.
For your comparison, sending 10000 AED to INR via Emirates NBD will get you ₹201654 to your recipient bank account in India. Or, if you need to send 1 lac rupees to India, you’ll need 4959 AED in UAE.
|1000 AED||5000 AED||10000 AED|
|Emirates NBD Bank||₹20165||₹100827||₹201654|
How much money can you send from the UAE to India?
There is no legal maximum limit for money transfer from the UAE to India that’s imposed by the governments of the UAE or India. You can send as much money as you want from your Dirhams account in the UAE to your Indian bank account.
However, the money transfer companies might apply their own transfer limits for security or other operational reasons.
As an example, Wise has a money transfer limit of 350,000 AED from the UAE to India.
Best apps to transfer money from UAE to India?
All of the options listed above have mobile apps on both major mobile platforms – iOS and Android.
Wise (ex TransferWise) is your best UAE to India money transfer app. With a star rating of 4.8/5 (based on 39,075 reviews) on the iOS app store and 4.4/5 on the Google Play Store (based on 129,215 reviews), it provides a seamless experience and is very easy to use.
Because Wise isn’t the cheapest when it comes to UAE to India corridor, you might want to opt for the alternatives I mentioned as they offer better exchange rates. For app experience alone, Wise tops them all. If Wise introduces the bank-to-bank transfer option for UAE transfers, it will be a killer combination.
PaySend is next with a score of 4.8/5.0 (based on 1431 ratings) on the Apple iOS store and 4.6/5 (based on 55541 reviews) for its Android app on the Google Play store.
OFX is rated 4.8/5 (based on 1071 reviews) on the iOS App Store and 4.5/5 (based on 2850 ratings) on the Android Play store.
CurrencyFair has a customer rating of 4.7/5 on iOS (based on 661 reviews) and 4.2/5 (based on 567 reviews) on the Google Play store.
XE is rated 4.2/5 (based on 2556 reviews) on the iOS App Store and 3.7/5 (based on 104010 reviews) on the Android Play store.
Transfer money from UAE to India online – Banks vs Money Transfer Companies
If you are using your bank to transfer money internationally, you could be paying too much in hidden charges.
Banks might seem to you the most convenient way of sending money from the UAE. And, you’re not wrong to think that – they actually are convenient.
Log in to your existing bank account, go to remittance services within the banking app and transfer money to where you want.
But you need to be careful.
You need to know how much this convenience is actually costing you in real money. And are the bank alternatives really that complicated?
Overseas transfers can be fast and convenient with your bank. But, the exchange rates often carry a markup. That means you never get the best exchange rate for your transfer.
Emirates NBD Bank has launched the DirectRemit service to compete with money transfers companies for the UAE to India, Pakistan and the Philippines corridors. And it is quite competitive.
BUT, I cannot emphasise this enough:
Never blindly trust your bank with exchanging money because there’s nothing like a free money transfer. – Tweet this.
You can check my post here, where I cover why sending money with your bank without comparing it against alternative options is often not a good idea.
Sending money from UAE to India: BONUS TIPS
1. Sending a large amount?
If you send a large amount of money from UAE, one tip could be to break it into 3-4 smaller amounts over a few weeks to average out the price. However, one thing to be mindful of is making one bulk transfer could save you quite a lot in fees, so you need to do a bit of research to find the right balance amongst what works for you.
2. When to send?
Exchange rate movements are closely related to many factors and move along with certain events like Brexit, Covid etc.
Nobody can predict the future markets, but a good tip would be to make your transfer when the currency pair you want to convert has reached a new milestone – needs a bit of patience in tracking the movement over a few days or weeks.
You can find me speak about this in detail and bonus tips about the best time to send money to India.
Do I need to pay tax on money transfers from UAE to India?
You don’t need to pay any tax on UAE to India money transfers. There is no tax applicable as India has signed a tax treaty (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) with 85 other countries and UAE is on that list. As per the DTAA treaty, if you’ve already been taxed in your resident foreign country, you don’t need to pay any additional taxes when sending money back to India.
In the case of UAE, you also don’t pay any taxes as a resident individual so you don’t pay any taxes whilst earning in the UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi or any other city) and when remitting your income to India.
Summary: How to send money from the United Arab Emirates to India at the best rates?
So there you have it.
I hope you’ve found a cost-effective method to suit your needs to send money from UAE to India.
- CurrencyFair has a great offering in terms of a very competitive exchange rate with low markup. CurrencyFair marketplace allows you to set your own rate. No fees for the first ten transfers.
- The next option is XE money transfer for great rates and ease of transfer – the mobile app isn’t outstanding compared to the other options but if you are after a solution that works on your computer anyway, go for XE.
- Paysend (review) is a great balance between what CurrencyFair and XE offer. A great web and mobile experience and very cheap transfers with no fees on bank to bank and UPI transfers.
- If you’re sending a large amount and prefer a bank-like hand holding experience, OFX could work our to be better. After signing up, you also have the ability to speak to your account manager on the phone (24/7 support) to match what you’re getting with other options.
- Wise (review) has a very compelling offering overall – there’s no doubt about that. In fact, Wise are my recommended company for most currency pairs. But for UAE Dirhams to Indian rupee transfers, Wise aren’t the best due to the high fees (no local bank transfer option).
Note: The information provided does not consider your personal needs and circumstances and should not be construed as personal advice. While Comparism provides you with factual information and general guidance to help you make better decisions, it isn’t a substitute for professional advice on financial matters. This guide doesn’t cover every available product or service in the market. You should research whether the products or services included are appropriate for your specific needs and if you’re doubtful, seek professional advice.