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United Arab Emirates (UAE) - Currency

The currency of the UAE is the dirham and the ISO 4217 code is AED and there are 100 fils to a dirham. You will sometimes see the less formal DH or Dhs used in some of the shops.

Up until 1966 all the states that would later join together to become the UAE used the Gulf rupee with a couple of variations before 1973 when the dirham was introduced. In 1978 the dirham was pegged to the IMF, in reality the U.S. dollar, at around 1 dirham to 0.272294 dollars.

Dirham means “handful” and is taken from the Greek word Drachmae and the name has survived due to the trade through the centuries.


The first dirham coins introduced in 1973 were 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 fils and 1 dirham. In the mid 1990’s the 50 fils and 1 dirham coins were made smaller and the 50 fils coins were given seven sides, similar to the English 50p coin.

The value of the 1, 5 and 10 fils coins is negligible and they are very rarely used, prices are rounded up or down to the nearest 25 fils. The 1 fils coin is almost non-existent and most of them are probably hidden away done the backs of settees and in pots of loose change.

The reverse side of the coins has text in English and numerals in Arabic. The obverse, or front, has the text written in Arabic with the numerals in Eastern Arabic


In 1973 the notes were issued with values of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 dirham, followed by a 1000 dirham note in 1976. In 1982 a new series of notes came into circulation but without the 1 and 1000 dirham notes. To keep up with the ever increasing demand for different notes a 500 dirham was issued in 1983 and a 200 dirham in 1989 and finally for the big spenders a 1000 dirham note was re-introduced in 2000.

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