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Do You Need Cash In Abu Dhabi?

Do you need cash, credit cards or both in Abu Dhabi?
AED Dirhams available in notes from AED5, but cards are more useful.
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Abu Dhabi currency and payments

From my experiences in Abu Dhabi, cards are widely accepted and cash is very rarely required. There are important exceptions. I suppose with the prices of a lot of what you are buying then it's quite reasonable to expect cards to be accepted, and that is mostly the case.

Is it better to carry cash or card in Abu Dhabi?

As mentioned, it's not a cheap place. 'High Tea' for 2 cost us AED 520 (£113.14 on the card). Main courses can cost as much, and even a lot more, than a full meal back in the UK. So heading out as a small group for a meal, with taxis, you might feel a little concerned about loosing a wallet with so much cash. So on the whole, contactless payments via phone and card feels safer.

Can I pay by card in Abu Dhabi?

Certainly and most places expect it. If you are shopping in small shops they might not be so happy and the important exception is if you are travelling on the local bus where you are expected to pay cash. But these busses were infrequent and with the price of taxis, which take you door to door, we never used public buses.

Can I pash by cash in Abu Dhabi taxi?

Whilst every taxi driver read out the fare and instantly followed with the words 'credit card', yes, cash is equally acceptable. We did have a couple of strange looks as the driver much prefered the quick tap of contactless to having to find change for our AED100 or AED50 note (most of our taxi fares seemed to be AED45 with an odd one up to AED55), and in the week we were there one driver did try to keep the full AED100 for a AED45 fare. When I said 'call it 50' the change appeared. We also had 3 drivers insisting on counting out the change so that we didn't pay a single Dirham more than the meter, but I didn't want a pocket of coins that I didn't recognise.

What is the best currency to take to Abu Dhabi?

AED - Dirhams is the Abu Dhabi currency, which is shared with the other Emirates. We were given 20, 50 and 100 Dirham notes in the exchange before we left, but 5 and 10 notes were also in circulation with 1 dirham coins and smaller 'fills'. About AED4.5 = £1 at the time of writing, the Dirham is the local currency and what everyone is expecting. If, like us, you make it to Dubai or another Emirate for the day then the same Dirhams are used there. But be aware that not all Emirates are as card friendly.

How Much Cash Should I Bring to the UAE?

If you have access to a credit card, and quite often credit cards have a very good exchange rate with no extra fees above the standard bank exchange rate, then really you can get away with next to no cash. If you don't want to jump the local busses, which aren't that many, everyone seemed to take cards. So I'd just take enough travel money in case all your credit cards stop for a day.

Payments in Abu Dhabi

If you are taking credit cards to the city of Abu Dhabi, it's very easy to pay by contactless or Apple / Google Pay. For larger amounts chip and pin is available. I always avoid debit cards unless you are visiting an ATM (your credit card may carry bank fees for withdrawing foreign currency) as debit cards do not carry the security the same as credit cards. But everywhere, from taxis to hotels, are always happy with cash and cards.