With the technological development, exchange companies began to enter the electronic financial services market, by providing applications for money exchange and transfer, and the matter went beyond that, and there were companies that provided payroll services to employees in large companies, which made exchange companies a strong competitor to banks in the Middle East.
The following report sheds light on the most important exchange companies in the region, with 7 out of ten companies from the United Arab Emirates.
The companies are ranked on the following basis, average monthly transfer value, number of branches, age of the company, services provided, recent innovations, and other editorial factors, according to Forbes.
Al Ansari Exchange
Al Ansari Exchange started as a branch of a general trading company by the Al Ansari family in the UAE nearly 60 years ago. The first branch opened in Abu Dhabi in 1966. Today, the company has more than 2,500 employees serving more than 2.5 million customers every month.
The company is rated 5A1 by the credit rating agency Dun & Bradstreet. Besides the Emirates, the company is active in Kuwait and has 9 branches, and plans to expand across other countries in the future.
Al Ansari Exchange is one of the first exchange companies to integrate the “digital identity” application through its electronic channels, and the application is a unified solution for the digital national identity and digital signature in the UAE.
Lulu Exchange operates in the field of financial services from its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, and it is part of the LuLu Financial Group. Founded in 2008, the company serves more than 8 million customers, and has an additional 1 million customers on its digital platform, LuLu Money.
The company operates more than 220 branches across 11 countries across the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and the Asia Pacific region. Over the past months, the company has introduced several innovations through the LuLu Money platform.
Bahrain Financial Company
BFC Group Holdings has its origins in 1917 in Bahrain, when the group’s founders began trading gold bars. In the 1970s the company entered the remittance market.
The group currently has more than 130 branches in five countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Kingdom, India and Malaysia. In Bahrain and Kuwait, there are more than 100 branches of the company, most of which are in the remittance and foreign exchange markets.
The company has a network of more than 55,000 agents and banks. The company recently launched a digital wallet that enables customers to receive their salaries as well as transfer them to their countries in addition to collecting corporate payments.
Al Fardan Exchange
Al-Fardan Exchange is a member of the Al-Fardan Group, which has its roots in 1954, and the company serves the UAE market, and has relationships with more than 150 international banks and various financial institutions.
It is one of the first exchange companies to apply the “Open-API” model to expand remittance services to banks and financial companies in the region.
Al Mulla Exchange
It is part of Al Mulla Group – the family group headquartered in Kuwait – and has 90 branches in Kuwait and 30 other branches in the Sultanate of Oman under the trade name “Modern Exchange” which was acquired by Al Mulla Exchange Company in 2010.
Al-Mulla Banking has more than 1.2 million active customers, and more than 750,000 people follow it on social media.
The company provides remittance services to more than 180 countries. It also launched a fully automated app, and the app is available in seven languages.
The Joyalukkas Group is known for its jewelry business and entered the money exchange business in 2006, serving a large number of expatriates in the region, many of whom were familiar with the brand.
The company has operations in the UAE, Oman and Kuwait. And it recently launched its online app for digital transfers.
Al Rostamani International Exchange
Al Rostamani International Exchange Company hails from the Al Rostamani Group, a UAE-based group of companies with diversified businesses in the automotive, real estate and financial services industries.
The company provides currency exchange and remittance services, as well as market updates and currency trends to its corporate and individual clients.
The company has relationships with a banking network of more than 90 banks around the world, which allows it to send money to any destination. The company includes a group of diversified financial services, namely: foreign currencies, retail transfers, commercial foreign exchange transactions, wholesale transactions, and travelers’ checks.
Al Muzaini Exchange
It is one of the oldest exchange companies in Kuwait, it was established in 1942 under the name of Abdul Aziz and Ali Al Youssef Al Muzaini, and in 1995, the company’s name changed.
Over the course of seven decades, the company has grown to be the largest exchange network in Kuwait. The company also has relationships with more than 80 banks worldwide, and also has partnerships with payment companies such as Western Union.
Orient Exchange was founded in 1923 and is run by the Panculia family, one of the oldest expatriate families to establish companies in the region. It is headquartered in Dubai, with a representative office in India. It has 27 branches across the United Arab Emirates, and more than 66 branches outside the country, including 24 in India, 18 in Hong Kong, 14 in Malaysia, eight in Australia, and two in the United Kingdom.
The group is the main agent of Western Union in Hong Kong and Malaysia. It provides money transfer services worldwide to more than 80 countries.
Al Ghurair Exchange
Al Ghurair Exchange is part of the Al Ghurair Group, one of the largest family businesses in the United Arab Emirates. Founded by the late Saif Al Ghurair, it is one of the oldest exchange offices in the UAE.
Al Ghurair Exchange serves approximately half a million customers per month. With more than 30 branches across the UAE, the company also provides ancillary services such as utility bill payment, mobile phone products, loyalty programs, and wealth management.
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