If you’re going out and about in the UAE this Eid Al Fitr, there’s one thing you shouldn't forget to bring: Cash.

While credit and debit cards and digital transactions have become the preferred method of payment for many residents and tourists, there are still pocket areas in the country where cash reigns supreme.

Gold Souk

Take for example if you’re planning a last-minute shopping spree at Gold Souk. Be reminded that some traders there still prefer the security and simplicity of physical currency.

Mohamed Osman, a 25-year old Sudanese expat in Dubai, told Khaleej Times that Gold Souk is the only place that prompts him to carry cash. While he has embraced a cashless lifestyle in most aspects of his daily routine, he knows that small vendors and artisans at the souk still rely on cash transactions. As he wanders through the market, he ensures he has a stash of cash, ready to purchase jewellery.

“My mum is a regular visitor at Gold Souk. She loves to see what’s new in the market. So, every time I accompany her, I make sure we always carry cash,” said Osman.


Another Dubai resident, Mohamed Adam, 27, said he always carries small bills and coins especially for cafeterias — whenever he craves a cup of karak tea or when he visits his favourite barbershop.

“Obviously, it’s weird to use card for just Dh2 or Dh1 for a cup of karak. I also need cash to tip my barber,” said Adam.

“During Eid, the amount of cash transaction also increases as we take it out to give to the kids on Eid mornings," he added.

Cash-only eateries, taxi

In Al Ain, 28-year-old Syrian expat Ahmed Maher has learnt from experience the value of carrying cash. Despite the popularity and convenience of card payments, there are some restaurants that accept only cash.

“It happened to me twice. When I dined at a restaurant, the staff told me that they only accept cash. Good thing, I always carried money,” he added.

Maher also discovered that some taxis in Al Ain still prefer cash payments. Plus, he recalled that recently, when he visited Global Village in Dubai, some stalls only accepted cash.

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