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Vacations ÔÇô itÔÇÖs a magic word for every child. They spend the entire school year looking forward to this time of the year. While vacations are the perfect time for children to have fun and relax, it is also the time when parents need to engage their children in different activities which hone their skills and help with their growth and development.

We have put together a list of fun activities that can help foster creativity in your kids and keep them busy all day long and reduce some of that stress for you.

Form a book club: Reading is fun and probably one of the best habits you can inculcate in your child. Make it a fun activity for them by creating a book club (either with family members or neighbourhood children) and they can select the books they would want to read, discuss and ask questions.

Introduce cooking sessions: Have your child assist you when you are cooking or have a baking session where your little one can help you bake delicious cakes or cupcakes. If you are an expat living in a foreign country, then this would be the best time to introduce your child to different cuisines, or maybe even organise a bake sale.

Plan a mock parliament: You can put together a mock parliament session for your children, their friends and host friendly debates. This will also require them to name their party, create slogans and posters and choose their topic for the debate. It can be fun and informative.

Kids Creativity

 

Learn an instrument or a dance style: Introduce your children to the world of music and dancing depending on what fascinates your child.

Introduce your child to sports: ItÔÇÖs never too early to play sports. Enroll your child in a sport of their choice and see how they love it!

Learn a foreign language: You children can either sign up for classes that teach languages or download mobile apps on your phone and learn the language together with your child.

Enroll your kid for a camp: Summer camps help develop inter-personal skills and will introduce them to various activities that will help shape their personality.

You could purchase subscriptions to some informative magazines like Nat Geo, or have a fun session on learning about different foreign currencies of different countries. In case your child is being nurtured by your parents ÔÇÿback homeÔÇÖ, you could always send money through a money services provider or purchase subscriptions directly.

Remember that a childÔÇÖs education stretches far beyond the four walls of a classroom. As a parent you can develop your childÔÇÖs creative learning and inspire them to think in a more challenging and innovative manner.

4 great wedding gift ideas for expats

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

When the wedding bells ring, itÔÇÖs time for both excitement and tension. The excitement is natural for the family, the bride and groom in question and friends. Now imagine the stress that family and friends go through wondering what to gift the expat couple. After all having lived abroad, itÔÇÖs difficult to figure out whatÔÇÖll be useful and can be carried back without too much hassle. DonÔÇÖt fret, here are four great options of how and what you can gift your expat soon-to-be-married friend.

Online gifting

Knowing the likes and dislikes of the groom or bride can help in finding the perfect gift for them online. Check if it can be shipped to the country of residence and just buy it. Alternatively, you could courier something directly, but it might prove to be a bit expensive. Imagine the surprise and sheer joy when the bride/ groom open their gift.

Gift Cards

 

Gift coupons/ cards online

A gift card is loaded with money which can be redeemed while shopping online. Online retail majors such as Amazon have this service. The receiver can then choose to buy whatever they need or like with the gift card. These have a validity date and can be purchased for denominations of your choice. The couple receives a gift card via email and all they need to do is shop with the gift coupon code. So convenient, yet so thoughtful.

Gifting via a wedding registry

Wedding registries are very popular in developed nations; the bride and groom register themselves on the registry and you can choose to gift the couple from the published list. This allows you to know even before gifting what the couple would like and secondly the gifts could be shipped to them directly.

Prepaid Travel Card

Purchase a prepaid travel card and load it with an international currency such as the USD (accepted in all countries). These multi-purpose travel cards also come with free travel insurance and currency rate locking facility. The couple can use it during their travels or on their honeymoon. ItÔÇÖd be a truly memorable gift.

Of course the expat couple going ÔÇÿhomeÔÇÖ to get married would also need to have ready money to spend. They can always transfer money before leaving, via bank transfer using the services of a money exchange provider. Alternatively they can carry some foreign exchange to be converted when the need arises. Or they can even carry a travel card and load it with currency for all their shopping needs.

As for those wondering what to gift, you know what to do, so start shopping and spread the joy.

Do you know what all successful companies have in common? A true belief that ÔÇ£customer is kingÔÇØ and needs to delighted all the time!

The common thread among successful companies likes Disney, Ford, Toyota, Apple, Starbucks is their ability to put their customers at the forefront of everything they do. Superior customer experience has been the most important metric for winning businesses. What sets a brand apart is not just its product or service but the attention to enhancing customer experience.

Wondering why or how? Here you go.

Multiple Choices

Gone are the days when there were just a couple of sellers, be it for car or coffee! Now the marketplace is filled with a plethora of choices. So, if you donÔÇÖt delight or atleast satisfy customers, they are going to switch from your brand to another. So watch out, you could be their pass├®, if they are not happy.

Free advertising

Going viral is every companyÔÇÖs dream, today. It is possible only if you have happy customers. Happy customers want to share their joyful experiences with others, talk excitedly about the product, or the really great customer service they had. So your job is to give them the best experience ever!

Customer experience

Sworn Enemies

If you have not given your customer, a good experience with your product, then beware, youÔÇÖve earned yourself a sworn enemy. He/ she is sure to rat you out and dissect every inch of their perceived misery on social media. The volcanic buildup of social media outpouring will get out of hand, resulting in your gaining notoriety, seriously damaging your sales and morale. ThatÔÇÖs something youÔÇÖll never want!

Fate Deciders

Its true, customers are the ones who decide the fate of your company. If you offer them great experience, they will make sure, their friends, families and all acquaintances come to you. But if they are not happy, theyÔÇÖll shut you down. Hence, itÔÇÖs key to remember that customer is king and treat them like one!

As an organisation, the relationship you share with your customers mirrors the relationship you share with other fellow human beings. Reputable and trustworthy money transfer service providers such as UAE Exchange believe in the dictum, ÔÇ£customer first and lastÔÇØ. It is this attitude that was responsible for its winning the Service Olympian Award for Best Customer Experience Measurement. This is the third win for UAE Exchange at the Service Olympian Awards. Earlier in 2013, the brand won the PeopleÔÇÖs Choice Award and in 2015, it won in the category of Best Leadership Commitment. These awards are clear vindication of its belief that ÔÇÿcustomer experienceÔÇÖ does set you apart and give you an immense competitive advantage.

Gear up now, to offer your customers the greatest experience ever!

Why Choose Money2anywhere (M2A)?

Friday, 10 February 2017

Why Choose M2A

Work life is demanding and stressful nowadays. Often times we have to stretch ourselves to accommodate situations that are par for the course in modern-day work life. Sometimes, try as you might, there will be some situations at work that could cause an embarrassing pause, or that ÔÇÿawkwardÔÇÖ moment, especially around money. Thankfully there are smart and easy ways to get out of them.

Borrowed/loaned money to co-workers

ItÔÇÖs entirely possible that co-workers are very good friends hence loaning or borrowing money may not be unusual. What could be embarrassing is when they donÔÇÖt return it on time. But to save embarrassment, you can have them use discreet money transfer services to get the money transferred to your bank account in a trice. No more awkwardness at lunch.

Entertaining foreign clients at the workplace

Many of us work in large global organisations where we deal with people and clients of different nationalities. Entertaining clients at expensive restaurants or taking them bowling are de rigueur. However, if you havenÔÇÖt had time to carry cash with you, or forgotten your credit cards, you can quickly get some money transferred to your bank account in a flash. And pay the bill when it comes smilingly, without having that OMG expression on your face.

workplace

 

Gifting co-workers or clients

Sending appropriate gifts on important occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries of a newbie parent are practiced by HR in almost every organisation. But imagine the horror of having forgotten to buy a gift and rushing out to buy one, only to find yourself short of money. Just go to an ATM to withdraw money using a prepaid card or get money quickly transferred to your account. Back in office, you will truly be known as the one with quick-fix solutions.

Pay your clients in case of a temporary loan by simply transferring money using bank transfer facilities. Split the bill with colleagues and have them transfer the money to you using #FLASHremit, which gets the money to your bank account, in a flash. Travelling abroad on business? Just get a travel card and keep track of your spends. Or use it to quickly withdraw money from an ATM. Never have those awkward moments at work again and address the money issue, head on. All you have to do is be smart and use the comprehensive services of a reputed, trustworthy money exchange service provider. Bid adieu to awkward money situations, become the smart and savvy global worker.

Go easy, donÔÇÖt worry, encash it.

The UAE is aptly known as a shopperÔÇÖs paradise. Whether youÔÇÖre a shopaholic or an occasional shopper, there is something here for everyone. The UAE is chock-a-block with some of the best malls and souqs (marketplace) for shopping. However for shopaholics, the question is: ÔÇ£What do I buy in the UAE?ÔÇØ

Here is a list of the best things you can shop for in the UAE.

Gold: All over the UAE, you will find gold shops known as gold souqs, displaying rows and rows of dazzling gold jewellery selling 18-carat and 22-carat jewellery. Some also sell 24-carat jewellery, though itÔÇÖs not the popular choice, because most people do not prefer the deep yellow colour of these high-carat jewellery.

Spices: The Arabian spices are famous for their aroma and taste. You will find various spice souqs filling the area with a heady fragrance. You could purchase the bezar (a mix of Arabian spices), saffron, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon, to name a few. Rosewater and Orange blossom water are also very popular.

Rugs and Carpets: Remember Aladdin and his flying carpet? Maybe not a flying carpet, but you will be amazed by the number of shops selling exquisite and beautifully woven carpets spread all over the UAE. The best bargains can be found in small alleyways and nondescript shops, where you can sit all day long bargaining with dealers over cups of sweetened tea.

Best things to shop in UAE

Perfumes: A paradise for perfume connoisseurs, every possible fragrance brand is available here. Along with global brands, you can also find smaller shops selling local Arabian perfumes. Frankincense is also available here everywhere, as is Oudh, a rare scented wood.

Electronics: If you are a gadget-freak and cannot get enough of any and every kind of gadget, then come to Dubai. It enjoys the status of being a duty-free airport; hence the prices of electronic items here are very reasonable.

Dates: All of the UAE is famous for dates, but Dubai is especially famous for a kind of date known as Bateel. These are mouthwateringly scrumptious dates and one of the best things you can buy to gift everyone back home.

Watches: Just like perfumes, watches from some of the best manufacturers around the world are available here, at prices that make your eyes pop. However, there are watches to appease different price points as well.

The usual clothes, bags, shoes, accessories are of course available, but the above list is something that you should keep an eye out for. The trick to shopping in the UAE is small shop owners who love bargaining no matter what you buy. You can use prepaid travel cards for hassle-free shopping, and load as you go.

Now, happy shopping!

In todayÔÇÖs uncertain world, judicious management of money is critical. As an expat parent itÔÇÖs imperative to teach your child the important lessons in financial planning, preparing them to face challenges of adulthood. Make sure your children have a good understanding of the nuances of budgeting, saving and spending, so their financial future is more secure.

According to Beth Kobliner, author of the New York Times bestseller ÔÇ£Get a Financial LifeÔÇØ, and a member of the PresidentÔÇÖs Advisory Council on Financial Capability, ÔÇ£The sooner parents start taking advantage of everyday teachable money moments (for example, give a six-year-old $2 and let her choose which fruit to buy), the better off our kids will be. Parents are the number one influence on their childrenÔÇÖs financial behaviour, so itÔÇÖs up to us to raise a generation of mindful consumers, investors, savers, and givers,ÔÇØ

Children develop understanding with age. Hence as a parent itÔÇÖs best you teach them about money management as early as possible. We suggest you to playfully begin their financial education as early as when they are three years old. To help you get started, we give below a breakup of what you could teach your children at different ages:

Ages 3-7 (Pre-school age):

  • We need money to buy things
  • We need to wait for the right time to buy things
  • There are different denominations and value for money

Ages 8-11 (Primary school age):

  • Comparing prices before you buy things is a good habit
  • Money is limited, so you need to spend money wisely
  • We need to earn money
  • The sooner you start saving money, the faster your money will grow

Kids and their money

Age 12-18 (High school age):

  • Start saving habits early in life
  • Cash is always better than credit
  • Differences between credit cards and debit cards, and how credit card spending is nothing but borrowing money, which needs to be paid back with interest
  • Storing a copy of all your receipts and checking your expenses at the end of every month
  • Keeping track of your mobile phone payments
  • Opening a bank account
  • Always working out a budget before you start spending

Given that the world is a global village, with people working across countries and students going to study and travel abroad, dealing with different currencies is de rigueur. Parents should sit their children down and discuss about currencies, exchange rates and how money transfers work and how to find a right remittance provider.

Teaching your children about money is very crucial and the more they know about money, and the sooner they develop better saving habits, the more secure their future will be!

Did you know that getting competitive exchange rates can positively influence the amount and frequency of money you send home?

As an expat, ensuring your loved ones receive the maximum value for every unit of the currency remitted, is always important. While there are several factors that determine the amount of money that actually reaches your family, the US Dollar (USD) movement is a key one to track. If you are living in the UAE and need to send money home, itÔÇÖs important that you be aware of the influence USD has on your currency and hence figure out the best time to remit money. Three points to keep in mind on why you should watch the dollar movement before you remit are:

1. The United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) is pegged to the USD, hence a strong dollar ensures higher amount of remitted money. Minor fluctuations do not make a massive difference to smaller remittances.

2. If your home currency loses ground against both the USD and AED, and you are a remitter in the UAE, then that would be the best time to send home money because each dirham will yield more in your destination currency.
So if you are home currency is Indian Rupees (INR) and it falls against the USD and AED, then send money home. Your family will get more money in hand!

dollar boosts remittances from UAE

3. The volatility of the USD is important in the context of the nature of remittance. For e.g. if you are remitting money as an EMI to buy a property in your home country, it may be prudent to speak with your authorised money exchange service provider to explore contracted options to cover the risk.

It is also important to take advantage of the right window of opportunity when it presents itself, such as the recent strengthening of the USD against Asian currencies that resulted in a strong outflow of remittances from the UAE.

Exchange rates are ever volatile, so before you remit money, make sure you are well aware of the exchange rates and determine how much money will be received by your family. Send money only through reputed money transfer service providers who offer the best competitive exchange rates. DonÔÇÖt lose money anymore to unscrupulous rates. Plan well ahead and remit at the right opportune time!

Are you are a fan of Bollywood music or simply in love with Bryan Adams, Justin Beiber and Guns NÔÇÖ Roses? Then a trip to Dubai in 2017 could be the ultimate musical experience for you. Imagine long nights of enthralling music, exemplary performances by top musicians, electrifying concerts and soul-stirring music ÔÇô a music loverÔÇÖs groovy paradise.

Here is a peek into some of the most glitzy and glamorous music festivals held in Dubai:

Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival ÔÇô Promising much more than jazz, this unbeatable mix of quality live entertainment is one of the oldest music concerts held in Dubai, and it will celebrate its 15th edition in 2017. This year the festival is all set to commence on February 22nd , 2017 and the performers lined up for this yearÔÇÖs show are: Tom Jones + The Rad Trads, Mariah Carey + Raul Midon, Enrique Iglesias + Nathan Sykes. Get set for music explosion!

dubai music lovers

Cairo Sound Music Festival ÔÇô This is a new cultural project launched and is all set to become a series of festivals in the UAE. This festival promotes Egyptian culture and music in Dubai, bringing together Middle-Eastern expatriates and music lovers from all around.

Redfest DXB 2017 ÔÇôThumping music, good food and an exotic setup, could it get any better? This year the festival takes place on February 2nd and 3rd and will feature Demi Lovato, Alessia Cara, Sean Paul, The Veronicas, Mike Posner, to name a few.

Party in the Park ÔÇô This one-day music festival is a must visit for both music lovers and non-music lovers. This festival celebrates the end of summer and beginning of winter. Let your favorite DJs tear up the night while you groove the night away. This hugely successful party saw an attendance of 10,000 people last year and this year itÔÇÖs all set to blow your mind away on November 11th .

Piknic Electronik ÔÇô This is also a one-day music fest, which is renowned internationally. This festival is ideal for families - adults as well as kids can have the time of their life here.

And, donÔÇÖt worry if you find it difficult to pay for tickets online. Customers can now visit any UAE Exchange branch to buy tickets for all major entertainment events in the UAE. And if youÔÇÖre travelling from to Dubai, to soak yourself in music, you can always purchase a travel card and load it on the go and enjoy.

Now get ready to hum, sing, and groove the night away with music, food, fun and laughter.

Utility bill payments, made easy!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Busy, busy, busy, thatÔÇÖs what we all are!

If youÔÇÖre a working mom or a household with many members working, mornings are usually rush rush rush and evenings are dedicated to fight the rush hour to get home and spend quality time with family. In this day-to-day living, hygiene factors such as paying bills, school fees, insurance, etc., sometimes take a back seat.

Not because youÔÇÖre negligent, but in the hurly burly of life, sometimes deadlines can be forgotten, payments missed, all of which can cause you undue and unnecessary stress. And sometimes when you do remember and make an urgent call to your spouse or a family member, maybe your mobile needs a top up. Aaargh! So what do you do? Well, you can make online payments. However, remember you need to either download an app, or have internet banking activated on your phone to enable you to do this. You need to remember a password, or hope that someone is not skimming information off your phone. Yes, while online payments are easy, sometimes you do need to worry about security measures as well.

Utilitybillpayments

Sometimes, donÔÇÖt you wish, you could just walk into physical branches where they accept such payments and voila, no stress, no fuss your payments are made?

ItÔÇÖs actually simpler when you think about it. On your way to work, or near a mall where youÔÇÖre shopping for the weekÔÇÖs groceries or even near your office, if you find a service provider who accepts all your payments in cash or by credit card or debit card. Walk in, pay, walk out, youÔÇÖre done!

With UAE Exchange you can do that. Just walk into your nearest branch to pay all those bills that are critical including:

  • Electricity bills
  • Water bills
  • School fees
  • Credit Card bills
  • Insurance premiums
  • Mobile top-ups
  • Subscriptions to websites such as Shaadi.com

So the next time the end-of-the-month looms near and bill payments are hovering over your head like a DamoclesÔÇÖ sword, you know where to go. Just walk in, pay, walk out, youÔÇÖre done. No worries, no stress, no arguments, no Internet. WhatÔÇÖs more it helps to keep the peace, no finger-pointing and blame game on who was more forgetful, no more ÔÇ£remindersÔÇØ and calls or penalties regarding late payment.

If youÔÇÖve used any of our outlets anywhere to make these utility bill payments, do let us know your experience.

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