If you prefer to go cashless for every big or little expense, paying your domestic help’s salary in cash may seem like a hassle. Hang on – It’s more than just a hassle and here’s why…

It may also be damaging to both parties involved. Disputes can arise in scenarios such as the employer holding the worker’s salary for safekeeping or due to factors like illegible handwriting and unrecorded verbal agreements.

Swapping salary payments in cash in favor of digital transfers to the employee’s account creates an electronic trail. This helps safeguard the interests of both sides by minimizing disputes. 

From the point of view of the employees, it can empower them to handle their money better with flexibility, convenience and peace of mind. With no liquid cash at their disposal, they will be more conscious of their spending. Moreover, a monthly statement will help them keep a better track of their income and expenses. 

However, since most domestic workers don’t meet the eligibility requirements of conventional bank accounts, we can’t help but wonder – Is there a practical alternative out there?

[Related: Questions to ask when hiring a full-time maid]

We’ve rounded up three channels that offer a convenient and secure way of digitally transferring salaries to your household help in the UAE.

NOW Money

A relatively new FinTech startup, NOW Money is a payroll service that caters to the low income migrant population of the UAE that has no access to traditional banking services. The employees are required to submit their identification documents for registration to open a free, no minimum balance online account. Upon registering, they will receive a MasterCard debit card and access to their online account through a mobile banking app. The debit card can be used to withdraw cash at ATMs and for online and POS transactions like any traditional bank card while the app can be used to track spends, for online remittance services and mobile top ups. Employers can digitally transfer funds to their workers’ online account each month. 

NOW Money is also committed to offering some of the best exchange rates through its transfer marketplace. What the company saves by keeping manpower low and their services mostly digital, they offer to their customers in the form of better exchange rates on remittances.


Rise is yet another UAE based payroll service provider working in association with the United Arab Bank for deposits and UAE Exchange for preferential rates on remittances. Domestic workers and their employers are first required to individually register themselves on the Rise app. The next step is filling out an application for opening a bank account for the employee, furnishing details of their salary with a copy of the employment contract and identification documents. Once approved and verified, the employees can access their account on the Rise app. Funds are available for withdrawal via the Visa debit card issued to accountholders, which can also be used for everyday transactions. 

Rise not only aims to encourage financial independence among unbanked domestic workers, it also offers a holistic wealth management platform offering investment, insurance and lending options to the low income segment.

Prepaid bank cards

Another means to avoid the cash route is signing up for prepaid bank cards which employers can pay the wages onto. While not traditional payroll cards, they have their own benefits. These are reloadable so the sponsors can process the payment of salary each month electronically with ease. Also, a bank account isn’t a requirement, which makes them a great option for individuals who wish to avoid the whole account opening process. These cards can be used for online remittances, mobile top-ups, shopping and withdrawing cash at all major ATMs.

[Related: Is your domestic help covered under home insurance?]