Best ways of sending money to your home country

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Need to send money back home? The good news is that you now have plenty of options that are low-cost, safe, and efficient. Many banks, remittance centres, and online companies have refined their processes aided by internet technology. This resulted in cheaper rates, faster turn-around times, and expanded reach.

As a sender, the following factors will affect cost and value of your remittance:

  • the amount of money you’ll be sending
  • the speed of remittance (how fast you need the money to reach your recipient)
  • the exchange rate the company uses
  • how the recipient will receive the money
  • additional bank charges. For example, a transaction and/or currency conversion fee

It would be smart to compare and ask around before you choose a service provider. Doing research and learning about the experience of others will not only help you get the most value out of your hard-earned money, it can also protect you from scams out there.

Bank remittance

Bank remittance is considered the safest way of sending money abroad. Most major banks have an international network that supports secure transfers. They also have various types of remittance services such as wire transfers, bank drafts or money orders. However, you and your recipient may need to have an account with them.

If you need the money to reach your recipient quickly, one of your best choices is wire transfer. However, be ready for high fees. Wire transfers can be cost-effective when sending large amounts. Other ways could be bank to bank, or through Interac e-transfers. Your friends or family can receive money in various ways: deposited to their bank account, credit card, or use of a prepaid card. Cost varies from no fee (CIBC) to amounts ranging from $6 to $50 or more depending on the type of service, currency, and the amount of money you’re sending.

Online Money Transfer Services

This is the fastest and most convenient way to send money. All you need is a computer (or a mobile device) and internet connection. Remittance through WorldRemit, Remitly, Xoom, or PayPal are ideal for sending smaller amounts (below USD500). The first thing to check is if the company serves your home country.

Most companies charge fixed rates based on the amount (in ranges) you’re sending, for example a fee of around CAD$3 if you’re sending $100-500, and $5 if you’re sending $500-$2,000. However, check if there are additional fees from your bank if you will be using a credit card to pay for the service, or for things like conversion or transaction fees. The remittance company may not be aware of additional charges from your bank (as banks have varying policies) and will not be able to alert you to this right away. Transferring money can be instantaneous and can be delivered to your recipient’s bank account, picked up from a bank or the company’s partner organization, or through mobile money. Some companies may even charge a lower fee if you don’t need your remittance to reach your recipient right away.

Money Transfer Operators

Western Union and MoneyGram are examples of money transfer operators. They usually have many physical branches all over the world (but they may have online services as well). This is ideal if you need to send money right away and if you or your recipient does not have access to a computer or smartphone. Getting the money is also convenient because of their branch networks. Your recipient can pick up the money in person. However, services tend to be more expensive than online money transfers. They also require more information from the recipient. The sender and recipient also have to be careful about the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN). Anybody who knows the MTCN can claim the money from the branch. So be careful when relaying the number through unsecure ways.

Some important things to remember when sending money

  1. Never send money to people you don’t know.
  2. Always check the exchange rate the company uses.
  3. Check for hidden fees (they may be in the fine print). Ask how much your recipient will receive in total after all the charges are deducted. If possible, ask for a breakdown of fees.
  4. Be careful with your personal information. Give only the necessary data.
  5. Make sure that you provide the accurate information about your recipient. Any mistakes can void the transaction or make it longer for the recipient to receive the money.
  6. Keep receipts or any form of confirmation. You will need this information in case your recipient doesn’t receive the money.
  7. Check the company’s reimbursement and cancellation policies. Also check online reviews or ask online to see if past customers have had a favourable experience with the specific remittance company.
  8. Check with your recipient immediately if they have received the money at the expected time.

Remittance companies mentioned in this article are not connected with English Online. Mention does not constitute an endorsement.
Article updated March 7, 2022.
Sources: Send Money Online, Justin Pritchard, About Money; The best ways to send money abroad, Consumer Reports.

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Community Resources

If you are not sure about the remittance centre you wish to transact with, check with the Better Business Bureau.

Do you need to report a remittance scam? You can:

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