How to send money from Canada to Afghanistan, hassle-free.
A landlocked, multi-ethnic country located in the heart of south-central Asia, Afghanistan has seen its fair share of political turmoil in the past 30 years. From the Soviet invasion of 1979 – 1989, to a brief stint of warlordism coupled with the removal of the Taliban in 2001, and the ensuing American and NATO invasion, the people of this country have been involved in one protracted conflict after another. Economic recovery is slow as continued insecurity curtails private investment and consumer demand. While Canadians are advised against all travel to Afghanistan (as of 06 Feb. 2018), bilateral relations between Canada and Afghanistan are strong, with around 80,000 Afghans living in Canada.
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Money transfer services for Afghanistan
While banks can help you send money from Canada to destinations all around the globe, at this point in time, many banks in Canada will not transfer money to Afghanistan, likely due to mechanisms implemented by the Canadian government to prevent the concealment and transfer of funds or assets to listed terrorist entities, including Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. It can also be challenging to find a reputable money transfer service willing to send money to Afghanistan.
Case Study: Abdul Sends Money to Afghanistan
After traveling to Malaysia to seek asylum, Abdul registered with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and after many years in transit, was brought to Canada under Canada’s Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program. Abdul has found a job as a sales manager in Vancouver, and wants to send $1,000 per month back to Afghanistan for his brother Hadi and their elderly parents in Kabul. Abdul compares two well-known cash pickup transfer companies to see which one will save him the most money.
|Money transfer company A||Money transfer company B|
|Exchange rate||CAD$1 = AFN53.00||CAD$1 = AFN54.20|
|Amount of AFN received in Afghanistan for AUD$1,000||AFN53,000||AFN54,200|
|Transfer options||Online, mobile, account, cash pickup||Online, mobile, account, cash pickup|
|Difference in AFN||+ AFN1,344.4|
While the first company offers a lower transfer rate, using the second company allows Abdul to send an additional AFN1,344 to his family overseas.Back to top
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring money to Afghanistan?
Abdul learned a lot from his inquiry into his money transfer options. When comparing services, look for the following features and rates to find the one that offers the most value.
- Competitive exchange rates. Track down the best rates. While official rates are set, financial institutions can make adjustments to cover their costs, which means more money out of your pocket. Exchange rates can have a big impact on your bottom line and it pays (quite literally) to do your homework.
- Minimal fees. Look for flexible fees. The bank charges a standard fee on all transfers regardless of the amount. Money transfer services have flexible fees that vary according to the amount being transferred. Simply plug in different cash amounts to see how much your fee is going to be with each service.
- Various transfer methods. Discover your options. Depending on your circumstances, you may prefer a bank account to bank account transfer rather than a cash pickup. Figure out your limitations, and then choose the right fit for you.
- Fast transfer times. Don’t get left behind. Money transfer services have faster processing times (most completed within one business day).
- Suitable transfer amounts. Know your limits and play within them. Some services have a minimum and maximum amount that can be sent with each transaction. Make sure to do your homework.
- Reliable customer service. Hold reputation in high regard. When transferring money frequently, ensure peace of mind by using a reputable service that will connect you with an agent immediately if there’s a problem with pick-up.
Emergency cash transfers in Afghanistan
If time is of the essence and you need to send money to Afghanistan in a pinch, search for a cash pick-up option like MoneyGram or Western Union to complete transactions in as little as 10 minutes. With this type of service, higher transaction fees and less competitive exchange rates often apply, so just make sure you know what you’re agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line. Once the money is sent, the recipient just needs to present with their passport at the appropriate pick-up location to collect funds.
Cash pickup locations in Afghanistan
With scores of locations in Canada and Afghanistan, Western Union and MoneyGram can offer fast and convenient cash transfers between the two countries. You’ll typically need to provide a reference number, transfer details and some identification when picking up cash.
- Find a pick-up location (most in Kabul) with the Western Union Agent Location tool.
- Find a pick-up location with the MoneyGram Agent Location tool.
Tips for picking up cash in Afghanistan
The Government of Canada recommends Canadians avoid all travel to Afghanistan (as of 06 Feb. 2018). The threat of terrorist and criminal violence is extremely high and continuous.That being said, if you need to go to an agent to pick up cash, avoid travelling alone and return to your hotel to stow cash in a safe place before continuing on with the rest of your day.
What will you need to send money to Afghanistan?
When sending money from Canada using an international money transfer service like Western Union, you’ll need the following information:
- The recipient’s full name (as it appears on their ID) and address, and a Visa or MasterCard issued by a Canadian bank.
- When you first register with Western Union, you will need to provide certain information (such as passport or driver’s license) to confirm your identity and generate an online profile.
- If additional information is needed, you may be asked to phone the call centre.