Best way to send money to the Balkans | finder Canada

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Send money to the Balkans

Safe, secure and cost-effective transfer options when you need to send money to the Balkans.

There are multiple options available for anyone looking to send money to the Balkans. In order to save yourself some money, it’s important to compare your options before deciding which money transfer service to use.There are plenty of reasons why you may need to transfer funds from Australia to the Balkans. Perhaps you’ll need to transfer some emergency cash to a friend who is travelling through the region, or maybe you have family in the Balkans to whom you want to offer financial support.

The area referred to as the Balkans is made up of the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Turkey.

The table below can be used to sort through options for sending money to the Balkans. Use the table headings to sort through products bases on fees or minimum transfer amounts. You can read more about a product by clicking ‘More’ or be taken securely to the provider’s website by clicking ‘Go to Site’.

Compare Money Transfer Services

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 150 1 day CAD 15.00 0.664 EUR
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Go to site Show details
CAD 1 Same day CAD 0.00 0.667 EUR
XE has fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
CAD 0 Within an hour CAD 3.99 0.668 EUR
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
CAD 1 1 - 2 days CAD 40.00 0.671 EUR
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Banks vs money transfer companies

The ease with which you can transfer money to the Balkans depends on which country you are actually sending money to. For example, Greece is a member of the Eurozone, and therefore, the Euro is the most accepted currency. It’s also easy to transfer Euros from banks and money transfer services.

After that, however, things get a little more complicated. In Turkey, both the Turkish lira and Euros are accepted. Both Kosovo and Montenegro use the Euro but they do so without authorisation from the European Union. Bulgaria (lev) and Romania (leu) use their own currencies and are candidates for the Eurozone, while Albania (lek), Bosnia and Herzegovina (convertible mark), Macedonia (denar) and Serbia (dinar) all use their own national currencies.

As these currencies are more exotic, many Australian banks won’t have these currencies available. Instead, you might have to send another currency which can then be exchanged for the local currency by your recipient’s bank.

Alternatively, you could use a dedicated money transfer service to send your funds. Such services aim to offer better exchange rates and lower fees than offered by banks, and they typically exchange a large range of currencies. For example, OFX will allow you to exchange the Australian dollar for the Bulgarian lev.

Case study: Vesna sends money to Greece

Although she’s working in Australia, Vesna wants to send money back home to Greece to support her family. She has an account with one of the ‘big four’ banks in Australia, so she decides to compare how much it will cost to transfer through her bank with the expense of using a dedicated money transfer service. See the table below for a full comparison.

BankOnline money transfer service
Exchange rate€0.65€0.69
Transfer fee$22$7
Amount received for $1,000 AUD (in Euros)€635.70€685.17
Transfer time2-5 days2 days
Transfer optionsInternet, phone, in branchInternet, phone
Difference of€49.47

Today’s exchange rate CAD to EUR

How do I compare transfer companies when transferring money to the Balkans?

As Vesna’s example illustrates, comparing your money transfer options can end up saving you a significant amount of money. Look at the following features when weighing up your options.

  • Exchange rates. Look for the best rate you can find to get the best possible deal. However, remember to keep an eye out for any high fees that may come attached to the offer of a ‘great rate’.
  • Fees. You’ll often have to pay a transfer fee to send money to the Balkans. Look for the lowest fee available, plus keep in mind that some companies will waive this fee when you send more than a certain amount.
  • Transfer methods. Do you need to send funds online or can you visit a branch? Do different fees apply for using different services?
  • Transfer options. Consider the transfer options on offer and how they will help you get a better deal. Will your provider allow you to set up regular payments in advance?
  • Minimum transfer amounts. Check the minimum transfer amount each company requires to ensure that you can meet that limit.
  • Pick-up methods. Consider whether it’s possible for the recipient to pick up cash from an outlet in the Balkans, or whether everything is conducted online.
  • Turnaround time. How quickly can your recipient get hold of the cash? Turnaround times can vary significantly between providers so shop around.
  • Customer service. Look for a trusted company that provides excellent customer service. The option of both phone and live chat support can be extremely helpful.
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How do I send money to the Balkans from Australia?

As mentioned above, the sheer number of currencies used in the Balkans can make matters a little complex. While it is still possible to send money through your bank, especially if you’re sending Euros, you will most likely save money by using a money transfer company.

Companies you can use include:

  • OFX. Transfers to Bulgaria with OFX are conducted electronically.
  • Western Union. Use Western Union and your funds can be picked up at any Balkans country at a Western Union branch.
  • MoneyGram. MoneyGram has hundreds of branches across the Balkans where your money can be picked up.
  • WorldRemit. This company allows you to send money to selected Balkans countries, such as Bulgaria and Romania.
  • Travelex. Travelex allows you to send funds to Turkey.
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Emergency cash transfers in the Balkans

If you have a friend or relative travelling through the Balkans and they have their wallet stolen, you may have to transfer them funds as quickly as possible.

It’s entirely possible to make an emergency transfer, but remember to make sure you’re fully aware of the exchange rate and fees that will apply to your transfer. Fees and poor exchange rates can quickly eat into the amount you are sending, so choose your money transfer service wisely.

It also makes sense to find a money transfer provider that offers rapid transfers so the money can arrive urgently, as well as plenty of store locations where your recipient can pick up their cash in person.

Finally, if you are travelling around the Balkans and your wallet is stolen, your travel insurance or credit card provider may be able to supply emergency funds. In order to receive them, however, you’ll need to report the theft to the police and obtain supporting documentation.

Cash pickup locations in the Balkans

Both Western Union and MoneyGram offer an easy way to transfer money to the Balkans, so look below for details of some of each company’s most popular cash pick-up locations. For large transfers, notify the branch in advance of your pick-up so that they will have enough cash on hand. You may have to supply a reference number and some form of identification in order to pick up funds.

Western Union

  • Athens, Greece

    Central Post Office of Athens

    100 Eolou Str


    Athens, Attica 10200

    Open Monday to Friday 7:30am to 8:30pm, Saturday 7:30am to 2:30pm


  • Elta Hellenic Post

    Post Office Of Souda

    Kon Poleos 17 Attica

    Athens, Attica 10110

    Open Monday to Friday 7:30am to 2:30pm


  • Sofia, Bulgaria

    1001 Omv Rojen

    Rojen Blvd No 22

    1001 Omv Rojen

    Sofia, Sofia

    Open 7 days 7:30am to 7:30pm


  • 1002 Omv Sofia Ring Road

    Ring Road

    1002 Omv Sofia Ring Road

    Sofia, Sofia

    Open 7 days 7:30am to 7:30pm



  • Athens, Greece

    Thireos Exchange

    Omonia Square, Omonia 12

    Athens, 104 31

    Open Monday to Saturday 8:30am to 8:30pm, Sunday 1pm to 8pm


  • Piraeus Bank

    George 4 Plateia Kanigos

    Athens, 106 77

    Open Monday to Friday 8am to 2pm


  • Sofia, Bulgaria

    Unicredit Bulbank, Sofia

    100 Cherni Vrah Blvd

    Sofia, 1000

    Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm, Saturday 8am to 7pm


  • Piraeus Bank Bulgaria

    Lulin Vi Bl 601 Entr 3

    Sofiya, 1000

    Open Monday to Friday 8:45am to 4:30pm


Tips for picking up cash in the Balkans

Although the Balkans are a relatively safe region of the world, The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommends ‘exercising a high degree of caution’ in countries like Kosovo and Turkey.

No matter where you are in the region, it’s always important to be cautious and safe when picking up cash from an agent location. Take a friend with you for security, and don’t go waving big wads of cash around. Avoid dodgy parts of town, especially at night, and deposit the funds with your bank as quickly as you can.

How to send money to the Balkans

There are lots of options to choose from when sending money to the Balkans, especially if you’re transferring to a country that accepts Euros. You’ll need to provide your contact details, address, date of birth and driver’s licence number to be allowed to send funds internationally. You’ll then be given a receipt or tracking number so you can monitor the progress of your money.

It’s easy and quick to transfer funds from Australia to the Balkans, though it’s best to compare your options before choosing which money transfer provider to use. This will ensure that you get the best possible deal available.

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