How to send money to Belarus
Understand what your options are when transferring funds to Belarus.
In the past few years, Belarus has developed a thriving entrepreneurship culture. In the future, Canada may develop an interest in this flourishing business market. Although imported services aren’t very high in the current two-way trade relationship between Canada and Belarus, some Canadians already do business with the nation. This has created a need for affordable ways to send money between the two countries.
While many Canadian banks do allow transfers to Belarus, they often charge high fees. Using the services of a specialist money transfer company tends to be a much cheaper and more efficient option.
Read our guide to find out how to send money cheaply and quickly between Canada and Belarus.
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Compare money transfer services below
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Case study: Compare money transfer companies when sending USD to Belarus
Victor has joined a start-up business, an online journalism platform, that faces severe oppression like many of the free press movements in Belarus. Whilst representing his business in Canada on a working visa, he plans on doing some freelance journalism to increase the capital available for their small startup.
He uses a benchmark amount of $1,000 Canadian dollars and compares the following specialist transfer services that will send the money in USD. Most of the transfer companies can only send money to Belarus in USD or EUR. This means that comparing in USD, as below, makes for easier data comparisons in the case where Victor is considering different service options.
As you can see below, Victor can save CAD$30 in transfer fees if he chooses money transfer company A, and his recipient will receive US$8.22 more. However, he does note that this transfer company takes a couple of days longer to send the money than money transfer company B does.
|Money transfer company A||Money transfer company B|
|Exchange rate||$1 CAD = 0.78 USD||$1 CAD = 0.77 USD|
|Amount of USD received in Belarus for 1,000 CAD||USD$777.70||USD$769.48|
|Transfer time||Two days||Minutes|
|Transfer options||Online||Online, Phone, Agent|
|Difference in USD||+USD$8.22|
What factors should you compare when sending a money transfer to Belarus?
- Exchange Rates. When comparing rates for sending money to Belarus, view the rates between CAD, USD, EUR and BYR. With many specialist transfer services, you will most likely use three of the four. USD and EUR can be used in Belarus but will need to be exchanged for BYR eventually. This means that you and your recipient will face an exchange rate from CAD to USD/EUR and then USD/EUR to BYR throughout the transaction.
- Pick-up Methods. Some money transfer services will allow you to send BYR to a bank account and others will have to be a cash pick-up at an agent in the form of USD or EUR.
- Fees. Fees will be lower for transfers that take a couple of days to arrive, as opposed to emergency cash transfers or transfers that arrive within minutes, as shown in the example above.
- Turnaround Time. Receiving money to a bank account in Belarus will likely take three to five days, but with cash pick-ups, the money can be transferred and ready to use in just minutes.
- Transfer Methods. Money can be sent using an online account, by phone, via agents or sometimes even through a mobile app.
- Transfer Options. Depending on which service you use, some of the transfer options include recurring payments, spot contracts, booked rates and one-off payments.
- Minimum/Maximum Transfer Amounts. These can range between minimums of $250 to $1,000 or maximums of $5,000 or $10,000. Some companies have no minimum amounts. Be sure that a low minimum doesn’t have a low maximum attached, for example some companies will allow you to send as low as $5, but not more than $100. If you are looking to send a larger amount of money, this may be a problem for you.
- Customer Service. With most of the available companies, you can expect phone and email support that is reputable. Some of the companies also boast online chat support and in person help.
How do I send money to Belarus from Canada?
Most of the money transfer services will allow your recipient to receive the money in USD or EUR for cash pick-up, and not in the local currency of BYR. These currencies can be converted in Belarus for the BYR, but needs to be brand new currency. See tips lower down in the article for further information on this.
- Money transfer service – MoneyGram, Western Union, WorldRemit and FairFX are companies that offer international money transfer services, ranging from bank accounts to cash pick-ups, between Canada and Belarus.
- Banks – Your Canadian bank may allow transfers to Belarus. Contact your bank to find out more information.
- PayPal – You can use PayPal for international payments and transfers between Belarus and Canada. Both you and your recipient must have PayPal accounts, which are free to setup. The money can be converted to the available currencies on PayPal for a small fee.
How can you receive money from Belarus in Canada?
- Money transfer services. Companies like MoneyGram and Western Union allow you to send money to Canada, but the money will need to be sent in USD or EUR and sent as cash through an agent. Money can also be sent to a Canadian bank account, if it’s compatible with receiving money from Belarus.
- Banks. Contact your bank to find out if they allow transfers to Canadian bank accounts.
Emergency cash transfers in Belarus
If you need to send an emergency cash transfer to Belarus, there are a couple of services that offer almost instantaneous cash pick-up. These companies include MoneyGram and Western Union. It’s important to know that in these situations the emergency cash will be in the form of either USD or EUR, and will still need to be exchanged for BYR at a local exchange bureau.
Cash pick-up locations in Belarus using Moneygram and Western Union
- VTB Bank Belarus
Nezavisimosti Prospekt 29
Minskaya Oblast, Minsk, 220030
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm, Saturday, 10am to 4pm, Sunday, 12am to 12pm
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday, 12am to 12pm
- VTB Bank (Belarus)
Sovetskaya Ulitsa 2V,
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm, Saturday, 10am to 4pm, Sunday, 12am to 12pm
- Belarus Bank
Deerzhinskogo Prkt 119,
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm, Saturday, 9am to 3pm, Sundays closed
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm, Saturdays and Sundays closed
Pushkina Ul 2,
Open Monday to Friday, 9:15am to 6pm, Saturdays and Sundays closed
Important tips for picking up cash in Belarus
When picking up cash in Belarus, you will receive the money in USD or EUR. When you take the money to a local exchange bureau, you’ll need to present new and unmarked currency for exchange. This is incredibly important in Belarus. Some bureaus will accept USD and EUR, but not all locations will accept both. If you are new to Belarus, you’re advised to check out how safe the areas are where you want to pick up your cash. Call ahead to make sure they accept the type of currency you wish to exchange and double check their business hours.
What are the steps to follow when sending money to Belarus?
If you want to send or receive money to Belarus that will require a cash pick-up, you or your recipient will need to provide and have the following:
- Photo/Government ID and address of agent location
- Tracking or reference number
- For safety, the receipt of the original transaction
To send money to someone’s bank account, they will need to provide:
- Details of the recipient
- Bank name and bank account number
- BIC/IBAN/SWIFT/Transit number – this will depend on what the local banks use. For Canadians, it will be a transit number that is specific to your bank
- Currency and amount sent
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