Research and compare your options so that you can find a great deal when you need to send money to Colombia from Canada.
Sitting at the northern tip of South America, Colombia is a culturally diverse nation famous for its lush rainforests, beautiful mountains and for growing some of the world’s best coffee. It’s also a popular inclusion on the itinerary of any Canadian visitor to South America – and if you ever need to send money from Canada to Colombia, perhaps to a friend or relative visiting the country, there are plenty of transfer options to choose from.
However, before you hand over any money to your bank or a specialist money transfer company, make sure to compare your transfer options and find the most convenient and cost-effective transfer solution.
Compare money transfer services below
Banks versus money transfer companies
If you want to send money from Canada to Colombia, you could use your bank. While banks offer a convenient transfer solution, they don’t offer it cheaply. Banks are notorious for offering mediocre exchange rates and charging high fees on international transfers, so even a transfer of a small amount can end up costing a whole lot more than you might expect.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider the services provided by a wide range of specialist online money transfer providers. These companies, such as WorldRemit and Currency Fair, offer quick and affordable transactions to thousands of destinations around the world. Their exchange rates and fees are much more reasonable than those charged by the banks, which means that more money stays in your bank account – or your recipient’s.
Case study: Carlos sends money to Colombia
While Carlos is living and working in Canada for a couple of years, he intermittently sends money home to his parents in Colombia. Up until recently, he has used his bank to send the international transfer for him, but he decides to compare two specialist online money transfer providers to see if they can offer him a better deal.
The results of his comparison are shown below. As you can see, Carlos can save $46 in transfer fees but send just under 30,000 COP less with the first money transfer provider. The difference in exchange rate is only around $13, so it is much cheaper for him to send the money with transfer company one. Take note that the second transfer company charges higher fees due to their fast transfer speeds. If Carlos was in a hurry to have the money reach Colombia, he would be better opting for the second transfer provider service.
|Money transfer provider 1||Money transfer provider 2|
|Exchange rate||$1 CAD = 2,255.87 COP||$1 CAD = 2,285.78 COP|
|Transfer method||Sent online for cash pick-up or directly to recipient’s bank account||Cash pick-up|
|Processing time||One to three days||Minutes|
|Amount received||2,285,780.39 COP|
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Colombia?
- Exchange rates. Compare the exchange rates offered by a number of transfer companies to calculate just how affordable your transaction will be. Some companies will offer less competitive exchange rates but charge lower fees, like the example above, or they may provide more competitive exchange rates but charge higher fees.
- Transaction fees. Read up on all of the fees and charges that will apply to your transfers. Some companies will also waive their fees for large transactions, but this is usually over the $10,000 mark or higher.
- Method of placing a transfer. Check to see what options are available for placing transfers: online, over the phone, in person at a branch and/or using a smartphone app.
- Transfer options. Some companies specialize in providing one-off transfers only, but others can offer flexible features such as forward contracts and recurring payment plans to help you save money and time.
- Minimum and maximum transfer amounts. If you will need to transfer small or large amounts, check to see whether the company imposes any minimum or maximum transaction limits. Keep in mind that there may also be a limit on the amount of money you can transfer during a certain period, for example once a month.
- Turnaround time. Compare transaction processing times between providers to see which one can get your funds to the destination the quickest, not to mention how much you’ll have to pay for an urgent transfer.
- Pickup options. Does the provider offer cash pickup transfers or bank account deposits? Are there any other ways your recipient can access the money you send? Sometimes companies will also allow cell phone transfers using apps.
- Customer service. If you ever have a question about a transfer or about the services a company offers, can you easily access the assistance you need from the customer support team? Some companies will be available 24/7, while others may only be available a few hours a day.
How do I send money to Colombia from Canada?
- Specialist transfer companies. Money transfer providers like WorldRemit can offer convenient and affordable international transfers.
- Cash pickup transfers. Western Union and MoneyGram offer easy and fast cash transfers to Colombia. Keep in mind these companies charge higher fees since they send the funds overseas within just minutes.
- Bank transfers. You can send money to Colombia through your Canadian bank, but this will usually be an expensive transfer option.
- PayPal. You can use PayPal to send money from Canada to Colombia. Both you and your recipient will need PayPal accounts.
- International cheques. A secure yet slow and costly transfer method is to send an international guaranteed cheque. This is the slowest way to send money overseas.
How do I receive money from Colombia in Canada?
- Specialist transfer companies. Do your research online to see which companies offer transfers from Colombia to Canada.
- Cash pickup transfers. This option allows you to pick up a cash transfer from a money transfer branch location close to you.
- Bank transfers. Another viable transfer option is to send funds directly from a Colombian bank account to a Canadian bank account.
- PayPal. As mentioned above, you can use PayPal to send money to countries all over the world.
- International cheques. International guaranteed cheques are an old-fashioned transfer method that can also be expensive and extremely slow.
Emergency cash transfers in Colombia
You’ve just received a panicked reverse charges phone call from your brother in Colombia. While vacationing in Bogota, he’s had his wallet stolen and only has $10 to his name and he needs you to send him funds fast.
The good news is that there are plenty of companies who can help you send an emergency cash transfer; the bad news is that urgent transfers cost more than normal ones. Lower exchange rates and higher fees than normal often apply, so check the full cost of your transaction before deciding whether or not you’re getting a good deal.
Cash pickup locations in Colombia/ Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Colombia
Western Union and MoneyGram offer fast cash transfers that can be picked up from branch locations across Colombia. Your recipient will need to take photo ID and a transaction reference number with them when they go to pick up the funds. Phoning ahead to confirm an agent’s opening hours is also recommended. Some popular cash pickup locations in Colombia are listed below.
Calle 42 A Sur 19 07 Bogota, Cundinamarca
Open 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 2pm Saturday
Acciones Y Valores Sa
Carrera 59a N 79 30 Local 117
Exito Calle 80 Bogota
Open 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm Sunday
Acciones Y Valores Sa
Diagonal 50a N 38 20 Local 101
Oficina Niquia Pf Medellin, Antioquia
Open 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday
Carrera 47 7 76 Medellin, Antioquia
Open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 12pm Saturday
Titan Intercontinental Sa
Transversal 71D No 26 94 Sur Ccial Plaza de las Americas Lca
Open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm Saturday
Calle 98 N52B10
Open 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 1pm Saturday
Kr 80 No. 48-105
Open 8am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, 8am to 4:30pm Friday
Kr 55 No. 42-180
Open 8am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday
Tips for picking up cash in Colombia
The Government of Canada recommends that Canadian visitors to Colombia exercise a high degree of caution, so it’s important that you take care when picking up cash. If you can, get a friend to accompany you and act as an extra deterrent to would-be thieves, while it’s also a good idea to only visit a cash pickup agent in an area you know to be safe. Don’t display the cash you collect in public and deposit it in a safe place as soon as possible.
What are the steps to send money to Colombia?
The basic tasks you’ll need to complete when sending money to Colombia are as follows:
- Sign up for an account. Once you’ve chosen a transfer company, you can usually register for a free online account. You’ll likely have to supply your name, contact details and proof of ID.
- Enter your transaction information. How much money are you sending and in what currency? Who are you sending the money to and where do they live? You’ll need to answer all of these questions when finalizing the details of your transfer.
- Complete your transfer. Review your payment details and the full cost of your transaction, then submit your transfer. You will most likely receive a reference number you can use to monitor the progress of your funds. Keep this reference number in case you have any problems.