How to send money to El Salvador

Send money to El Salvador using an international money transfer service and you could beat the bank's rates.

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Nowadays, there are plenty of different ways to send money overseas. These ways often include using an online specialist money transfer service, a cash pick up service or your local bank. While banks typically charge high fees to send money to the Central American nation of El Salvador, specialist money transfer services generally offer more competitive exchange rates and charge lower fees.

While sending money to El Salvador from Canada might seem like a daunting and costly task, it’s actually quite a simple and affordable process. Learn more about sending money overseas to El Salvador in our guide and compare some of the companies who offer this service below.

WorldRemit International Money Transfers

WorldRemit International Money Transfers


WorldRemit can help you get your money where it needs to go in minutes, with upfront exchange rates and low fees.

Use promo code FINDERCA on your first transfer and pay zero fees. T&Cs apply.

  • Transfers to 150+ countries
  • Send to bank account, cash pickup, mobile money, airtime top up
  • Pay with card, Interac or Apple/Android Pay

    Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
    CAD 0 Within an hour CAD 3.99 0.758 USD
    3,789
    Use code FINDERCA and pay zero fees on your first transfer. Conditions apply.
    An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
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    Compare up to 4 providers


    The “Rate” and “Amount Received” displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

    Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

    Banks vs money transfer companies

    When many people want to send money overseas they decide to go to their bank and send a wire transfer. While this might seem like the easiest option, it’s actually not the fastest or even the most cost-effective method for transferring your funds. There are many options that are much cheaper and quicker.

    In recent years, there has been an increase in the number and popularity of dedicated online transfer companies, which specialize in international money transfers. These providers typically offer much more competitive exchange rates and lower fees than the banks, plus they also often ensure that funds arrive to your recipient much quicker.

    In the case of sending money to El Salvador, some Canadian banks will not allow you to transfer funds to the central American nation. Although some banks will offer this service, it may be a better option for you to use a specialist money transfer provider instead.

    Case study: Fernando transfers funds to El Salvador

    Fernando is a Canadian citizen of Salvadoran ancestry. His grandparents still live in El Salvador and have recently fallen on hard times financially, so Fernando wants to send them $2,500 Canadian dollars to help them make ends meet. Fernando has found it very difficult to find a Canadian bank to transfer the funds for him, so he decides to compare the cost of doing the transfer with two specialist money transfer providers. As you can see in the comparison table below, he discovers that it makes sense to compare your options in order to find the best deal.

    Money Transfer Service 1Money Transfer Service 2
    Exchange rate$1 CAD = 0.77 USD$1 CAD = 0.78 USD
    Tranfer FeeCAD$4CAD$50
    Transfer TimeOne to two daysOne to two days
    Transfer OptionsBank account transfer (cash pick up offered for a higher transfer fee)Cash pick up only
    Amount Received (in USD)US$1,931.17US$1,950.01

    In the end, Fernando can send more money using transfer service 2, however the fee will cost him more money than he saves. Therefore, it is more cost-efficient if he uses money transfer service 1.

    How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to El Salvador

    If you would like to save money when transferring funds to El Salvador, shop around for the best money transfer company by comparing the following features:

      • Exchange rates. Look for the best exchange rate available to ensure you are getting a good deal. However, remember to take fees into account when looking at exchange rates, since some companies will offer a lower exchange rate in exchange for not charging any fees, while others will offer a more competitive exchange rate but may charge higher transfer fees.
      • Pick-up methods available. Examine how your recipient can access the funds you send and which method would best suit them. Can the funds be picked up in person or is everything done electronically? How soon can the funds be accessed?
      • Fees. Compare the transfer fees offered by different providers. Keep an eye out for any other hidden fees that may apply to your transaction. It’s also worth pointing out that some providers will waive their fees completely when you transfer more than a certain amount, so keep an eye out for this feature. Depending on the company, the fees are more likely to be waived when sending amounts over the $5,000 or $10,000 mark.
      • Turnaround time. Compare how long it takes for your funds to be processed and be made available to your recipient. When you need to send cash quickly, find a company that offers fast processing (within 24 hours or less as opposed to up to five days). Keep in mind faster processing generally means higher transfer fees.
      • Transfer methods. Check whether you can transfer your funds online, over the phone or by visiting a branch. Find a provider that offers transfer options that suit your needs.
      • Minimum transfer amounts. Keep in mind that some companies have minimum transfer amounts. These can be quite restricting if you’re only looking to send a small amount of money. On the other hand, some companies have maximum limits in place, which can affect your transaction if you are looking to send a large sum of money.
      • Customer service. Look for a company that has a good reputation for providing prompt and friendly customer service. Some companies will offer online chat help, while others will offer email, phone and/or in person help.

    How to send money to El Salvador from Canada

    There are a couple of options at your disposal when you wish to send money to El Salvador. The currency used in El Salvador is the US Dollar and it is widely traded on global markets. However, not all Canadian banks and money transfer services will offer transfers to the central American nation of El Salvador. Your options include:

      • Banks. Very few banks will allow you to transfer funds to El Salvador. However, there are some that may offer the service.
      • Emergency transfers. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to quickly and easily send funds to El Salvador. Cash pick-up is available and funds can be sent online.
      • PayPal. PayPal provides a simple online method for transferring funds, although both you and your recipient must have PayPal accounts.
      • Specialist money transfer providers. Companies like WorldRemit offer fast and reliable online transfer services to El Salvador.
      • International money order. You can take money to your bank and hand it over in return for an international guaranteed cheque. However, this method is quite costly and time consuming. Also known as “snail mail”, it is the slowest way to send money overseas.

    Emergency cash transfers in El Salvador

    In some situations, you will find that you need to transfer funds to El Salvador urgently. Although time is of the essence in such situations, don’t forget to take all of the necessary precautions to guarantee you get the best possible deal available. For example, double check the exchange rate that will be offered for your transaction, while at the same time remembering to make sure you’re aware of any fees attached to the transaction, since urgent transfers generally attract higher fees.

    If the cash will be picked up in person, always be aware of your surroundings and don’t flash the money around. If your cash or your wallet is stolen, call the local police immediately and obtain a police report if possible.

    Locations in El Salvador for cash pick-up

    After the transfer has been completed, the pick up location will depend on how the funds were sent and through which service. WorldRemit, for instance, may allow you to pick-up cash from branches of Banco Agrícola, Banco Fedecredito and Davivienda El Salvador.

    Listed below are some popular locations where cash can be picked up when it has been sent via Western Union or MoneyGram. You’ll need take a valid ID and a transfer reference number with you in order to access the funds, while big transfers may require you to call ahead to your chosen pick up location to ensure that they have enough cash on hand to give you all of the funds.

    Western Union

    • San Salvador

      Airpak

      Apartado Postal (01) 55

      San Salvador, San Salvador

      +503-22508600

      Opening hours not listed

    • Banco Hipotecario

      Esquina Sur Pte A La

      Intercepcion 25 Av Nte 27 Calle

      San Salvador, San Salvador

      +503-22314666

      Open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, Saturday 9am to 12pm

    • Santa Ana

      Banco Hipetecario

      Parque Comercial Los Heroes

      Lote 7b Plg 1 Canton Loma Alta

      Santa Ana, Santa Ana

      +503-22314680

      Open Monday to Friday 8am to 4:30pm, Saturday 8am to 12pm

    • Coop 1 De R L

      10 Av Sur # 9 3era Y 5ta Cl

      Santa Ana, Santa Ana

      +503-24410124

      Open 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm Saturday and 8am to 12pm Sunday

    MoneyGram

    • Empresarial

      Alameda Roosevelt #2002

      San Salvador

      +503-22606878

      Open 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday

    • Banco Salvadoreno

      Avenida Olimpica #3550

      San Salvador

      +2817651521

      No opening hours listed

    • Banco Cuscatlan

      Avenida Final 6 Sur

      Santa Ana

      +503-24406693

      Open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, weekends 8am to 5pm

    • Banco Promerica-Agencia Metapan

      Barrio San Pedro

      2 Calle Final Poniente

      Santa Ana

      +503-25135000

      Open seven days 7am to 9pm

    Tips for picking up cash in El Salvador

    As of February 2018, the Government of Canada recommends that Canadian travellers exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to El Salvador. With this in mind, it’s important that you take extreme care when picking up cash from a branch location or an ATM. Travel with a friend at all times, avoid known dangerous areas of town, avoid public transportation with cash and try not to carry large amounts of cash on your person. Deposit any funds you pick up into a bank or safe place as soon as possible.

    For more tips on how to stay safe on the streets of El Salvador, read online blogs and travel forums for advice from fellow travellers.

    What’s needed to send money to El Salvador

    You can send money to El Salvador via a wire transfer service, online money transfer provider, through your bank or even via PayPal. In order to conduct an international transfer, you will generally need to set up an account first. To do this, you’ll need to supply details such as your name, address, contact number, date of birth and proof of identification.

    Once you’ve sent a transaction, most companies will provide you with a receipt or tracking number, which you can then use to track the progress of your international money transfer.

    There are multiple options to choose from when you need to send money to El Salvador, but it’s important that you do your research and shop around to save money. The best place to start comparing your international money transfer options is at finder.

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