How to send money to Ethiopia

The safest and most cost-effective ways of sending money to friends and family in Ethiopia from Canada.

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The Ethiopian burr might be a thinly traded currency, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when it comes to sending money to Ethiopia. Money transfer services like TransferWise, TransFast and WorldRemit are willing to go out of their way for your business, and often offer more competitive exchange rates and lower fees than the bank.

WorldRemit International Money Transfers Offer

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

    Save big when you send money to Ethiopia

    Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
    CAD 0 Within an hour CAD 3.99 22.537 ETB
    112,596
    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.
    Go to site Show details

    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.

    Should I use my bank or a money transfer service to send money to Ethiopia?

    Chances are that one of the reasons you’ve landed on this page is to get a little bit of guidance on which provider will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to sending money to Ethiopia. While we don’t claim to have all the answers, we can say with a high degree of confidence that a dedicated international money transfer services will almost always beat the bank when it comes to offering more competitive exchange rates and lower fees.

    • Banks. When it comes to financial services, banks tend to dabble in a little bit of everything, which means they find themselves at a certain disadvantage in the realm of international money transfers. Since banks don’t consider transfers to be their bread and butter, they tend not to focus as much attention on making their services uber competitive, which means they typically charge a much larger margin on every transfer in comparison to dedicated money transfer services.
    • Money transfer services. Dedicated international money transfer services have an eagle-eye focus on improving their services for one very specific area of finance. This means they’re constantly coming up with new ways to shave money off their prices in order to keep their customers happy and coming back for more. Because they carry out more transfers on a day-to-day basis, transfer services have more wiggle room when it comes to lowering their margins in comparison to the bank, which can save you a ton of money in the long run.

    Case Study: Anne Sends Money to Ethiopia

    Anne’s boyfriend Jonathan lives in Ethiopia and is working as a program assistant for a local charity. After he returns home from work one day, Jonathan realizes that he’s misplaced his wallet, and needs some fast cash to tide him over while he goes about trying to replace his debit and credit cards. Anne offers to send him $1,000 but knows that her bank doesn’t support the Ethiopian burr. She decides to compare two reputable cash transfer services, to see which one can offer the quickest service for the lowest price.

    Cash transfer company 1Cash transfer company 2
    Exchange rateCAD$1 = ETB 18.587CAD$1 = ETB 19.858
    Transfer fee$30$25
    Transfer methodCash pickup transferCash pickup transfer
    Processing timeLess than 1 hourLess than 24 hours
    Amount received (in ETB) ETB 18,587ETB 19,858

    Anne is pleased to discover that Jonathan will receive an additional ETB 1,271 ($60) if she sends him money using the first transfer option, even though she will need to pay an additional $5 in fees to cover the cost of transfer.


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    How do I compare transfer companies when sending money to Ethiopia?

    Anne learned a lot by conducting a quick comparison between two cash transfer companies, and recommends hunting for the following features if you’re looking for the best deal when you send money overseas.

    • Competitive exchange rates. Compare services to find an exchange rate that’s a close match to the mid-market rate (which is the rate you can find when you search “CAD to ETB exchange rates” on Google).
    • Minimal fees. Find a company that offers low to no fees, but make sure they don’t charge exorbitant exchange rates to make up the difference.
    • Various transfer methods. Determine which services offer bank-to-bank transfers and which specialize in cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups, and pick the best option for you.
    • Fast transfer times. Figure out what your timeline for delivery will be before settling on a service, as some transactions will take several days while others will process in a couple of minutes.
    • Reliable customer service. Settle on a money transfer service that puts customer service at the forefront, so that you can rest assured you’ll have a helping hand if you happen to run into hiccups along the way.
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    What are my options for sending money to Ethiopia?

    There are a number of different options to send money to Ethiopia. Pick the one that best suits your circumstances, keeping in mind that dedicated money transfer companies are often a cut above the rest.

    • Bank. Contact your bank to find out whether they deal in Ethiopian burr before organizing a bank-to-bank transfer.
    • Cash transfer providers. Send cash to hundreds of agent locations across Ethiopia with cash transfer providers like Western Union and MoneyGram.
    • Online money transfer companies. Book a transfer with an online service like TransferWise or TransFast to lock in the lowest fees and most competitive exchange rates.
    • International bank drafts. Arrange an international money draft with your bank, which can then be sent through the mail (for those of us who aren’t so tech-savvy!)

    Compare Fees and Exchange Rates

    Money Transfer ServiceTransfer Fee (CAD)Exchange Rate MarkupTotal in ETB minus fees (from $1,000)
    MoneyGram$5020.73219,686
    TransFast$4.9920.75020,646
    TransferWise$1020.95820,748

    Rates updated as of 04 July 2018 (subject to change) – you can visit many of these websites directly by clicking ‘Go to Site’ on the interactive transfer comparison table at the top of the page.

    Emergency cash transfers to Ethiopia

    Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of a stolen wallet or recovering from an over-zealous shopping trip, you can book a cash transfer to Ethiopia in minutes with a service like Western Union or MoneyGram. These companies can be great in an emergency, but you can typically find a better deal if you’re willing to wait a little bit longer for your transfer to process. Pro tip: when your transaction goes through, your recipient will need to present with their passport and a tracking number at the location in question to pick up their money.

    • Western Union. Find a pick-up location with the Western Union agent location tool.
    • MoneyGram. Collect cash from one of hundreds of MoneyGram locations across 225 Ethiopian cities.
    • WorldRemit. Cash is available to collect instantly from any Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Lion International, Dashen Bank or United Bank S.C. branches.
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    Tips for picking up cash in Ethiopia

    If you do plan to visit Ethiopia, the Government of Canada recommends that you exercise a high degree of caution. There is a moderate level of crime in Ethiopia, including in Addis Ababa, and street crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, are prevalent. Pickpockets and thieves are active throughout the city, but particularly on Bole Road and in the Piazza, the Merkato (market), the Entoto and other areas frequented by tourists and foreigners and crime significantly increases after dark. If you do need to pick up a cash transfer in the city, keep the following tips in mind:

    • Avoid traveling alone, particularly at night.
    • Enlist a friend to accompany you for extra security
    • Avoid picking up large sums of money
    • Store cash in a safe place after pick-up
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    What are the steps to send money to Ethiopia?

    While every money transfer service will likely have a slightly different process for registration, most transfer services will require you to adhere to the following requirements.

    1. Register for an account. Accounts are almost always free, and you can typically sign up in under 10 minutes by providing your personal details, contact information, proof of ID and bank account details.
    2. Enter your transaction details. The next step is to enter all of the relevant transaction information, including the amount and currency you plan to send to send, along with your recipient’s personal and banking information.
    3. Finalize the transaction. Once you’ve reviewed the details of your transaction, you can submit your transfer request. Most transfer services will then provide an online tracking number by e-mail so that you know when your funds have been delivered.

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