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 Wise, 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.
Send money to Ethiopia with WorldRemit
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
Choose how you want to send your money - via bank transfer, cash pickup or mobile money
Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
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 marginsin 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 1
Cash transfer company 2
CAD$1 = ETB 18.587
CAD$1 = ETB 19.858
Cash pickup transfer
Cash pickup transfer
Less than 1 hour
Less than 24 hours
Amount received (in ETB)
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.
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.
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 Wise or TransFast to lock in the lowest fees and most competitive exchange rates.
International bank drafts. Arrange aninternational 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 Service
Transfer Fee (CAD)
Exchange Rate Markup
Total in ETB minus fees (from $1,000)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Claire Horwood is a writer at Finder, specializing in credit cards, loans and other financial products. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies from the University of Victoria, along with an Associate's Degree in Science from Camosun College. Much of Claire's coursework has focused on writing and statistics, with a healthy dose of social and cultural analysis mixed in for good measure. She has also worked extensively in the field of "Blended Finance" with the Canadian government. In her spare time, Claire loves rock climbing, travelling and drinking inordinate amounts of coffee.
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