How to send money to Georgia
How to send a fast, secure and affordable money transfer to Georgia from Canada.
Sending money between Georgia and Canada was once a complicated matter, however with the emergence of specialist money transfer companies, it’s now easier than ever.
Few Canadian banks will send money to Georgia, however the ones that do tend to charge high transfer fees and give unattractive exchange rates. On the other hand, specialist money transfer services provide more competitive exchange rates, faster transfer speeds and charge lower transfer fees.
Read our guide to find out how you can cheaply and quickly send money between Canada and Georgia.
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Case study: Banks vs money transfer companies
Abram moved to Canada because of work, while his wife and children continue living in Georgia. Since they depend on him financially, he’ll have to send them money on a regular basis. He feels that around $1,000 Canadian dollars per month is a suitable amount to send back home.
Abram opened a bank account in Canada, however the bank does not let him transfer money to Georgia given that the Georgian lari (GEL) is considered to be an exotic currency. While he can turn to other Canadian banks, he decides to compare specialist money transfer companies instead. He takes to the Internet and the table below shows what he finds, based on the exchange rate in the spring of 2018. Check current rates before making your decision.
|Money transfer service 1||Money transfer service 2|
|Exchange rate||CAD$1 = GEL1.861||CAD$1 = GEL1.859|
|Amount received for CAD$1,000||GEL1,840.21||GEL1,837.10|
|Transfer time||One to two days||One day|
|Transfer options||Online direct to bank account||Online direct to bank account|
|Difference of||+ GEL3.11|
Abram decides to choose the first transfer company even though it will likely take slightly longer to send the money. The fees are cheaper and he can secure a better exchange rate. He does note however that if his family ever needs access to emergency funds, there are a couple of options for him.
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Georgia?
A range of factors require your attention when sending money to Georgia from Canada. These factors include:
- Exchange rate and fees. It ‘s important that you don’t base your decision on either the exchange rate or the fees alone. This is because a fee-free service provider may offer an unfavourable exchange rate, or large fees can accompany a seemingly competitive exchange rate. Comparing how much money your recipient stands to receive gives you a clearer picture than if you consider the exchange rate and fees alone.
- How you can send money. Find out if your bank lets you transfer funds to Georgian bank accounts. If it does, you may be able to carry out the transfer online, over the phone or by visiting a branch. Some money transfer companies let you send money in person by visiting a store or kiosk, and some let you initiate the process over the phone or online as well. Keep in mind that sending funds online usually gives you considerably more options to choose from.
- How your recipient can receive money. Your recipient can likely receive the money directly into their bank account or can pick the funds up as cash.
- Methods. If you plan on sending money to Georgia regularly, you can look for a company that lets you schedule transfers into the future. If you’re looking at benefitting by fluctuations in the foreign currency exchange market, you can deal with a business that offers market orders and forward contracts. Shop around for a provider that offers the services you need.
- Processing time. The time the transfer takes to go through essentially depends on the service provider and method you choose. Transfers to cash pick-up locations tend to take place almost instantly. Transfers to bank accounts can take one to three days with money transfer companies, and longer with banks.
- Minimum amount. Some providers have minimum transfer limits, which can be anywhere from $5 to $500 or more. Watch out for maximum transfer limits too if you’re looking to send a large sum of money.
How do I send money to Georgia from Canada?
Since the Georgian lari is an exotic currency, you only have a few options when sending money to Georgia from Canada. These include:
- Banks. Some Canadian banks will let you transfer funds directly into a Georgian bank account. You can also think about sending a cheque, draft or money order via mail. Keep in mind that this method, also known as “snail mail”, is the slowest way to send money overseas.
- Alternatives to banks. By using the services of a money transfer company, such as Western Union or MoneyGram, you can send money to a cash pick-up location in Georgia. You can use the services of a money transfer company, like TransferWise, to send money to a Georgian bank account as well. If you and your recipient both have PayPal accounts, you can use its services to send money to Georgia. You can open a PayPal account for free online.
How do I receive money from Georgia in Canada?
When receiving money from Georgia in Canada, you can choose from similar methods, including:
- Banks. By giving the sender your bank account details, you can receive money directly into your bank account. The sender can transfer funds into your account through a Georgian bank or by using a money transfer company. You can also receive a money order, cheque or draft via mail, however as mentioned above, this is the slowest way to receive funds.
- Alternatives to banks. Non-banking businesses, such as Western Union and MoneyGram, have a considerable presence across Canada. You can visit any of their cash pick-up centres to collect transferred money. PayPal also allows transfers to Canada from Georgia. To use its services, both you and the sender should have PayPal accounts. Opening a new account is free and does not involve any fees. Some other specialist transfer companies may allow transfers from Georgia to Canada.
Emergency cash transfers in Georgia
If you end up losing your wallet in Georgia, the first thing you should do is report your debit and credit cards as lost or stolen. Consider filing a police complaint as well and retrieve a police report. Next, you can think about getting emergency money in these ways:
- Cash pick-up. Have a friend or family member send you money that will be available as a cash pick-up from a service like MoneyGram or Western Union. You will need valid ID and the reference number.
- Credit card cash advance. If you have an existing Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card, you can think about getting an emergency cash advance by visiting a local participating bank. Contact your bank or credit card company for more details.
- Travel insurance. With the right kind of travel insurance, you can have access to emergency money to deal with lost and misplaced baggage, flight cancellations and delays, as well as unexpected medical expenses.
Western Union/MoneyGram branches in Georgia
Western Union and MoneyGram have a number of cash pick-up centres in Georgia. Collecting money from any of these centres requires that your recipient present a valid reference number along with a suitable form of ID, such as a passport or a driver’s licence. If the transfer involves a large sum, consider calling in advance to verify the availability of the funds. We have listed some cash pick-up locations in Georgia below.
Varketili Ul 3 Ploschad 14 430Tbilisi+995-322-922922Open 9:30am to 9pm, Monday to Sunday
Moskva Prkt 25Tbilisi+995-322-922922Open 10am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- VTB Bank Georgia
Kutaisi Sc-33 Str. AvtomshenebeliKutaisi+995-322-242424Open 9:30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 2pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
Tsereteli Ul 1Kutaisi+995-322-922922Open 10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, 10am to 2:30pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Bank of Georgia
39a Chitaia StTbilisi+995-322-444444Open 9am to 9pm, Monday to Friday, 10am to 6pm, Saturday, 10am to 2pm, Sunday
Saburtalo Branch7 ChabukianiTbilisi+995-322-981010Open 10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, 11am to 3pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Bank of Georgia
17 Tsminda Nino StKutaisi+995-431-242028Open 10am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
- VTB Georgia
5 Rustaveli StKutaisi+995-431-240480Open 10am to 1pm, Monday, 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 2:30pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
Tips for picking up cash in Georgia
Incidences of serious crime have fallen in Georgia, especially in Tbilisi. However, there have been violent crimes committed against foreigners, which include robberies, carjacking, assaults and home invasions, so it’s best to be cautious. When travelling after dark, exercise vigilance, especially in residential areas and around hotels.
Also, public demonstrations are not uncommon. Avoid them because they can turn violent.
While merchants often quote prices in US dollars or euros, Georgian law requires that you pay for all products and services in Georgian lari. You can use credit cards in Tbilisi easily, but this is not the case in other regions of the country. You can find ATMs in major towns. Acceptance of traveller’s cheques is limited.
What are the steps to send money to Georgia?
The steps will vary depending on the method you choose to send money to Georgia.
- Transfer to a bank account. If you’re sending money through your own bank, you can do by providing the recipient’s name and bank account details. If you’re sending money through a transfer company, you’ll have to provide details of your bank account, debit card or credit card as well. You can use the reference number you get when you initiate the transfer to track its progress.
- Cash pick-up. When sending money to a cash pick-up centre, you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name as well as a desired pickup centre. You’ll have to provide your bank account, debit card or credit card details to make the payment. You get a reference number once you initiate the transfer, which your recipient needs to know in order to collect the transferred money. Keep in mind that you must visit a MoneyGram branch in person in Canada to send funds overseas.
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