How to send money to Guatemala
Understand what your options are when transferring funds to Guatemala.
The Central American nation of Guatemala boasts breathtaking volcanoes, extensive tracts of rainforest and ancient Mayan ruins. Home to a population of more than 16 million, Guatemala is bordered by Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.
Some Canadians need to send money to Guatemala to pay business expenses, give monetary gifts to friends and loved ones or help out a friend travelling through the region. If you need to send money from Canada to Guatemala, do some research and compare your transfer options. Shopping around for a more cost-effective deal can lead to big savings.
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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 versus money transfer companies
If you want to send money overseas to Guatemala, or anywhere else for that matter, your bank will most likely be able to help. While banks offer an easy and convenient transfer service, they usually don’t offer great value for money. Their exchange rates are typically quite low and their fees are usually high, which basically means international money transfers are far less affordable than they should be.
A much more cost-effective transfer option can be found through specialist online transfer companies, like WorldRemit or TransferWise. These providers trade large volumes of foreign currency and can offer much more competitive exchange rates than the banks can. Their transfer fees are also generally much lower, so shopping around for a better deal than your bank offers is always recommended.
Case study: Jack sends money to Guatemala
Jack wants to send $1,000 Canadian dollars to Steven, his friend who is backpacking in Guatemala. Jack visits his bank in Canada and discovers that they don’t offer money transfers in an exotic currency, meaning he would face an exchange rate from USD in addition to the local GTQ currency. In an effort to find a more attractive deal, he compares the fees and features of two specialist money transfer companies.
As you can see in the table below, Jack can send an extra 30 GTQ by using the first transfer company and can also save $46 Canadian dollars in transfer fees. They offer slower service, however his recipient is not in a rush to receive the money, making this money saving option a much better choice.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||$1 CAD = 5.76 GTQ||$1 CAD = 5.73 GTQ|
|Transfer method||Cash pick-up from local bank||Online bank account transfer|
|Processing time||Two days||Minutes|
|Amount received (in GTQ)|
How do I compare service companies when transferring and receiving money via Guatemala?
- Exchange rates. Check to see how a provider’s exchange rates compare to its competitors, since even a slight discrepancy in exchange rates can result in a big difference when it comes to the final amount your recipient receives. Some companies will hide high fees inside competitive exchange rates, so compare both of these factors to ensure you are getting a good deal.
- Fees. Some companies will completely waive the transfer fee if you send more than a certain amount of money. This is usually quite high, around the $5000 or $10,000 mark.
- Transfer methods. Check to see whether you can transfer money online, in person at a branch, over the phone or via an app on your smartphone.
- Transfer options. Can you place forward contracts and limit orders as well as regular transfers? Do you have the option of scheduling regular payments in advance?
- Minimum and maximum limits. If the company imposes minimum and maximum limits on each transfer, will those limits have any effect on your regular transfer requirements? Make sure a company allows you to send the amount of money you want to send before you commit to a provider.
- Processing times. Transaction processing times can vary from a few minutes to five or six business days.
- Pick-up options. Some companies offer cash pick-up transfers, while others offer bank account deposits.
- Customer service. Check to see if customer support is offered via phone, email and/or live chat, and check the hours during which help is available.
How do I send money to Guatemala from Canada?
- Specialist transfer providers. Companies like WorldRemit offer fast and affordable international money transfers.
- Cash pick-up transfer companies. Check to see if there is a Western Union or MoneyGram agent close to your recipient in Guatemala. These companies charge higher fees, but can generally send the money much faster.
- Bank transfers. Another option is to send a transfer from your Canadian bank account to your recipient’s account in Guatemala. You will likely have to settle for poor exchange rates and high transfer fees.
- International cheques. A more time-consuming method is to obtain an international guaranteed cheque from your bank. This is the slowest way to send money overseas.
- PayPal. You can use PayPal to send money to almost any country worldwide. Keep in mind both you and your recipient need PayPal accounts to send and receive money.
How do I receive money from Guatemala in Canada?
- Specialist transfer providers. Compare a range of options to see which transfer companies offer transactions from Guatemala to Canada.
- Cash pick-up transfer companies. It’s quick and easy to search online for your nearest cash pick-up location. Both MoneyGram and Western Union have hundreds of locations across Canada, with MoneyGram locations inside of many Canada Post office locations.
- Bank transfers. Do a quick comparison to see how your bank’s exchange rates compare to those offered by other dedicated money transfer providers.
- International cheques. Find out how much your bank will charge you when you cash an international cheque. Keep in mind that receiving an international cheque is the slowest way to send money overseas.
- PayPal. As mentioned above, you and your recipient can send money from Guatemala to Canada, and vice versa, using the services of PayPal.
Emergency cash transfers in Guatemala
Sometimes you might need to send money to Guatemala as quickly as possible, and companies like Western Union and MoneyGram can help you do this. Keep in mind that emergency cash transfers tend to cost more than normal transactions, due to higher fees charged and lower exchange rates offered. It’s essential that you review the details and full cost of your transaction before you lodge your transfer and commit to it.
Cash pick-up locations in Guatemala/Western Union/MoneyGram branches in Guatemala
Western Union and MoneyGram offer fast and easy international cash transfers through their large money transfer networks. The details of some popular cash pick-up locations across Guatemala are listed below. Make sure you have photo ID and a transaction ID number on hand when you go to collect the cash. You might also want to call ahead to confirm the agent’s address.
6 Avenida 3 22 Zona 10 2 Nivel Edif
Centro Medico 2 Guatemala, Guatemala
Open 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm Saturday
5 Calle Interior Finca La Aur
A Un Lado De Taquillas Parque Guatemala, Guatemala
Open 9am to 5pm seven days
Calzada San Juan 12 85 Zona 4 Mixco Mixco, Guatemala
Open 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm Saturday
Blvd El Caminero 14 32 San Francisco Zona 6 Mixco Cc San Francisco Mixco, Guatemala
Open 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm Saturday
- Banco G&T
13 Av. 5-40
Zona 1 Guatemala, 01001
Open 9am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday
- Banco Industrial
13 Avenida 5-40 Zona 1
Open 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 12pm Saturday
Open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm Saturday
- La Torre
Lote 7 MZ A S B-6.
Open 8am to 9pm seven days
Tips for picking up cash in Guatemala
Canadian travellers to Guatemala are advised to exercise a high degree of caution by the Government of Canada. This is mainly due to health concerns, however there is some petty crime, robbery and frequent pick-pocketing, especially in big cities. With that said, keep the following tips in mind when collecting cash:
- Don’t go alone – ask a friend to come along with you.
- Only visit cash pick-up locations in areas where you feel safe.
- Don’t display your cash in front of strangers.
- Don’t carry the money around for any longer than you need to.
What are the steps to send money to Guatemala?
- Sign up for an account. It’s usually free to sign up for an account online, and you’ll usually need to supply your full name, contact details and proof of ID.
- Provide your transaction information. The next step is to provide all of the details of your money transfer, including the amount you’re sending, where you’re sending it to and in what currency.
- Finalize your transfer. The last step in the process is to review the cost of your transaction and then submit your transfer request. Many companies also offer an online tracking service so that you can check on the progress of your funds. Keep your tracking number in case you have any issues with your transfer.
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