Send money to Kiribati: compare your options

kiribatiFollow these handy tips to send reliable and affordable money transfers to Kiribati.

Situated in the equatorial pacific, Kiribati makes up a small patchwork of islands famous for their pristine beaches and topaz waters, for those tourists longing for a bit of luxury off the beaten track.

When it comes to sending money to Kiribati, Canadians have plenty of suitable options. So how do you make sure you choose the right service for you? Look for one that offers the most return on your dollar, with better exchange rates and lower transaction fees.

Banks versus money transfer companies

While banks can help you send money from Canada to destinations all around the globe in a pinch, that doesn’t mean that they should be your go-to. Banks are notorious for jacking up exchange rates – they trade at the mid-market rate (the rate often found by conducting a simple Google search) but then they upsell exchange rates to clients and often tack on an exorbitant administrative fee. For this reason, it’s often worth your time and energy to compare your options.

When it comes to transferring funds overseas, many Canadians opt for online transfer services, specialized in offering safe and affordable international transfers. Since these companies trade in large volumes of currency every day, they are better-positioned to offer competitive exchange rates with lower fees than the bank.

Case Study: Keith Sends Money to Kiribati

Keith wants to send $1,000 to his daughter Leah, who is spending a month traveling and volunteering in Kiribati. Leah has managed to spend her entire holiday budget in only two weeks, so Keith promises to forward on a bit of pocket money as soon as possible. Keith knows that his bank will overcharge on exchange rates, not to mention take several days to complete the transfer, so he decides to compare two well-known cash pickup transfer companies to see if he can find a more suitable deal.

As the table below shows, using the second company allows Keith to save $7 in transfer fees.

Money transfer company 1Money transfer company 2
Transfer fee$10$3
Transfer methodOnline bank account transferOnline bank account transfer
Processing time1-3 days1-3 days
Amount received (in AUD)$1,000$1,000

How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Kiribati?

Keith learned a lot from his inquiry into his money transfer options. When comparing services, look for the following features and rates to find the one that offers the most value.

  • Competitive exchange rates. Track down the best rates. While official rates are set, financial institutions can make adjustments to cover their costs, which means more money out of your pocket. Exchange rates can have a big impact on your bottom line and it pays (quite literally) to do your homework.
  • Minimal fees. Look for flexible fees. The bank charges a standard fee on all transfers regardless of the amount. Money transfer services have flexible fees that vary according to the amount being transferred. Simply plug in different cash amounts to see how much your fee is going to be with each service.
  • Various transfer methods. Discover your options. Depending on your circumstances, you may prefer a bank account to bank account transfer rather than a cash pickup. Figure out your limitations, and then choose the right fit for you.
  • Fast transfer times. Don’t get left behind. Money transfer services have faster processing times (most completed within one business day). For regularly scheduled payments the bank is an option, but in case of an emergency, your friendly neighborhood transfer service is your best bet.
  • Suitable transfer amounts. Know your limits and play within them. Some services have a minimum and maximum amount that can be sent with each transaction. Make sure to do your homework.
  • Reliable customer service. Hold reputation in high regard. When transferring money frequently, ensure peace of mind by using a reputable service that will connect you with an agent immediately if there’s a problem with pick-up.
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How do I send money to Kiribati from Canada?

  • Canadian Banks. Many Canadian banks can facilitate overseas transfers online, but most cost more than a dedicated international money transfer service.
  • Money Transfer Services. Most money transfer services offer lower exchange rates and fees. Just make sure they offer a cash pick-up option in Kiribati (like Western Union) so that you don’t run into problems on the receiving end.
  • Cash pickup transfer companies. Western Union and MoneyGram both have several cash pickup locations in Kiribati.

Emergency cash transfers in Kiribati

If you’re in a bit of a pickle and you need to send money to Kiribati as quickly as possible then search for a cash pick-up option like Western Union, who can complete transactions in as little as 10 minutes. With this type of service, higher transaction fees and lower exchange rates often apply, so just make sure you know what you’re agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line. Once the money is sent, the recipient just needs to present with their passport at the appropriate pick-up location to collect funds.

Cash pickup locations in Kiribati / Western Union branches in Kiribati

With hundreds of thousands of agent locations around the world, Western Union offers a huge range of transfer options. Some of the company’s popular cash pickup locations in Kiribati are detailed below. Make sure that you have photo ID and a transaction reference number with you when you go to collect any cash.

With scores of locations in Canada and three main locations in Kiribati, Western Union can offer fast and convenient cash transfers between the two countries. You’ll typically need to provide a reference number, transfer details and some identification when picking up cash.

Western Union

Tips for picking up cash in Kiribati

If you do plan to visit Kiribati, the Government of Canada recommends that you exercise a normal degree of caution. That being said, if you need to go to an agent to pick up cash, avoid travelling alone and return to your hotel to stow cash in a safe place before continuing on with the rest of your day.

What are the steps to send money to Kiribati?

You will generally need to do the following in order to send an international money transfer:

  1. Sign up for an account. It’s usually free to register for an online account when you provide your full name, contact details and valid photo ID.
  2. Provide your transaction information. Enter details about the amount of money you’re sending, where it’s going and what currency you will be transferring.
  3. Finalise your transfer. The final step is to review the details and cost of your transaction before submitting your transfer. Many providers also offer email or SMS notifications to let you know when your transfer has been completed.
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