Avoid poor exchange rates and high fees when sending money to Lebanon
According to the 2011 census, there are over 190,000 Canadians who claim to have full or partial Lebanese ancestry. Settling in parts of Canada like Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, Canada is home to one of the largest Lebanese diaspora communities in the world. With that said, there is a great need for affordable and fast ways to send money between Lebanon and Canada.
In addition to high immigration rates, there are relatively strong diplomatic relations between the two nations. Trade between Canada and Lebanon totals on average over $140 million dollars a year. Furthermore, Canada has an embassy in Beirut and maintains strong relations with the country.
Whether you own property in Lebanon and must make payments or you simply want to send funds to loved ones, there are a few options in terms of affordable and fast money transfer services between the two nations. Read this guide to find out quick and cost-effective ways to send money between Canada and Lebanon.
Case study: Anwar makes a transfer
Born and raised in Beirut, Anwar was approached by a Canadian export company to assist its Ottawa headquarters with shipments to Lebanon.
Anwar is excited for the opportunity but concerned about his parents who rely on his salary for their expenses. He decides to first do some research to see what types of services are available for sending money from Canada to Lebanon and how much $1,000 CAD will convert to in Lebanese Pounds (LBP).
|Bank||Money transfer company|
|Exchange rate||$1 CAD = 1,002.02 LBP||$1 CAD = 1,162.14 LBP|
|Cost per transfer||CAD$25||CAD$30|
|Amount received in LBP||LBP1,002,024.00||LBP1,162,144.00|
|Transfer time||2-5 days||Within minutes|
|Pick-up options||Bank to bank transfer||Cash pick-up only|
Anwar was surprised at the difference in the amount of money his parents would receive when using a specialist money transfer company over a bank. While the fees charged were close to equal, there was a marked difference in the exchange rates, saving Anwar LBP160,120.00, which is over $130 Canadian dollars.
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring money to Lebanon?
There are a number of fees and features that should be considered when transferring money from Canada to Lebanon, and vice versa. To ensure that you are choosing a service that suits your needs, compare the following factors:
- The exchange rate. The exchange rate lets you know the equivalent of the Canadian dollar to the Lebanese Pound. As this often appears to differ in fractions of a cent, it’s important to compare it using a larger sum of money, alongside comparing it to the fees charged by the provider.
- The fees. Fees will vary for the service and will sometimes change with the same company based on the amount of money you are sending. Some companies will completely waive fees if you send over a certain amount of money, however this is usually over the $10,000 mark.
- Pick-up methods. You will notice that while some companies offer a cash pick-up option, you may also be able to make a direct bank deposit.
- Turnaround time for the money transfer. In some cases, the transfer will be almost instantaneous, while a bank transfer may take up to five business days to complete.
- Transfer amount. If you intend on sending smaller amounts of money, check for a minimum transfer amount. Minimums can be as low as $5 and as high as $250 sometimes.
How do I send money to Lebanon from Canada?
Lebanese pounds are considered to be an exotic currency, which deters some Canadian banks from making transfers to Lebanon. You still may be able to have the CAD sent to a bank account in Lebanon where it will then be converted, meaning you will face another exchange rate.
As a result, a specialist money transfer service may be the most convenient option. Here are some of the ways you can send money between Canada and Lebanon:
- Canadian Banks. Some of the big Canadian banks will transfer money between Canada and Lebanon. Check with RBC, TD, Scotiabank, BMO and CIBC.
- MoneyGram. MoneyGram can be accessed online or at agents throughout Canada to send money to Lebanon. Many MoneyGram locations are located inside Canada Post offices and branch locations across Canada.
- XpressMoney. This money transfer service provider allows for cash pick-ups in Lebanon at a number of agencies. There are not many XpressMoney locations in Canada, however you can access it online too.
- Western Union. You are able to send money to Lebanon with Western Union, as they have hundreds of thousands of locations worldwide.
- PayPal. As long as both you and your recipient have PayPal accounts, you can send money between the two nations. PayPal accounts are free of charge and only take minutes to set up.
Emergency cash transfers in Lebanon
If you are travelling in Lebanon and lose your money or wallet, you may be able to obtain emergency cash using one of these methods:
- Cash pick-up with a transfer company. As long as you have a valid photo identification, like a passport, you can have money sent to you in Lebanon using a specialist money transfer service provider like MoneyGram or Western Union.
- Credit card provider. If your credit card is also lost, your credit card provider may send you a small amount of emergency cash until a replacement card reaches you.
- Travel insurance. A travel insurance plan obtained before your trip may have provisions to send you cash in the event of an emergency. Make sure you file and save a copy of a police report to use in your claim.
Cash pick-up locations in Lebanon
Listed below are a number of locations in Lebanon where you can make your cash pick-up. Make sure to bring your passport and the transfer reference number in order to receive your funds. It’s also helpful to know the full name of the sender and exactly how much money has been sent.
Choumar Bldg Haret Hreik
Open Seven days a week from 8am to 10pm
El Masri Bldg Bir Hasan
Open Seven days a week from 8am to 10pm
BLC Bank SAL
Open Monday through Friday 8:30am to 1pm. Saturday 8:30am to 12pm.
Open Seven days a week from 8am to 9pm.
Cash United Steve Cell 2
Seydnaya Strrayan Bldggr Fl
Near Supermarket Youssef
Open seven days a week from 9am to 9pm.
MME Labo Color
Borj Abi Haidar
Open seven days a week from 7am to 11:55pm.
Cash United Library Dannawi
Abi Samra Helweh Str Marjet Zouhour Sq Gr Fl
Near Dream Café
Open Monday through Saturday 10am to 9pm.
MME Maarad Tripoli Branch 2
Dam and Farez Area
Near Sahseh Café
Open seven days a week from 8am to 11pm.
Tips for picking up cash in Lebanon
The Government of Canada does not encourage Canadian tourists to take a vacation in Lebanon. All non-essential travel should be avoided, due to frequent terrorist attacks and bombings.
If you absolutely have to visit Lebanon and need to pick up cash at an agency, secure reliable transportation with a trusted individual and put the money in a safe place immediately. Always pick up funds in the daytime and always be aware of your personal belongings.
How to send money to Lebanon
As your options for sending money to Lebanon from Canada are mostly cash transfer service companies, it’s important that you and the recipient are prepared with the following:
- Full name. The full name of your recipient’s ID should match exactly with the name listed on the transfer order.
- Reference number. You will be given a unique reference number at the conclusion of the transaction. This number must be given to the pick-up agent by your recipient along with their identification.
- Your name. For verification, the agent may ask for the recipient to give your full name and location. Normally a city name is enough, instead of a full address.
- Transfer amount. The amount of money sent will also be verified by the pick-up agent.
Save the paperwork that is given to you at the end of the transaction. This will serve as your proof in the event that there is a dispute with the transfer company, or in case there are any problems with your transaction.
When looking at ways to send money to friends and family in Lebanon from Canada, it’s important that you compare the available options carefully. There are distinct differences in fees and rates, which will affect the amount of money that reaches your recipient in Lebanon.