Save big when you send money to Madagascar

baobabsSend more money to Madagascar with the right transfer service.

A huge island nation off the southeast coast of Africa, Madagascar is celebrated for the rich diversity of its flora and fauna (with 5% of all known animal and plant species endemic to the island), all supported by a wide diversity of ecosystems, from sandstone canyons to limestone karsts to forests teeming with the distinctively shaped baobabs (pictured here).

Although two-way trade remains moderate, the trade relationship between Canada and Madagascar is becoming increasingly important, with Madagascar identified as an “emerging market with specific opportunities for Canadian business” in Canada’s 2013 Global Markets Action Plan.

When it comes to sending money to Madagascar, 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.

Compare Money Transfer Services

Rates last updated February 21st, 2018
Transfer Speed Services Min. Transfer Amount Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
1 day
AUD 2,000 Rates are always
changing, click to check
your price today
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1 day
AUD 250 Rates are always
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your price today
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Banks vs money transfer companies or services

While banks can help you send money from Canada to Madagascar in a tight spot, that doesn’t mean that they should be your first choice. Unlike money transfer services, 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 prohibitive administrative fees to boot. 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: Chad compares transfer services to send money to Madagascar

Chad has wanted to visit Madagascar ever since watching the escapades of Alex the Lion and Marty the Zebra in the 2005 Dreamworks Animation hit. Chad is going to meet his girlfriend in the the nation’s capital, Antananarivo, but he wants to send her some funds in advance of his arrival, so he consults with his bank to arrange a transfer. Since the Malagasy Ariary is not a common currency, his bank doesn’t have a suitable option for cash pick-up in-country, so he decides to compare the cost of sending $1,000 with two well-known money transfer companies.

Money transfer service 1Money transfer service 2
Exchange rate1 CAD = MGA2,4971 CAD = MGA2,430
Transfer fee$25$60
Amount received for $1000MGA2,497,000MGA2,430,000
Transfer timeMinutesMinutes
Transfer optionsOnline, agent, phoneOnline, agent, phone
Difference in MGA+67,000

Chad realizes that he can save approximately MGA67,000 (around $26) in the exchange rate with the second option, but will lose $35 in transfer fees. For this reason, he decides to use the first option, for a savings of $9.

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How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Madagascar

Chad 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.

How do I send money to Madagascar from Canada?

There are several transfer methods from which to choose, including:

  • Canadian Banks. Many Canadian banks can facilitate overseas transfers online, but most cost more than a dedicated international money transfer service. Word to the wise: it may prove difficult to find a bank able to exchange in Malagasy Ariary, so a money transfer service might be your safest bet.
  • Money Transfer Services. Most money transfer services offer lower exchange rates and fees.
  • Cash pickup transfer companies. Western Union and MoneyGram both have several cash pickup locations in Madagascar.
  • PayPal. Paypal is operational in Madagascar, so if you and your recipient have Paypal accounts, you can send money online.
  • International money order. Most banks accept deposits in exchange for an internationally bank-guaranteed cheque that your recipient can deposit into his or her bank account.
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Compare money transfer services

Money Transfer ServiceTransfer Fee (CAD)Exchange Rate MarkupTotal in MGA with fees deducted (from $1000.00)
Canadian Forex$15$2,4642,426,851.00
XE Money Transfer$0$2,4972,497,400.00

Rates current as of 19 February 2018

Emergency cash transfers in Madagascar

If you’re visiting and manage to lose your wallet, you can explore the following options to recover (or at least replace) your hard-earned cash:

  • Travel insurance. Depending on your policy, you may be able to get emergency cash, provided you fulfill the pre-requisites.
  • Cash transfer services. So long as you are in possession of your passport, companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram can be used to send money from Canada to Madagascar for cash pickup.
  • Credit card company. Many platinum credit cards now offer forms of complimentary traveller protection, which may come in handy if you need a quick fix.

Cash pickup locations in Madagascar

With branches in Madagascar and all around the world, Western Union and MoneyGram offer convenient international money transfers. Below are some details for each company’s most popular cash pick-up locations. Quick tip: Make sure to bring along identification, as well as a reference number and transfer details when picking up money.

Western Union

Tips for picking up cash in Madagascar

If you do plan to visit Madagascar, the Government of Canada recommends that you exercise a high degree of caution (as of 19 February 2018). Foreign tourists are most commonly affected by theft, including pick pocketing and muggings. It’s important to be cautious of strategies to distract your attention and avoid showing signs of affluence (e.g. electronic devices, jewels and expensive sunglasses). When picking up cash, be extra careful around automated banking machines (ABMs), steer clear of isolated areas and never walk alone at night.

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How to send money to Madagascar

You will need precise information for your recipient when sending money from Canada to Madagascar. Prepare yourself and your recipient ahead of time with the following information.

  • Name. You will need to know the exact name on the recipient’s identification. Check the paperwork given to you before leaving the location to make sure that the agent has also spelled it right.
  • Transfer number. At the conclusion of your transaction you will be given a transfer number. The recipient will need to know this number in order to pick up the money.
  • Amount. The recipient will be asked for the amount sent along with your name and possibly your contact information. Make sure that they have this information before attempting pickup.
  • Security question. In some cases you can arrange for a security question to be answered by the recipient as further proof of identification.

You will receive documentation at the conclusion of your transaction. Make sure that you save this in the event that your recipient has a problem with collecting the transfer.

Once you have found the money transfer company that gives you the best rates and fees, you will find that you are able to send even more money to Madagascar. Carefully conduct your investigation into all of the options available to make sure that you are getting the most value for your hard earned dollars.

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