Send money to Panama – a country that connects two oceans and continents with a world of opportunities.
Panama plays a key role in Central America. Its positioning allows trade to be connected between South and North America, as well as the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Much of Panama’s consistently high annual GDP (above 6%) is made from tolls allocated to these connecting ports, but commerce, banking and tourism are major and growing sectors.
Canada and Panama established relations in 1961 and in 2009 signed a bilateral free trade agreement. While not many Panamanians live in Canada, quite a few Canadians retire or work in Panama. With ongoing business, trades, tourism and immigration, it’s necessary to have a way to send funds between the two nations affordably and simply.
With specialist money transfer services operating between Canada and Panama, there are many affordable ways to send money between the two nations. Furthermore, most Canadian banks will allow you to transfer money between Canada and Panama.
Compare Money Transfer Services
Case study: money transfer companies
Shanade is an investor from Vancouver who has recently been contacted by a group of investors in Panama. Part of her feasibility analysis of the opportunity is to make sure she will not lose large amounts of money in the process of sending capital through Panama.
She has made some comparisons between specialist money transfer companies that will send money to Panama from Canada. She could only do comparisons in USD, which is supported in Panama, and used an amount of CAD$1,000 to evaluate the differences in transfer costs. Shanade knows that the currency will have to be exchanged again from USD to the local PAB currency.
|Money transfer company A||Money transfer company B|
|Exchange rate||$1 CAD = 0.77 USD||$1 CAD = 0.767 USD|
|Amount of USD received in Panama for 1,000 CAD||US$768.51||US$767.70|
|Transfer options||Online||Online, by phone or in person|
|Difference in amount received in Panama||+US$0.81|
Although Shanade will only save less than US$1 sending the money with transfer company 1, she must take into account that she will also save CAD$26 on transaction fees each time she sends money. If she were to send money for 12 months in a row, this saving alone would be CAD$312. Both services also send the money within minutes, however she can only send the money online with transfer company 1. Since this works well for her recipient, choosing company 1 will be convenient and will save Shanade plenty of money.
How to compare money transfer companies when transferring money between Panama and Canada?
- Exchange rates. Because Panama supports both its own currency (PAB) and the USD, it can be difficult to compare exchange rates. You can either compare directly to the PAB, or with USD and then check to see what the exchange rate would be from USD to PAB.
- Pickup methods. Pickup methods are generally cash pickups in main cities, at agent locations or other accessible physical addresses. Where supported, a transfer to bank accounts is also possible.
- Fees. The fees range from around $4 to over $50 and can be influenced by variations like turnaround time, delivery method and recipient locations.
- Bank-to-bank benefits. Many of the big Canadian banks will allow transfers from Canada to Panama. Check with your bank to see your options. If you have an HSBC account, you will be able to transfer funds free of charge to other HSBC clients.
- Turnaround time. For cash transfers, the turnaround time can be minutes, and for bank transfers it can take up to five business days.
- Transfer methods. Transfer methods include online, account, phone and agent locations. Some companies will also let you transfer money using their mobile app.
- Transfer options. With some companies you can do one-off payments, regular payments, forward contracts and market orders.
- Minimum and maximum transfer amounts. It will be important for someone like Shanade to not be limited in maximums when it comes to sending or receiving capital. Check with each company to see if they allow you to send large sums of money.
- Customer service. If the transfers are to be done on a regular basis, customer service needs to be given special attention as a source of great comfort. Look for phone and email support lines as well as live chat options and in person branch locations.
How will you send money to Panama from Canada?
Money transfer services
You can use the following services to send currency to Panama: WorldRemit, MoneyGram and Western Union. It should be noted though, that most of these companies only allow you to send USD to Panama. No companies currently allow you to send PAB to Panama from Canada.
HSBC has branches in both Panama and Canada. Visit your nearest branch to see whether you can do a bank-to-bank transfer to a branch in Panama. Banks in Canada also support the USD that can be used in Panama. You will need to visit your local bank to verify whether you can send USD to a bank account in Panama to be used there.
Panama is one of the supported markets for PayPal. An account can be created and linked with a local bank account in Panama. Check with your local bank to see whether you or your recipient can withdraw in USD and exchange it later, or whether you can withdraw it directly in the PAB currency.
Can Shanade receive money transfers from Panama in Canada?
- Money transfer services – The same companies as listed above, including MoneyGram, WorldRemit and Western Union, can be used to send money to Canada from Panama by visiting an agent location or using their online websites.
- Banks – You can find out if local Panamanian banks can send money overseas or go to an HSBC branch to see whether they can send money out from Panama and not only receive it.
- PayPal – Since Panama is a market supported by PayPal, you can confirm whether the local bank in Panama will support an upload for the PAB currency to USD on a PayPal account. You will then face an exchange rate to convert the money again from USD to CAD.
Emergency cash transfer options to Panama
MoneyGram, Western Union and WorldRemit are all companies that can send a cash transfer within minutes and make for great emergency cash options.
Please take note that these companies send the money in USD, and if PAB currency is required, choose a location below that is close to a local currency exchange office so you can immediately exchange your funds.
Cash pickup locations in Panama using MoneyGram and Western Union
- Centro Agropecuario De Chepo
Epago – Xtra VacamonteEdificio Plaza XtraVia Iteramericana, Panama3171239Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm, Sunday, 12am to 12am
- Casa De Cambios Del Caribe
Calle 11 Santa Isabel Edif. 8060 Local 1, Panama4333680Monday to Saturday, 8am to 2:30pm, Sunday, 12am to 12am
- Italtransfer – Colon
Local 17, Amador, Colon9520010000Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 6pm
- Centro Agropecuario De Chepo
Centro Comercial La Primavera, ChepoPanama, Panama 507+507-296-8795Monday to Saturday, 7:30am to 4pm, Sunday, 10am to 2pm
- Credicorp Albrook Mall
Centro Comercial Albrook MallPanama, Panama+507-3147408Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm, Saturday, 10am to 1:30pm, Sunday, closed
- MMD Calidonia
Calle 21 De Enero Antiguea HieleriaCalidonia, Panama, Panama+507-2273411Monday to Sunday, 8am to 10pm
Read these tips before you pick up cash transfers in Panama
The Government of Canada advises Canadians to take normal safety precautions when travelling to Panama, but pay close attention to your personal safety. The Government cautions against all travel to Yaviza, located in the south of Panama close to the Darien Gap. Many people get kidnapped, robbed or go missing there.
When going to pick up a cash transfer, go with a fellow associate, friend or family member if possible. Keep your personal belongings safe and take care with bags that carry your tracking or reference numbers, receipts and ID.
What are the steps to send money to Panama?
What do you need to do to send a bank to bank transfer
- Visit your bank branch to find out if you can send money to Panama. If not, visit an HSBC branch to find out if you can open an account and send money to Panama from Canada, since HSBC has branch locations in both countries.
- Open an account in Panama with a relevant bank or have the details of the bank account of your recipient.
- You will require branch details or SWIFT/BIC details in many cases.
- Correct amounts and currencies
How to send money using the money transfer services
- You will either need the bank details of the recipient as stated above or the physical address (this can be a home or office address in a supported region or an agent location)
- The basic details of the person receiving the money, including their full name, address and phone number
- Your government issued ID
- Correct amounts and currency (although most services will send USD in this instance)