If you’re willing to shop around, you can find a secure and affordable way to send money to Saudi Arabia.
If you’ve never sent an international money transfer before, sending money to Saudi Arabia can be an expensive experience. There can be high transfer fees and poor exchange rates to worry about, which can both end up costing you a substantial amount of money.
However, if you spend some time and compare your transfer options to see which company offers the fastest and most affordable transactions, sending money to Saudi Arabia can be both easy and cost-effective.
Read on to find out more.
Compare money transfer services in the table below
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Banks vs money transfer companies
When sending money overseas, many Canadians head straight to their bank to make a wire transfer. While this is undoubtedly a convenient option, banks charge high transfer fees and provide fairly uncompetitive exchange rates, which means a poor deal for you and less money for your recipient.
Specialist money transfer companies, on the other hand, offer a convenient and cost-effective money transfer alternative. With minimal transaction fees and exchange rates that, in most cases, are much higher than those offered by the banks, these providers offer transactions that won’t hurt your bank balance. What’s more, these companies can transfer the funds in a timely manner, anywhere from just minutes to two or thee business days. Banks generally take three to five days to process and transfer money.
Case Study: Fahad Sends Money to Saudi Arabia
Fahad wants to send a money transfer to his brother who still lives in Saudi Arabia. After some poor investment decisions, his brother is a little short of cash and needs some funds to help him pay his rent. Since his Canadian bank won’t allow transfers to Saudi Arabia, Fahad decides to compare two money transfer companies to see which one of them offers him the most cost-effective deal. He wants to send a total of CAD$1,000.
You can see the results of his comparison in the table below.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||CAD$1 = 2.90 SAR||CAD$1 = 2.87 SAR|
|Transfer method||Online bank account transfer||Online bank account transfer|
|Processing time||Two to three days||Two to three days|
|Amount received for CAD$1,000||2,908 SAR||2,879 SAR|
As you can see, Fahad can send his brother 29 SAR more, which is almost CAD$10, if he uses the first money transfer company. Since the fees are CAD$5 more with this service, he will only end up saving around CAD$5. This is still a slight saving to the second transfer company, which offers a lower fee for a less competitive exchange rate.
How do I compare money transfer companies when sending and receiving money via Saudi Arabia?
- Exchange rates. Compare the company’s exchange rates with those offered by a range of other transfer providers. Better exchange rates mean that more money arrives to your recipient, but look out for companies that also charge high fees with their competitive exchange rates. On the other hand, some companies will charge low fees but give less competitive exchange rates. The best way is to compare both rates and fees to see how much money your recipient stands to receive.
- Transaction fees. You will usually be charged a transaction fee every time you send a transfer, but some companies will waive their fees for large transfers. These large amounts are usually $10,000 or more.
- Transfer methods. How will you be able to send your transfers? Methods range from online, in person at a branch, over the phone and/or by using a smartphone app.
- Flexible options. Look for flexible transfer options that can help you save time and money, such as forward contracts, limit orders and the ability to set up a recurring payment schedule.
- Transfer time. Turnaround times will vary depending on the company, and can generally range from just minutes to five or more business days. Banks tend to take between three to five days to transfer money, while specialist transfer companies can likely send the money between ten minutes and three days. Faster transfer speeds will generally incur higher transfer fees.
- Minimum transfer amounts. If the company imposes a minimum or maximum transfer limit on each transaction, make sure either of those limits won’t interfere with how much money you plan to send. Be wary of daily, weekly or monthly transfer limits as well, especially if you plan on transferring money consistently.
- Pickup options. How will your recipient access the funds you send? Options likely include bank to bank transfers, in person cash pick ups and mobile app transfers.
- Customer service. Always choose a reputable company to handle your money. Make sure the service you use has a trusted customer service team who can handle any questions or disputes you may have. Check to make sure the hours of operation work with your schedule.
How do I send money to Saudi Arabia from Canada?
- Specialist money transfer providers. Check out our list of trusted online transfer companies to see which ones allow you to send money to Saudi Arabia. Companies like OFX, Currencies Direct, TorFX and FairFX will likely support the transfer.
- Cash pickup transfer companies. Western Union and MoneyGram are two companies with extensive global transfer networks. These companies allow you to send money overseas and have it available for pickup as cash within just minutes. You must visit a MoneyGram branch in person to send funds from Canada, while you can send money online or in person using Western Union.
- Bank transfers. Compare your bank’s exchange rates and fees with those offered by other transfer providers.
- International cheques. Ask your bank how much it will cost to get an international guaranteed cheque to mail overseas. This can be an expensive and slow method and is also known as “snail mail”.
- PayPal. As long as both you and your recipient have PayPal accounts, you can use the online service to send and receive money almost anywhere in the world. PayPal accounts are easy, free and fast to setup online.
How do I receive money from Saudi Arabia in Canada?
- Specialist money transfer providers. Start researching to see which companies allow you to send money from Saudi Arabia to Canada.
- Cash pickup transfer companies. If you want the convenience of a cash transfer, consult a company like Western Union or MoneyGram about the expenses involved. Since these companies can send money to Saudi Arabia, it is likely the transaction can occur the other way around too.
- Bank transfers. Check with your Saudi Arabian bank to see if they allow international money transfers to Canada.
- International cheques. Check to see how much your bank will charge in fees when you send or cash an international cheque.
Emergency cash transfers in Saudi Arabia
Companies that offer emergency cash transfers can be extremely helpful in many situations, such as if you need to help out a relative overseas who has had their wallet stolen or if you yourself are in some financial trouble. If you’re planning on sending or receiving an emergency cash transfer, be aware that these transfers are usually quite expensive. Less competitive exchange rates and higher fees are to be expected, so review the transaction details before you commit to the transfer and send funds anywhere.
Cash pickup locations in Saudi Arabia/ Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Saudi Arabia
Both Western Union and MoneyGram have hundreds of locations across both Canada and Saudi Arabia, offering quick and convenient transfers between the two countries. You can see the details of some popular cash pickup locations in Saudi Arabia below. Make sure to take along a valid photo ID and the transaction reference number when picking up funds, while it’s also a good idea to call ahead and check the agent’s opening hours and address.
- King Khaled Airport
Terminal 2 Arrivals Riyadh, Central
Open 24 hours
- Deriyah 168
Al Arbaeen Street Al Dereyah Riyadh, Central
Open 7:30am to 11:59pm seven days
- Ersal Money Transfers
Kudai Makkah Al Mukarramah,
Open 24 hours
- Ersal Money Transfers
Shisha Makkah Al Mukarramah,
Open 24 hours
- Baj Al-Sulaimaniyah
Prince Mamdouh St
Open 8am to 11pm seven days
- Baj Alsahafa
Open 24 hours
- Al Amoudi Exchange Co.
Jabal Omar Building 2nd Floor
In front of Al Haram Makkah, 21411
Open 9am to 11pm seven days
- Fawri – Taif
Open 24 hours
Tips for picking up cash in Saudi Arabia
The Government of Canada advises Canadians to exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to Saudi Arabia. The Government further advises Canadians to reconsider their need to travel to the regions bordering Yemen and Al Qatif and its suburbs. If you decide to visit the Middle Eastern country, keep a few safety tips in mind when picking up cash:
- Ask a friend to accompany you
- Only visit a transfer agent in a safe location
- Keep your cash hidden
- Avoid pubic transportation with large sums of money
- Never flash cash around
- Deposit the funds into your bank account or a safe place as soon as you can
What are the steps to send money to Saudi Arabia?
You will typically need to follow these steps when you want to send money to Saudi Arabia:
- Register for an account. This can often be done for free online when you provide your name, contact details and proof of ID.
- Provide full transaction details. You will need to provide details about where you want to send the money, how much you want to send and in which currency.
- Finalize your transfer. The final step is to review all of the details of your transaction, including the exchange rate and fee, and then pay for your transfer. You can also usually track your transfer online. If you have lodged a transfer for cash pick up, you will need to provide your recipient with the transaction reference number.