Ways You Can Send Money to Syria Without Investing Too Much Time

Syrian-Arab-Republic

Do banks and money transfer companies let you send money to Syria from Canada? Here’s the information you need to know.

In the last two years alone, more than 45,000 Syrian residents have made Canada their new home. Prior to that, more than 40,000 Canadians claimed to have Syrian ancestry, including relatives and friends who still remained in the country. Both of these situations have led to a need for international money transfers between the two nations.

Syria is often listed as an excluded country to send money to for both many specialist money transfer services and banks. This is due to the internal problems the country has had. Furthermore, there are often restrictions between imports, exports, commercial activities and travel between Canada and Syria due to the ongoing conflict.

Sending money to Syria might not be as easy as it would if you were sending money to a country not troubled by internal strife. However, you still have options, which you’ll learn about by going through this guide.

Case study: Banks vs money transfer companies

Adnan Al-Hamsi moved to Canada without his wife and child, who continue living in Syria. They depend on him financially so he’ll have to keep sending them money periodically. He plans to send them around $1,000 every month.

While Adnan has an account with a Canadian bank, it doesn’t allow money transfers to Syria. Upon checking with a few other banks, he realizes that most Canadian banks refuse to transfer funds to Syrian bank accounts.

He takes to the Internet to compare money transfer companies. This is what he finds.

Money transfer service 1Money transfer service 2
Exchange rate$1 = SYP150.69$1 = SYP155.05
Transfer fee$25$29.50
Amount received for $1,000SYP150,690SYP155,050
Transfer time1 dayA few minutes
Transfer optionsCash pickupBank account
Difference of+SYP2,561

The comparison shows Adnan that while the first money transfer company offers him cheaper fees, his wife ends up getting more money through the second service provider since it offers a higher exchange rate. He prefers transferring the money directly into his wife’s bank account and the second provider allows him to do so in only a few minutes.

How do I compare transfer companies when sending money to Syria?

When comparing money transfer companies to send money to Syria, pay attention to these aspects.

  • Transfer rates and fees. A better exchange rate does not necessarily translate into a better deal if the fees you have to pay are high. To pick the best deal, simply compare how much money the recipient stands to receive, taking into account both the exchange rate offered and the fees charged by the money transfer service.
  • Ways to send money. Finding a Canadian bank that lets you transfer funds to a Syrian bank account can be very difficult. However, if you have an account with a Middle Eastern bank you may be able to use its services to transfer funds to Syria online. Some international and Middle Eastern money transfer companies also let you send money to Syria online.
  • Ways to receive money. The recipient can receive transferred funds directly into a bank account or by visiting a cash pickup centre.
  • Transfer methods. If you plan to send money to Syria regularly, you can save some time and effort by dealing with a service provider that lets you make regular scheduled payments. Some even offer market orders and forward contracts.
  • Using the same bank. In the event that you and the recipient have accounts with the same bank, using its services for the transfer can work in your favour. First, not many banks let you transfer funds to Syria. Second, you can benefit through reduced fees and a quicker turnaround time.
  • Processing time. When you’re sending money to Syria, the time the process takes can vary considerably due to multiple factors. While the service provider you choose plays a role, the fact that various parts of Syria suffer from intermittent Internet connectivity problems can work in delaying the transfer.
  • Minimum transfer amounts. The service provider you choose may have a minimum transfer limit in place, which can vary from $100 to $1,000, or its near equivalent in other currencies. Some service providers may not charge a minimum, or it may be very low, like PayPal with their minimum being only $0.03.

How do I send money to Syria from Canada?

If you wish to send money to Syria from Canada, there are only a couple of options.

  • Banks. While finding a Canadian bank to send money to Syria can be a challenge, you can often use the services of some Middle Eastern banks that have branch locations in Canada. In this case, the bank might require you to be an account holder, and you’ll have to initiate the transfer online. You can also consider sending a money order or cheque via mail, however this is one of the slowest ways to send money overseas, and due to the turmoil in the country, may not reach your recipient.
  • Non-banks. Some money transfer companies such as Western Union may allow you to send money to Syria in person, by visiting a store or kiosk. If you and your recipient have PayPal accounts, you can use its services as well, which may be one of your best options for sending money almost directly to your recipient’s bank account.

How do I receive money from Syria in Canada?

You have different options when receiving money from Syria in Canada.

  • Banks. Ask the sender if transferring the funds directly into your bank account is an option. If so, the sender can do this using the services of a bank or a money transfer company. You can also ask the sender to mail you a cheque or a money order.
  • Non-banks. Western Union has numerous cash pick up centres across Canada. If you use its services for the transfer, you can visit any of its centres to collect cash. Using the services of PayPal is also an option, provided both you and the sender have PayPal accounts.

Emergency cash transfers in Syria

If you’re in Syria and end up losing your wallet, report your credit and debit cards as lost or stolen immediately to prevent their misuse. You can then think about getting some emergency money in different ways.

  • Cash pickup. You can ask a family member or friend to send you some money. If so, locate a convenient cash pickup centre and pass the details to the sender.
  • Cash advance on credit card. If you have an existing Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card, you can think about getting a cash advance by visiting a local participating financial institution.
  • Travel insurance. Getting the right kind of travel insurance before you leave can give you access to emergency funds to deal with situations that include unexpected medical expenses, flight delays and cancellations as well as lost and misplaced baggage.

Cash pickup locations in Syria

Western Union has cash pickup centres in several Syrian cities, as do some other money transfer companies. To collect cash from a physical location you’ll have to provide a reference number as well as an acceptable form of ID such as your passport or driver’s licence. You may want to call ahead of time to establish availability of funds, especially if you plan to collect a large sum. Here are some cash pickup centres in Syria.

Western Union

Damascus

  • Al Adham
    29 Ayar Street
    Damascus
    +963-11-2325603
    Open 8am to 10pm, Monday to Thursday, closed on Friday, open 8am to 10pm, Saturday and Sunday
  • Al Fuad Exchange Co
    Abu Musa Al Ashary Street Al Baramka
    Damascus
    +963-11-2224360
    Open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Thursday, closed on Friday, open 8am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday

Hama

  • Al Adham
    Opposite Post Center
    Hama
    +963-33-213478
    Open 8am to 10pm, Monday to Thursday, closed on Friday, open 8am to 10pm, Saturday and Sunday
  • Al Fuad MT
    Alkwuatli Rd Near To Cbos Br
    Hamah
    +963-33-236085
    Open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Thursday, closed on Friday, open 8am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday

Tips for picking up cash in Syria

Most international banks currently refuse to transfer funds to Syrian bank accounts. However, you may be able to send money to Syria through banks in places like Dubai and Jordan. While currency exchange bureaus no longer receive transactions on your behalf, exchange and money transfer offices can be of assistance, depending on the prevailing situation.

The Canadian Government advises Canadians against travelling to all parts of Syria due to the high levels of ongoing military conflict. Furthermore, there are only limited options for entering and exiting the country. The Government has advised all Canadians currently in Syria to leave. While you can visit at your own risk, it is currently difficult for the Canadian Government to assist Canadians who choose to visit Syria due to the ongoing conflict. There is no resident consular office in Syria and the closest is in Beirut, Lebanon.

What are the steps to send money to Syria?

This depends on the method you choose.

  1. Transfer to bank account. If you wish to transfer funds directly into the recipient’s account, you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name, account number, name of the bank and the bank’s SWIFT code. If you’re using the services of a money transfer company, you’ll also have to provide details of your bank account, credit card or debit card.
  2. Cash pickup. In this case you will have to provide the recipient’s name as well as a desired cash pickup centre. The business might want to verify your identity before initiating the transfer. If you’re sending money online, you’ll also have to provide your bank account, credit card or debit card details.
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