Send money to Uruguay

Follow these handy tips to send reliable and affordable money transfers to Uruguay from Canada.

A block of land wedged like a pearl between Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay is South America’s smallest country. With its stunning coastlines and picturesque capital, Uruguay strikes a fine balance between pristine natural beauty and eclectic city life. For Canadians, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump across the water, which makes it a prime travel destination in any season, supporting around 11,000 Canadian visitors each year. In addition to tourism, Uruguay is identified as an emerging Priority Market in Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan.

When it comes to sending money to Uruguay, Canadians have a plethora 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.

Banks versus money transfer companies

Depending on your financial institution, you may be able to send funds to Uruguay through your bank, but this doesn’t mean that they should be your go-to. Why not? Banks are notorious for jacking up exchange rates and charging exorbitant fees. When it comes to transferring funds overseas, many Canadians opt instead for online transfer services, specialized in offering reliable 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: Sofia sends money to Uruguay

Sofia has just arrived in Vancouver and will spend two years in Canada, studying and working on a student visa. She lands a well-paying job in her first semester and makes arrangements with her parents to send part of her paycheque back home to Uruguay. Although she has a Canadian bank account, she wants to see how much it will cost to transfer $1,000 with both the bank and an online international money transfer company.

Canadian BankMoney transfer service
Exchange rate$1 = UYU21.02$1 = UYU23.01
Transfer fee$60$0
Amount received for $1,000UYU21,020.00UYU23,012.20
Transfer time1 day1-2 days
Transfer optionsCash pickupBank account
Difference ofUYU1,992.20

Sofia realizes that she can save approximately UYU1,992.20 (approximately $88) in the exchange rate alone, with an additional $60 savings in fees, by selecting the online money transfer service over her bank.

How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Uruguay?

Don’t go with the first money transfer company that comes your way. Instead, compare your options across different aspects.

  • 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 Uruguay from Canada?

You get to choose from different options when sending money to Uruguay from Canada.

  • Bank transfers. Some Canadian banks will offer transfers to banks in Uruguay, so you should check with your financial institution for more details.
  • Online money transfer providers. Companies like TorFX and Transferwise allow you to lodge fast and easy online transfers to Uruguay.
  • Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to transfer funds that can be picked up from a number of local agent locations in Uruguay.
  • Cheques. Posting an international guaranteed cheque to Uruguay is a slow but secure money transfer method.
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Emergency cash transfers in Uruguay

If something comes up and you need to send money to Uruguay post haste, then search for a cash pick-up option like Western Union to complete your transaction in as little as 10 minutes. With this type of service, higher transaction fees and lower exchange rates often apply, so just be clear on the terms of the agreement before you sign on the dotted line. Once the money is sent, your recipient just needs to present with their passport at the appropriate pick-up location to collect funds.

Cash pickup locations in Uruguay

With branches in Uruguay 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. Word to the wise: 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 Uruguay

If you do plan to visit Uruguay, the Government of Canada recommends that you exercise a normal degree of caution (as of 17 February 2018). Street crimes such as pickpocketing, armed robbery and muggings are on the rise in the capital city Montevideo. It’s important to be cautious of strategies to distract your attention and avoid showing signs of affluence. 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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