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How to send money to Venezuela
Understand what your options are when transferring funds to Venezuela.
Since Venezuelan bolivars are a thinly traded currency and there is ongoing political turmoil in the country, there are relatively few options for sending money to this South American nation. That being said, money transfer services like Western Union and MoneyGram are clamouring for your business, and often offer more competitive exchange rates and lower fees than the bank.
Compare services to send money to Venezuela
Use our handy comparison table to assess transfer fees, exchange rates and other factors when you send funds to Venezuela.
The “Rate” and “Amount Received” displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.
Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.
Banks vs money transfer companies
While some Canadian banks are capable of sending money to Canada, it often makes more sense to use an online money transfer service. While banks can handle wire transfers with ease, they often charge exorbitant fees and exchange rates. Dedicated money transfer providers are often a more convenient and affordable choice. These companies typically provide bank-beating exchange rates and transfer fees, with certain transfer services waiving fees when you send large amounts.
Case study: Ricardo sends money to Venezuela
When Ricardo finds out that he’s been accepted to do his doctorate degree at the University of Ottawa, his first concern is for his mother, who runs a small grocery store in Caracas. Ricardo wants to make sure that he can find a secure and affordable way to send money home while he studies overseas. He begins by comparing the costs to send $1,000 per month back to his mother with either his bank or a money transfer service.
Note that the exchange rates and fees below are as of the spring of 2018, so remember to check current rates before making a decision.
|Bank||Money Transfer Service|
|Exchange rates||CAD$1 = VEF180,000|| CAD$1 = VEF190,240|
|Amount received (for $1,000)||VEF190,000,000||VEF190,240,000|
|Transfer speed||2-5 days||1-2 days|
|Options available||Bank-to-bank transfer||Bank-to-bank transfer|
or cash pick-up
Ricardo realizes that he can save VEF 240,000 (around $1.25) in the exchange rate with the money transfer option, with an additional $15 in fees. If Ricardo sends money every month, this amounts to almost $195 over the course of one year.
Things to look for when transferring money to Venezuela
- Competitive exchange rates. Exchange rates are often the biggest factor to signal how much money you can save by using a money transfer service over the bank. In this case, fees are probably a better indicator of savings since the value of one CAD is currently worth VEF190,268 (as of 19 August 2018).
- Minimal fees. Many transfer companies charge lower fees than the bank, and a select few even provide zero-fee services. The best way to be sure you’re getting the best deal is to compare 3-4 services.
- Various transfer methods. Online money transfer providers often offer more options than banks and cash payment services. These can include services like mobile top-ups.
- Fast transfer times. Banks can take up to 5 business days to complete a bank transfer, while money transfer services often take around 1 – 3 days for a bank transfer, with cash pick-ups processing in a matter of minutes.
- Reliable customer service. Make sure the provider that you choose has a Canada-based customer service team or a 24/7 help desk to help you with bumps along the way.
Pick the money transfer service that best suits your needs but keep in mind that some services are a cut above the rest.
- Bank. Many major Canadian banks will allow you to send wire transfers to banks in Venezuela for a hefty price tag. You simply need to provide your recipient’s personal details, along with bank transit codes.
- Cash transfer providers. Send cash to hundreds of agent locations across Venezuela with cash transfer providers like Western Union and MoneyGram, but expect to pay more than an international transfer service specializing in bank-to-bank transfers.
- Online money transfer companies. Choose a service like OFX or CurrencyFair to send money to Venezuela with low fees and competitive exchange rates.
- PayPal. PayPal charges a percentage based fee structure and both the sender and recipient will need to hold a PayPal account in order to transfer funds.
- International bank drafts. Arrange an international money draft with your bank, which can then be sent through the mail (for those of us who aren’t so tech-savvy!)
Fast cash transfers to Venezuela
Consider these options if you need to get cash to Venezuela in a hurry.
- Instant overseas cash wire service. Western Union and MoneyGram are two companies that you can use to send cash to someone in Venezuela within minutes. You can make a payment online or you can pay with cash in person at an agent location.
- Travel insurance emergency cash benefit. For some events, like a medical emergency, you may be eligible to get an emergency cash benefit from your insurer to cover your immediate expenses. Refer to your product disclosure statement for a full description of your travel insurance coverage.
- Emergency cash assist. Visa, Mastercard and American Express can give you the money in your account as cash if you don’t have access to your credit card. Emergency cash assistance can take about a day to process and you can often collect your money from a local business.
Emergency cash transfers to Venezuela
If you run into a situation where you need to send cash to a friend or loved one in a matter of minutes, you can book a cash transfer to Venezuela with a service like Western Union or MoneyGram. While these companies can save you time, it’s important to note that they’re often more expensive than a bank-to-bank transfer. If you have a flexible timeline, it can pay to look at companies like TransferWise or TorFX to complete your transaction.
The Government of Canada recommends that you avoid any unnecessary travel to Venezuela (as of 19 August 2018) due to an increase in violent crime as well as the unstable political and economic situation. If you do need to collect cash at an agent location, it’s best to get it during daylight hours in the company of a trusted friend. Secure your cash in a safe place – like a purse or money belt – before leaving the office and return immediately to your hotel to secure your cash in a safe deposit box if possible. Local police or your hotel concierge may be able to help arrange an escort if you need to collect a large amount of cash.
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