If you’re looking for the best possible deal when you send money to Zimbabwe, compare your transfer options and search for the best exchange rate.
A landlocked country in southern Africa known for its dramatic landscape and diverse wildlife, Zimbabwe is renowned for its natural beauty and old-world charm. While not a mainstream tourist destination for Canadians due to the longstanding political turmoil in the country, new hope is burgeoning for travelers with the forced resignation of former president, Robert Mugabe, in 2017. Zimbabwe is now focused on attracting foreign investors and building up its capacity to host visitors from abroad. Aside from tourism to Zimbabwe, there are also thousands of native Zimbabweans living in Canada, meaning there is a near constant exchange of money between residents of both countries.
When it comes to sending money to Zimbabwe, Canadians have a virtual smorgasbord 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 vs money transfer services
Depending on your financial institution, you may be able to send funds to Zimbabwe 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 safe, simple, convenient 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.
Heath is earning a living by working as a bartender in Vancouver and he tries to send $1,000 to his parents in Harare each month. His bank offers to take care of the transfer for him but Heath is not impressed with their high fees. He decides to compare the transfer options available from a money transfer provider with the fees his bank charges. Heath realizes that he can save approximately $50 (USD$40) in the exchange rate alone, with an additional $16 in fees, by selecting the money transfer service over his bank.
Case Study: Heath Sends Money to Zimbabwe
Bank Money transfer company Exchange rate 1 CAD = 0.79 USD 1 CAD = 0.75 USD Transfer fee $20 $4 Transfer method Bank account deposit Bank account deposit Processing time 2-4 business days 2-4 business days Amount received (in USD) $790 $750
Heath is earning a living by working as a bartender in Vancouver and he tries to send $1,000 to his parents in Harare each month. His bank offers to take care of the transfer for him but Heath is not impressed with their high fees. He decides to compare the transfer options available from a money transfer provider with the fees his bank charges.
Heath realizes that he can save approximately $50 (USD$40) in the exchange rate alone, with an additional $16 in fees, by selecting the money transfer service over his bank.
What currency is used in Zimbabwe?
Following a period of instability and hyperinflation, the Zimbabwean Dollar was phased out in 2015. In place of the dollar, currencies regularly used include the South African rand, Botswana pula, pound sterling, Indian rupee, euro, Japanese yen, Australian dollar, Chinese yuan, and the United States dollar. With such a large number of tradable currencies, it’s easy to send money to Zimbabwe in a pinch. Some of the providers that allow you to send money from Canada to Zimbabwe include WorldRemit, Western Union and MoneyGram. You can also consult directly with your bank for more information about their transfer process.
Comparing transfer companies when transferring money to Zimbabwe
Heath’s experience shows that you can save a lot of money by comparing your money transfer options. Different money transfer services offer different fees, exchange rates and pick-up methods so consider the following features when deciding which service to choose:
- Exchange rates. Even a small difference in rates can add up to a big difference when you calculate the total cost of a transfer, so don’t hesitate to make comparisons before committing to a service.
- Fees. Many providers will waive a transfer fee if you send more than a certain amount of money. If you don’t exceed this amount, you’ll have to pay a charge for the privilege of transferring money.
- Transfer methods. Can you send funds online, over the phone or by visiting a branch? Find out if the transfer fee changes depending on which method you use.
- Speed of transfers. How long until your money can be accessed in Zimbabwe? For emergency transfers, look for a company that offers the fastest possible turnaround times.
- Minimum amount. Many companies will require you to transfer a minimum amount in order to use their services. This minimum limit could be as high as $1,000, so look for a company that suits your needs.
- Pickup methods. While some companies allow your recipient to collect cash in person by visiting an agent location, others offer transfers direct to your recipient’s bank account.
- Customer service. Search for a company that has an excellent reputation for customer service, with both telephone and live chat support options available.
Sending money to Zimbabwe from Canada
- Bank transfers. Some Canadian banks will offer transfers to banks in Zimbabwe, so you should check with your financial institution for more details.
- Online money transfer providers. Companies like WorldRemit allow you to lodge fast and easy online transfers to Zimbabwe.
- 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 Zimbabwe.
- Cheques. Posting an international guaranteed cheque to Zimbabwe is a slow but secure money transfer method.
Emergency cash transfers in Zimbabwe
There are some situations where you need to transfer funds urgently, for example, if you have a relative travelling through Zimbabwe who has had their wallet stolen. When you make an emergency transfer, double check the exact exchange rate you are being offered and familiarize yourself with any fees that may apply. You want as much of your money as possible to make it to your recipient, so examine these features closely. In addition, search for a money transfer provider that offers quick turnaround times, as well as store locations where your recipient can pick up their cash. Having the money within a few minutes instead of waiting 24 hours can often make a huge difference.
Cash pickup locations in Zimbabwe
If you transfer funds to Zimbabwe via either Western Union or MoneyGram, here are some details for each company’s most popular cash pick-up locations. For large transfers, phone ahead to ensure the branch in question will have enough cash on hand for you. You’ll typically need to provide a reference number, transfer details and some identification when picking up money.
- Pick up at any branch of Steward Bank, Kaah Zimbabwe, Zimpost & CBZ.
- Find a pick-up location with the Western Union Agent Location tool.
- Pick up at any branch of Stanbic or from other MoneyGram agent locations.
Tips for picking up cash in Zimbabwe
If you do plan to visit Zimbabwe, the Government of Canada recommends that you exercise a high degree of caution (as of 29 Jan. 2018) since the security situation could deteriorate rapidly due to the uncertain political situation. Crime, exacerbated by a very difficult economic situation, remains a serious problem for foreign visitors and residents alike. Petty crime—including pick pocketing, passport theft and bag snatching—occurs frequently in Zimbabwe. When picking up cash, be extra careful around automated banking machines (ABMs), steer clear of isolated areas and never walk alone at night.
How to send money to Zimbabwe
As you can see above, you have ample options to consider when you need to send money to Zimbabwe. You may have to satisfy different eligibility requirements depending on which service you opt to use, such as supplying your contact details and proof of identification. Some companies offer instant money transfers. However, if the process is going to take a few days, you will typically be given some sort of tracking number so that you can monitor the progress of your transaction. Transferring money to Zimbabwe need not be overly complicated or expensive. In fact, the process is quite simple and hassle-free. Just make sure to compare the services offered by different money transfer services to discover which company will be the best fit for your particular circumstances.Back to top