If you need to send money to Georgia, you only have a few options to choose from. Since the Georgian lari is considered an exotic currency most forex providers don’t deal in it. Western Union and MoneyGram both have a presence in Georgia and can send quick cash payments, but these rush transfers can be expensive. If your mind’s on your money and Georgia’s on your mind, you should compare the available options to get the best rate.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Georgia
By comparing a few elements of your transfer, you can ensure that you get the cheapest deal for your needs.
Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
Payment and delivery options. Some transfer companies allow you to pay with a credit card online, by phone or through an app. Others offer agent locations for cash payments and pickups. Also ask how your recipient can receive your funds: bank account, cash pickup, mobile wallet and more.
Transfer speeds. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pickups, often in minutes. If you have more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
Transfer limits. Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.
Flexible transfer options. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
Customer support. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.
Foreign exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. Like most countries, Georgia has a flexible exchange rate, which means it can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
When you use a reputable provider, your funds are safely tracked until in the hands of your recipient. There are protections in place that require banks, credit unions and money transfer companies to, for example, disclose all fees upfront and give you 30 minutes to cancel a transfer, assuming it hasn’t yet been picked up or deposited.
Whether picking up funds in Tbilisi, or anywhere else around the world, take a few simple safety precautions to prevent yourself becoming a target for thieves.
Call ahead. Learn the company’s business hours and choose a safe time to pick up your cash. Daylight hours are best.
Bring a friend. Carrying money when alone can be dangerous. Ask a friend to come along.
Deposit your money immediately. The likelihood of losing your money to theft or simple carelessness grows the longer you have it with you. Go straight to a bank and deposit your cash as soon as possible.
Keep your cash hidden. Place your money in your purse or wallet before leaving the office. Carrying cash out in the open could make you a target.
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to Georgia— for example, You family needs money in a hurry. When you need to transfer funds urgently, your fastest possible transfer will often be your most expensive option. Carefully review the exchange rate and transfer fee against your needs so that you understand exactly how much it will cost you.
Adrienne Fuller is the head of publishing at Finder US. With a decade of experience creating guides in finance and education, she aims to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. For the past 3 years she has been the publisher of money transfers, helping readers save when they send money all over the globe. She has a BA from Colorado College and loves to hike with her two Catahoula dogs around her home in San Diego.
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