Save time and money when sending money to Afghanistan
Whether for business or personal reasons, if you need to send money to Afghanistan, you have the option of only a couple of providers. Afghan Afghanis are considered an exotic currency — which means it’s not a currency most forex providers deal in.
Popular Western Union and MoneyGram both have a presence in Afghanistan and can send a cash payment quickly, but these speedy transfers can be expensive. M-Pesa is a mobile phone-based money transfer available in Afghanistan. Compare services to see who offers the best exchange rates and fees.
How do international money transfers work?
An international money transfer allows you to send money to a recipient overseas. Generally, a transfer involves you providing funds to a bank or an independent transfer provider, which then sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, Afghanistan. This can be done in person, over the phone, through a mobile app or online.
You can use cash, a credit or debit card, or transfer funds from your bank account, which will then either be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, or made available as cash for them to pick up at a location in their country. Currently, the only providers that offer money transfers to Afghanistan are Western Union and MoneyGram.
Western Union and MoneyGram
Jack has long been involved in political activism and has recently decided to join an NGO to assist Afghans who have been displaced by the fighting in their country. He looks into wiring money to Afghanistan and learns that currently no US banks transfer funds there. After further research, he finds that Western Union and MoneyGram offer this service. He compares the details of sending $500.
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 64.6757 AFN||1 USD = 66.06 AFN|
|Transfer fee||42 USD with a debit or credit card20 USD via bank account||31 with a debit or credit card15 USD via bank account|
|Transfer time||In minutes with a debit or credit card4 business days by bank account||10 minutes with a debit or credit card1-4 business days by bank account|
|Transfer options||Online, agent location||Online, agent location|
|Transfer method||Cash pickup||Cash pickup|
|Transaction total||$542 debit or credit card$520 bank account||$531 debit or credit card$515 bank account|
|Total AFN received||32,337.86 AFN||32,955.12 AFN|
As you can see, with MoneyGram’s superior exchange rate he will receive a little over 600 more Afghan afghanis, and he will save on the transfer fee as well.Back to top
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Afghanistan
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.
Most countries’ exchange rates are flexible, which means they can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include political activity, economic stability and inflation.
What are the ways that I can send money to Afghanistan
- Providers with cash pickup. Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to send funds for cash pickup at agent locations.
- PayPal. Electronic payment giant PayPal allows you to send money from the US to Afghanistan
- Checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or US Postal Service.
- M-Pesa. M-Pesa is a safe, secure way to send, receive and store money through your mobile phone or an app. Top up your account at one of more than 287,000 agent locations and then send money to loved ones, who can visit an agent to withdraw their funds.
Steps to send money to Afghanistan
- Sign up for a free account through Western Union or MoneyGram . Provide your name, address, contact information and ID.
- Provide your beneficiary’s name and the agent location where they will pick up the funds.
- Select the amount of money you are sending and complete your transaction.
- Make a note of your tracking number so you can monitor the progress of your money transfer.
Emergency transfers to Afghanistan
In the event that you need to send money to Afghanistan in a hurry, 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.
Must read:Tips for picking up money in Afghanistan
Afghanistan has faced war, violence and political turmoil over the past couple of years. It’s important to stick to main towns and not wander into unknown places when looking for a cash pickup agent. Moneygram and Western Union list their cash pickup locations on their respective websites, so make sure to research the area well before heading to a location in a smaller town. When picking up cash, have a valid photo ID and the correct reference or transaction number. Bringing a copy of the receipt and the sender’s details is also recommended. Here are some other tips when picking up money anywhere in the world.
- 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.