The best way to send money to Afghanistan depends on your payment method and transfer needs. Popular options like Western Union and MoneyGram offer cash pickups, but make sure there’s a convenient agent near your recipient. Compare money transfer services to see who offers the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees.
Compare international money transfers to Afghanistan
Our table lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Compare services on transfer speeds and fees, then click Go to site when you're ready to send.
Your options are limited when sending money to Afghanistan.
MoneyGram. Using MoneyGram to send money to Afghanistan will enable you to send both to US Military bases and to stores for cash pickup.
Western Union. Western Union is typically more expensive than MoneyGram, but you may have more cash pickup locations to choose from.
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 vs. MoneyGram
Sending $500 to Afghanistan from the US will cost different amounts depending on which company you pick. We checked prices on September 28, 2020 for cash pickup when paying by bank account.
1 USD = 73.3015 AFN
1 USD = 76.0642 AFN
0-4 business days
0-4 business days
Online, agent location
Online, agent location
Total AFN received
As you can see, with MoneyGram’s superior exchange rate you can send a little over 1,300 more Afghan afghanis while saving about $7.50 on fees.
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.
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?
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.
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
MoneygGram and Western Union list their cash pickup locations on their respective websites, so research the area well before heading to a location in a smaller town. Stick to main towns and don’t wander into unknown places when looking for a cash pickup agent.
Have a valid photo ID and the correct reference or transaction number when picking up cash. It’s also recommended you bring a copy of the receipt and the sender’s details.
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.
Julia Cameron is a writer and editor who has experience in finance, mergers and acquisitions, content marketing and immigration law. She has a passion for interior design and an affinity for Old Florida, where she lives with her family.
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