International money transfers don’t have to cost a lot. Find an affordable way to send money to El Salvador.
Compare international money transfers to El Salvador
Use our interactive table to compare transfer fees and other details for sending funds to El Salvador with our money transfer partners.
Banks vs. money transfer companies
Many major US banks offer the option to send funds to El Salvador, but they typically charge high transfer fees.
A reputable money transfer specialist can typically offer lower fees and faster turnaround, saving you money and putting more dollars into your recipient’s pocket.
Case study: Oscar sends money to El Salvador
Oscar loves living in the United States, but he maintains a close relationship with his extended family in his homeland of El Salvador. Oscar wants to send $1,000 to his grandmother to help her settle into a retirement home. Because El Salvador uses the American dollar, he doesn’t need to worry about exchange rates, but he’s disappointed by how much his bank charges in fees to transfer his cash. He compares two money transfer companies to see if he can find a cheaper alternative when sending money to El Salvador.
|Money Transfer Service A||Money Transfer Service B|
|Transfer method||Bank account deposit||Cash pickup|
|Transfer speed||2 business days||10 minutes|
As you can see, Money Transfer Service B charges $9 more in transfer fees to get Oscar’s cash there in minutes. Oscar just now needs to decide whether his grandmother can wait a few more days to save the $9 in fees.
Why does El Salvador use the US dollar?
After suffering through a devastating civil war ended in 1992, El Salvador’s government put in place a series of acts designed to spark the economy, including privatizing the country’s banking system. In an attempt to further grow the economy, the country “dollarized” its currency system at the start of 2001, introducing the US dollar as its official currency. A downside of this system is that El Salvador has no control over its own monetary policy, including printing its own currency.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to El Salvador
- 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.
- “Hedging” options. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
- Transfer limits. Is the minimum transfer too high for your needs? Your best option might depend on how much you want to send.
- 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 explainedThe 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. For example, in January 2018 the US dollar was worth approximately 8.76 Salvadoran Colóns.
However, most countries’ exchange rates are flexible, which means they can fluctuate with the market. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Today’s USD-SVC exchange rate
What are the ways that I can send money to El Salvador?
- Bank transfers. Many major US banks will allow you to wire money to banks in El Salvador. However, a downside is the frustratingly high fees you’ll pay.
- Online money transfer providers. It’s simple and convenient to send an online money transfer to El Salvador from the comfort of your home.
- Providers with cash pickup. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the option of cash pickups from agent locations in El Salvador.
- Peer-to-peer apps. Venmo, Circle and PayPal are just a few of the apps you can use to send money to El Salvador.
- International checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or US Postal Service.
Steps to send money to El Salvador
- Choose a transfer provider that has the delivery speed, rates and fees you need.
- Register with the provider, including your name, address, contact information and date of birth. A valid photo ID may also be required.
- Provide your recipient’s name, address and contact details. You may also need to include their bank account information depending on the type of transfer.
- Enter the amount you want to transfer and complete your transaction. You should receive and email with a tracking or receipt number to follow up on the progress of your transfer.
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Emergency cash transfers in El Salvador
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to El Salvador — for example, if a friend traveling through the country loses their wallet. When you need to transfer funds urgently, your fastest possible transfer will often be your most expensive option. Carefully review the transfer fee and delivery speeds against your needs so that you understand exactly how much it will cost you.Back to top
Tips for picking up cash in El Salvador
Whether picking up funds in San Salvador, San Miguel 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.