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How to send money to Ethiopia
If you need to send money to family, friends or colleagues in Ethiopia there are only a handful of providers to choose from. The Ethiopian birr is considered an exotic currency — which means it’s not one most forex providers deal in.
Widely-established Western Union and MoneyGram both have a presence in Ethiopia and can send a cash payment quickly, but these speedy transfers can be expensive. You can try other companies like Ria that could save you money with lower fees and stronger exchange rates.
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Compare money transfer services to Ethiopia
Use our comparison calculator to assess transfer fees, exchange rates and other details for sending funds overseas with our money transfer partners.
Banks vs. money transfer companies
While you’ll be tempted to visit your bank for a wire transfer to Ethiopia, a reputable money transfer service can typically offer better exchange rates, lower fees and faster delivery — often without you having to leave your home.
Banks don’t often publish exchange rates, but you can sometimes find the rate you’ll receive by logging in to your online bank account.
Case study: Anne sends money to Ethiopia
Anne’s friend Jonathan lives in Ethiopia and is in desperate need of money for repairs to his car. Anne offers to send him $1,000 as quickly as she can, comparing transfer companies that offer fast transactions for an affordable rate. Since her bank doesn’t support exotic currencies, she compares two specialist companies who do.
|Online transfer provider 1||Online transfer provider 2|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 22.9 ETB||1 USD = 22.9705 ETB|
|Transfer speed||15 minutes||In minutes|
|Transfer options||Cash pickup||Cash pickup|
|Total ALL received||22,900 EBT||22,9705 EBT|
Both transfer providers offer similar exchange rates and transfer speeds. Online transfer provider two will get Jonathan 705 more birr, but the transfer will cast Anne a steep $81 in transfer fees.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Ethiopia
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 Ethiopia 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.
Currency exchange rate for Ethiopia
What are my options to send money abroad?
- Bank transfers. Many major US banks can safely wire your funds to countries around the world. Banks rely on existing links between banks and banking systems worldwide. However, a downside is the frustratingly high fees and weaker exchange rates you’ll receive by going through your bank.
- Online money transfer services. These specialists offer more affordable transfers than banks do, allowing you to quickly and easily manage your transactions from home. With competitive exchange rates and lower fees, you can send funds from your bank account. Many also allow you to pay with a credit or debit card.
- Providers with cash pickup. Trusted providers like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the key advantage of giving your recipient fast access to the cash you send — sometimes within minutes. You can often pay online or at one of thousands of agent locations worldwide. However, services typically cost more than an online transfer specialist and vary by where you’re transferring your money and how you’re paying for it.
- PayPal transfers. Not just for online purchases, PayPal offers transfers to more than 100 countries and supports multiple currencies. Its exchange rates are often better than those you’ll get from a bank but not quite as strong as rates from money transfer companies. PayPal calculates its transfer fee as a percentage of the amount you’re sending — meaning it’s often better for sending smaller amounts of money.
- International money order. You can get this type of money order from your bank and send it overseas to your recipient, who then cashes it in with their own bank. While more secure than a personal check, it’s a slower option than using an electronic transfer. It also costs a little more — you’ll have to purchase the check, and your recipient may be charged a fee by their own bank cashed.
Steps to send money to Ethiopia
- Register for an account with a provider, supplying your name, address, contact details, proof of ID and information about your selected payment method.
- Supply your recipient’s name, contact information and bank account details as required.
- Enter the amount of your transfer and complete the transaction.
- Keep track of any receipt you receive so you can monitor the progress of your transfer.
Must read:How safe is a money transfer?
When you use a reputable provider, your funds are safely tracked until in the hands of your recipient. There are federal 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.
What are the ways that I can send money to Ethiopia
- Money transfer providers. Providers like World Remit and XE can help you quickly and easily transfer your money online.
- 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 Ethiopia.
- Checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or US Postal Service.
Picking up cash
Whether picking up funds in Nazret 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.
Same-day transfers to Ethiopia
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to Ethiopia — 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 exchange rate and transfer fee against your needs so that you understand exactly how much it will cost you.Back to top
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