Our guide will help you find the best way to send money to Laos.
Our pick: WorldRemit International Money Transfers
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- Low upfront fees and exchange rates.
- Easy to use with round-the-clock help.
- Get cash to family and friends in minutes.
Comparing money transfers companies for sending money to LaosAilani decided to study in the US. Now, as a successful working woman, Ailani wants to pay back some of the student loans she had to take out through her years of study, and also invest into her parents’ lives. She does a comparison of all the money transfer companies available to transfer money back to Vientiane in Laos and draws up the table below using $1,000 USD as her transfer amount.
|Money transfer company A||Money transfer company B|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 8,085.7100 LAK||1 USD = 8,102.4000 LAK|
|Transfer fee||25 USD||10 USD|
|Amount of LAK received for 1,000 USD||7,883,567.2500 LAK||8,004,852.9000 LAK|
|Transfer time||10 minutes||2-4 days|
|Transfer options||Phone, online account, agent||Phone, online, mobile app|
|Difference in LAK||– 121,285.65 LAK||+ 121,285.65 LAK|
After comparing the two, Ailani decided to use transfer company B, since there was no rush to get the funds to her parents.
How should I compare transfer companies when sending money to Laos from America?
- Exchange rates. Bear in mind that currency exchange is only legal at official bank branches. Some of the companies will offer a more competitive exchange rate but might require an actual phone call with a call center to book a rate.
- Delivery methods. Some companies, like Moneygram, can only send a USD amount which will be picked up at an agent location and will still need to be exchanged legally as mentioned above. Western Union sends the cash pickup in LAK. Receiving the money in a bank account is also an option.
- Fees. The fees can vary quite a bit, depending on the type of transfer service used and whether it is above or below certain minimum and maximum amounts. Generally speaking, the marginal increase in fees is justified by the short amount of transfer time.
- Bank to bank benefits. Money transfer services are available through local banks in Laos and in America, but both will require a call or visit to a branch to determine rates and fees.
- Turnaround time. The turnaround time for available companies ranges between a couple of minutes and five days. Anything longer than that is not worth paying for compared to what competition offers.
- Transfer methods. you can choose either a local agent she is comfortable with or set up an online account with regular payments. If she’s hasty and needs someone else to the admin, she can easily phone support and do a payment.
- Transfer options. These include recurring payments, spot contracts, and once-off payments.
- Minimum/maximum transfer amounts. The available options offer freedom in having a wide variety of minimum and maximum amounts.
- Customer service. The services used to send money all offer phone and email support. A physical bank branch might yield the fastest results if you hit a snag somewhere in your payments.
Foreign exchange rates explained
Exchange rates fluctuate daily based on international inflation and worldwide economic stability. This means that when you’re looking to exchange your US dollars for Laotian kip, you’ll need to do your research to make sure the exchange rate a transfer company or bank gives you reflects the average rate for that day. In January 2018, the US dollar was worth approximately 8332.85 Laotian kip.
What are the steps to send money to Lao PDR?
After you determine which type of service you’d like to use, follow these steps to make sure your transfer goes smoothly.
|Send money through an online service provider to a bank account in Laos|
|Send money to a person for cash pickup|
Make an emergency cash transfer to Laos
There is nothing more frightening than someone you love having any emergency while halfway across the world. Fortunately, many money transfer companies allow for emergency transfers. You will have to pay extra fees and the exchange rate you’re offered will be worse than what is given during a normal transfer, but it may be worth it for your and your recipient’s peace of mind.
Tips for picking up cash in Laos
In Laos, currency exchanges can only occur at an official bank. You should plan ahead of time when picking up cash. You’ll need to know the location of the transfer, when you’re planning on picking up your money and if you’ll be able to take along a friend to help. Many transfer companies won’t offer their services after 5 p.m., so planning ahead is important. When you pick up cash, carry it in a hidden space on your body–not in a briefcase or purse that can be stolen or left somewhere.
Take care to avoid dangerous areas, and always stay safe when carrying large amounts of money.