Here’s how to send a quick, affordable and secure money transfer to Sierra Leone.
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Compare international money transfers to Sierra Leone
Case study: Banks vs money transfer companiesEmmanuel Conteh managed to get a job shortly after his arrival in the U.S. While he was getting his life in order, his family remained in Sierra Leone. This required that he send them money periodically. He felt he could send them around $1,000 per month comfortably. Since he was dealing with an exotic currency, he could not use his bank’s services to send money home.
Before sending money through a transfer company, he felt it might be worth his while to compare his options. He did, and this is what he found.
|Money transfer service 1||Money transfer service 2|
|Exchange rate||$1 = $3,864.03289 SLL||$1 = $2,816.87 SLL|
|Amount received for $1,000||$3,809,975 SLL||$2,816,870 SLL|
|Transfer time||1 day||1 day|
|Transfer options||Cash pickup||Bank account|
|Difference of||$9,93,105 SLL|
Emmanuel noticed that while the second service provider did not charge a fee, the first service provider offered a highly competitive exchange rate. By using the first service provider his family ended up receiving considerably more money, even though he had to pay a fee. Picking up cash was not a problem for his wife, since she lived near a cash pickup location.
How do I compare transfer companies when sending money to Sierra Leone?
Pay attention to these different aspects when you’re comparing money transfer companies:.
- Exchange rate and fees. Don’t rely on just one of these to make your decision. This is because an unfavorable exchange rate can accompany an offer that does not include fees, as you can see in the case study. The reverse can hold true as well. When comparing your options, look at how much money the recipient stands to receive instead.
- Transfer methods. Banks that transfer money to Sierra Leone can let you initiate the process online, over the phone or in person. You can find money transfer companies that let you send money to Sierra Leone online. Some have stores and kiosks that you can visit. Some also let you send money over the phone.
- Pickup methods. The recipient can collect transferred money by visiting a cash pickup location. You can also transfer money directly into the recipient’s bank account.
- Transfer options. If you wish to send money periodically, you can look for a money transfer company that lets you schedule regular transfers. If you wish to make the most of the foreign exchange market, you can work with companies that offer forward contracts, which allow you to lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer the money later, and market orders, which allow you to take advantage of changing market conditions by executing the money transfer when a certain exchange rate is met.
- Turnaround time. This can vary greatly depending on the service provider you choose. For instance, transfers that involve cash pickups can take place almost immediately. On the other hand, a transfer to a bank account can take one to 10 days, or more.
- Minimum amounts. This can be a concern if you’re not sending much money because some service providers don’t allow transfers below $500 or $1,000.
- Customer service. Good money transfer companies offer customer support in different ways, which include over the phone, via chat and via email.
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 will yield more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. For example, in January 2018, the U.S dollar was worth approximately 7680.00 Sierra Leonean Leone. However, most countries’ exchange rates are flexible, which means it can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
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What are my options for sending money to Sierra Leone from the U.S.?
- Banks. Find out if you can send money to Sierra Leone using your bank’s services. If you can, you may be able to do so by visiting a branch, over the phone or online. You can also consider sending an international check, draft or a money order via mail.
- Non-banks. Money transfer companies such as Western Union and WorldRemit let you send money to Sierra Leone from the U.S. You can use their services to transfer funds to a bank account or send money to a cash pickup location. You can also transfer funds via PayPal, provided both you and the recipient have PayPal accounts. It takes little time to open a new PayPal account and you can open one for free.
What are the steps to send money to Sierra Leone?
The steps involved in sending money to Sierra Leone depend on the method you choose.
- Transfer to bank account. You’ll have to provide the recipient’s name as well as account number, bank’s name and bank’s routing number. If you’re sending money through a transfer company, or through a bank other than your own, you’ll have to provide your bank account, debit card or credit card details. Once you initiate the transfer, you’ll get a reference number, which you can use to track the transfer’s progress.
- Cash pickup. Sending money to a cash pickup location requires that you provide the recipient’s name as well as a desired pickup location. If you’re sending money online or over the phone, you’ll have to provide your bank account, debit card or credit card details. The service provider gives you a reference number once you send the money. The recipient needs this number to collect the money.
Emergency cash transfers in Sierra Leone
There are certain situations when you might need to send a transfer as quickly as possible. When you do need to send an emergency transfer, remember that you will usually have to pay extra in order to get your funds to your beneficiary ASAP. Make sure to check the exchange rate and fees that apply so you know exactly how much it will cost.
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Tips for picking up cash in Sierra Leone
Picking up cash from a transfer agent in Sierra Leone? Follow a few simple steps to ensure that you and your money stay safe:
- Avoid any areas where crime is known to be a problem.
- Keep your wallet and/or bag safe and secure at all times.
- Take a friend along to provide additional security and peace of mind.
- Don’t flash your cash around in public.
- Don’t carry large sums of money around for any longer than is absolutely necessary.