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How to send money to Sri Lanka
Transferring money to Sri Lanka doesn’t have to break the bank — learn how to send a secure and affordable transfer from the US to Sri Lanka.
Updated . What changed?
When you need to send money to Sri Lanka, don’t let high fees or bad exchange rates get in your way. Compare your options to find a good deal, and ensure your money transfer goes smoothly by understanding the process. Between banks and money transfer companies, you have plenty of options to choose from to get funds to your recipient in Sri Lanka.
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Compare international money transfers to Sri Lanka
Use our comparison calculator to assess transfer fees, exchange rates and other details for sending funds to Sri Lanka with our money transfer partners.
What's in this guide?
- Compare international money transfers to Sri Lanka
- How to send money to Sri Lanka online
- What are the ways that I can send money to Sri Lanka
- How to get the most out of your money transfer to Sri Lanka
- Sri Lanka's exchange rates explained
- Can you Venmo Sri Lanka?
- Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in Sri Lanka
- What to watch out for
- Bottom line
How to send money to Sri Lanka online
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
- Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and preferred payment method.
- Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If transferring to a bank, you’ll need their Sri Lankan bank account details.
- Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
- Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to Sri Lanka. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.
What are the ways that I can send money to Sri Lanka
- Bank transfers. Many major US banks will allow you to send money to Sri Lanka.
- Money transfer providers. Providers like TransferWise can help you quickly and easily transfer your money online.
- Providers with cash pickup. Western Union and WorldRemit 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 Sri Lanka.
- Checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or US Postal Service.
What’s the best way to send money to Sri Lanka?
Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to Sri Lanka. Some offer cash pickup in as little as a few minutes, while others seamlessly transfer to bank accounts. Sending money through PayPal or your bank is also an option, but you’ll typically face higher fees and weaker exchange rates when going that route.
Digital money transfer services
Companies like XE specialize in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s Sri Lankan bank account, often in as little as a day or two.
Services like MoneyGram and WorldRemit allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in Sri Lanka — often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, you’ll pay for the convenience in weak exchange rates and high fees.
Sri Lankan rupees are not a popular currency, but your local bank may be able to exchange them. If your bank supports Sri Lankan rupees, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options when sending a wire transfer to Sri Lanka.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 to Sri Lanka
Let’s say you need to send $1,000 to family in Sri Lanka. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of May 27, 2020.
|Digital money transfer service||Cash transfer||Bank transfer|
|Fee||$0||$3.99||$25 + additional correspondent bank fees|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 184.734 LKR||1 USD = 185.293 LKR||1 USD = 178.621 LKR|
|Transfer speed||1-2 day||Minutes||2-5 days|
|Amount received||LKR 184,734||LKR 184.553||LKR 174,155|
The bank option ends up being both the slowest and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient in Sri Lanka. If you go with the digital money transfer service, your recipient ends up with LKR 10,579 more than the bank offers. If speed is crucial, a cash transfer can typically have your transfer to Sri Lanka in as little as 15 minutes, just make sure there is a cash pickup location near your recipient before sending.
How to get the most out of your money transfer to Sri Lanka
Weigh costs and fees against convenience to learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to Sri Lanka to best meet your needs:
- Exchange rates. The USD-LKR relationship fluctuates often, so using a service that allows you to lock-in exchange prices may help you save money down the line if the Sri Lankan rupee rises against the US dollar.
- Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger USD-LKR exchange rate.
- Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the amount of Sri Lankan rupees you’re sending to Sri Lanka.
- Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to Sri Lanka.
- Sending limits. Comparing prices for one large transfer instead of many small transfers is typically easier, so picking the service you use based on how much you’re sending is a valid strategy for saving money.
- Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a Sri Lankan bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.
Emergency cash transfer
When urgency trumps cost to get your money to Sri Lanka quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes. You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees are higher than other methods.
How to send money to Sri Lanka without a bank account
Cash transfer services can help you if you’re unbanked or marginally banked. If you don’t have a bank account, look for a local company that supports storefronts for cash payments. These services include agent locations in other countries that allow your recipient to pick up cash without a bank account.
Sri Lanka’s exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weaker currency. Sri Lanka’s exchange rate is flexible compared to the US dollar, and the USD-JMD relationship may make sharp movements based on global events. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Track how the Sri Lankan rupee trades against the US dollar in our historical rate chart.
Can you Venmo Sri Lanka?
No. Venmo, Cash App, Zelle and similar services are all restricted mostly to the US. Cash App and Venmo do not work between Sri Lanka and the US. You’ll need to use a dedicated money transfer service, a bank transfer, a PayPal transfer or something similar to send money to Sri Lanka.
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in Sri Lanka
To send money to Sri Lanka from the US, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in Sri Lanka may be different by company.
Documents to send money from the US
To send money from the US to Sri Lanka, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
- Identification. Most services require a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID. Some services allow you to send transfers without ID, but they may require your SSN.
- Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or personal checks.
- Recipient information. Submit your recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number and Sri Lankan bank account information.
Documents to receive money in Sri Lanka
To pick up money in person, documentation can include:
- Transfer number. The person sending you money can forward the transfer’s confirmation details — called a PIN, a MTCN, a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
- Government-issued ID. A Sri Lankan Passport, Sri Lankan ID or similar official ID may be required to pick up your transfer..
- Amount sent. You may need to know how much was sent, usually within 10% of the total.
- Sender’s information. Take along your sender’s full name, the sending country and their address, if known.
What to watch out for
Sending money to relatives or family members in Sri Lanka may be subject to taxes on the money transfer, but it depends on a lot of variables. In general, any large transfers being sent from the US to Sri Lanka should be filed with the IRS to avoid any penalties. To learn more about what penalties you may face by failing to file your transfer, read our guide on IRS taxes for large money transfers.
Sending your hard-earned money to Sri Lanka shouldn’t cost a fortune. Compare money transfer companies that specialize in foreign transactions for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.
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