Sending money to Sri Lanka doesn’t have to break the bank. Here’s how to send a secure and affordable transfer from the U.S. to Sri Lanka.
From bank transfers and online transactions to options that allow recipients to collect your funds within minutes, sending an international money transfer to Sri Lanka is easy. However, do your research and shop around for the best available deal.
Compare International Money Transfers
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How do international money transfers work?
An international money transfer allows you to send money to a recipient overseas. Generally, a transfer involves you providing funds to a bank or an independent transfer provider, which then sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, Sri Lanka. This can be done in person, over the phone, through a mobile app or online. You can use cash, a credit or debit card, or transfer funds from your bank account, which will then either be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, or made available as cash for them to pick up at a location in their country.
Banks versus money transfer companies
The Sri Lankan rupee is a rare currency in global terms, so you’ll have to check with your bank to see whether or not you’ll be able to send Sri Lankan rupees overseas from your bank account. Alternatively, you may need to send U.S. dollars overseas that can then be converted into the local currency by the receiving bank.
In any case, banks are typically not the best option when you need to send an international money transfer. They offer poor exchange rates and charge high fees. You can usually save money if you use the services of a dedicated money transfer company. These companies offer fast and affordable transfers, which usually means they offer better exchange rates and lower fees than the major banks.
James is working in the United States and he would like to send some money back home to his mom and dad. His bank is only a relatively small institution that doesn’t offer international transfers to Sri Lanka, so he decides to shop around for the money transfer company that offers the best deal. He compares the features of two online transfer providers.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||$1 USD = $130.92 LKR||$1 USD = $133.19 LKR|
|Transfer method||Bank account deposit||Cash pickup|
|Processing time||2 business days||10 minutes|
|Amount received (in LKR)||$130,920 LKR||$133,190 LKR|
As you can see, James’ parents will receive an extra $2,270 LKR if he uses the second transfer company, while he can also pay a smaller fee and get the funds to his parents faster.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Sri Lanka
- Exchange rates. As James’ example shows, a small difference in exchange rates equates to a whole lot of money when you calculate the full cost of your transaction.
- Fees. Compare the transfer fee that will apply to each transaction, and remember that companies with higher fees sometimes offer better exchange rates than their competitors.
- Transfer methods. Can you make transfers online or in person? What about by making a phone call or using a smartphone app?
- Transfer options. Can you lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer the money later, known as a forward contract? Does the institution offer limit orders, which allows you to take advantage of changing market conditions by executing the money transfer when a certain exchange rate is met? Can you schedule recurring payments?
- Turnaround time. Some companies can make your funds available for pickup in minutes, while others will make you wait several business days for the transaction to be completed.
- Minimum transfer amount. If a company imposes a minimum acceptable transfer limit, consider whether this limit is suitable.
- Pickup methods. Will the funds be sent to a bank account, or be made available for collection in person? If your recipient will visit a branch to collect the funds, what sort of network does each provider have in Sri Lanka?
- Customer service. Phone, email and live chat customer support can be important if you experience a problem with a transfer.
How to send money to Sri Lanka from America
- Bank transfers. Ask your bank to see if it is possible to send an international money transfer to a bank account in Sri Lanka.
- Online money transfer providers. Companies such as WorldRemit and Xoom offer online transfers to Sri Lanka.
- Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Providers like Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to send funds to Sri Lanka that can be picked up at a branch.
- Checks. Another transfer option to consider is to send an international guaranteed check.
Emergency cash transfers in Sri Lanka
If you need to send cash to Sri Lanka fast, keep in mind that you will usually be charged high fees and receive poor exchange rates. This means you should take care to check exactly how much your transaction will cost, including the exchange rate you will receive and any extra charges that may apply.
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Tips for picking up cash in Sri Lanka
If you pick up a cash transfer from a money transfer agent in Sri Lanka, remember to exercise safety precautions.
- Don’t wave your cash around in front of strangers.
- Keep your personal belongings secure at all times.
- Avoid any high-crime areas.
- Don’t carry around large sums of money, and deposit your cash into a bank account as soon as possible.
How to send money to Sri Lanka
Although transfer methods vary depending on the provider you choose, there’s a good chance you’ll need to register for an account before you send any funds. This is usually done by providing your name and contact details, your address and proof of your identity. Once you’ve placed a transfer request, most companies will provide you with a receipt or a transaction reference number, which you can use to monitor the status of your transaction.