Can I send money to someone in Syria?

Do banks and money transfer companies let you send money to Syria from the U.S.? Here’s the information you need.

Sending money to Syria might not be as easy as it would if you were sending money to a country not troubled by internal strife. However, you still have options, which you’ll learn about by reading this guide.

What are my options for sending money to Syria from the U.S.?

  • Banks. While finding a U.S. bank to send money to Syria can be a challenge, you can use the services of some Middle Eastern banks. In this case, the bank might require you to be an account holder, and you’ll have to initiate the transfer online. You can also consider sending a money order or international check via mail.
  • Non-banks. Some money transfer companies such as Western Union let you send money to Syria in person, by visiting a store or kiosk. Some limit their operations to the online world. If you and the recipient have PayPal accounts, you can use its services as well.
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Case study: Banks vs money transfer companies

Adnan Al-Hamsi moved to America without his wife and child, who continue living in Syria. They depend on him financially, so he’ll have to keep sending them money periodically. He plans to send them around $1,000 every month.

While Adnan has an account with a U.S. bank, it does not allow fund transfers to Syria. Upon checking with a few other banks, he realizes that most U.S. banks refuse to transfer funds to Syrian bank accounts.

He takes to the internet to compare money transfer companies. This is what he finds.

Money transfer service 1Money transfer service 2
Exchange rate$1 = $155.057 SYP$1 = $150.69 SYP
Transfer fee$20$0
Amount received for $1,000$147,304 SYP$150,690 SYP
Transfer time1 day1-2 days
Transfer optionsCash pickupBank account
Difference of$3,386 SYP

The comparison shows him that while the first money transfer company offers him a better exchange rate, his wife ends up getting more money through the second service provider. This is because of the fees he’ll have to pay if he uses the first service provider. Besides, he prefers transferring the money directly into his wife’s bank account.

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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, Syria. 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.
Can I send money to someone in a country with sanctions?

How do I compare transfer companies when sending money to Syria?

When comparing money transfer companies to send money to Syria, pay attention to these aspects.

  • Transfer rates and fees. As you can see from the case study, a better exchange rate does not necessarily translate into a better deal, which is because of the fees you may have to pay. To pick the best deal, simply compare how much money the recipient stands to receive.
  • Ways to send money. Finding a U.S. bank that lets you transfer funds to a Syrian bank account, given the current situation, can be very difficult. However, if you have an account with a Middle Eastern bank, you might be able to use its services to transfer funds to Syria online. Some international and Middle Eastern money transfer companies also let you send money to Syria online.
  • Ways to receive money. The recipient can receive transferred funds directly into a bank account or by visiting a cash pickup location.
  • Transfer methods. If you plan to send money to Syria regularly, you can save some time and effort by dealing with a service provider that lets you make regular scheduled payments.
  • Using the same bank. In the event that you and the recipient have accounts with the same bank, using its services for the transfer can work in your favor. First, not many banks let you transfer funds to Syria. Second, you can benefit through reduced fees and a quicker turnaround time.
  • Processing time. When you’re sending money to Syria, the time the process takes can vary considerably owing to multiple factors. While the service provider you choose plays a role, the fact that various parts of Syria suffer from intermittent internet connectivity problems can work in delaying the transfer.
  • Minimum transfer amounts. The service provider you choose may have a minimum transfer limit in place, which can vary from $200 to $1,000, or its near equivalent in other currencies.
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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 will yield more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. For example, in December 2016, the U.S dollar was worth approximately 19 Mexican pesos. 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.

What are the steps to send money to Syria?

This depends on the method you choose.

  1. Transfer to bank account. If you wish to transfer funds directly into the recipient’s account, you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name, account number, name of the bank and the bank’s routing number If you’re using the services of a money transfer company, you’ll also have to provide details of your bank account, credit card or debit card.
  2. Cash pickup. In this case you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name as well as a desired cash pickup location. The business might want to verify your identity before initiating the transfer. If you’re sending money online, you’ll also have to provide your bank account, credit card or debit card details.
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