Wondering how to send money to Tanzania from the US? Here’s what you need to know.
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Compare money transfer companies to Tanzania
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Neema Bilal arrived in America as a student. She did not return to Tanzania at the end of her education, she landed a job that permitted her to continue living here. However, her parents still live in Tanzania. While her father makes enough money to sustain their livelihood, Neema wants to contribute so they can lead a more comfortable life. She figures she can afford to send around $1,000 every couple of months.
She first visits her local bank to learn how much a transfer will cost, but she learns that they don’t deal in exotic currencies. She then turns online to compare money transfer companies that make transfers in Tanzanian shillings. Here’s what she finds for a transfer of $1,000.
|Money Transfer Service A||Money Transfer Service B|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 1,493.45 TZS||1 USD = 1,500.50 TZS|
|Transfer speed||1 business day||1 business day|
|Transfer options||Bank account||Bank account, cash pickup|
|Total TZS received||1,493,450 TZS||1,500,500 TZS|
While Money Transfer Service B, Neema can get a stronger exchange rate, but it also charges a transfer fee. Neema instead chooses Money Transfer Service A so that her parents can receive a bit more money directly to her father’s bank account.
How do I compare transfer companies when sending money to Tanzania?
Comparing banks and money transfer companies is not difficult, provided you know what to look out for.
- Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
- Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
- Payment methods. Some transfer companies allow you to pay with a credit card online, while others require you to visit an agent to send money from the US.
- Transfer speed. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pickups, often in minutes. If you’ve more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
- Transfer limits. Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.
- “Hedging” options. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
- Customer service. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. Most countries’ exchange rates are flexible, which means they can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Options for sending money to Tanzania
- Bank transfers. Many major US banks will allow you to wire money to banks in Tanzania.
- Money transfer providers. It’s simple and convenient to send an online money transfer to Tanzania from the comfort of your home.
- Providers with cash pickup. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the option of cash pickups from thousands of agent locations across Tanzania.
- M-Pesa. M-Pesa is a safe, secure way to send, receive and store money through your mobile phone or an app. Top up your account at one of more than 287,000 agent locations and then send money to loved ones, who can visit an agent to withdraw their funds.
- PayPal. Electronic payment giant PayPal allows you to send money from the US to Tanzania.
- Checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or US Postal Service.
Tips for picking up cash in Tanzania
Whether picking up funds in Tanzania or anywhere else around the world, take a few simple safety precautions to prevent yourself becoming a target for thieves.
- Call ahead. Learn the company’s business hours and choose a safe time to pick up your cash. Daylight hours are best.
- Bring a friend. Carrying money when alone can be dangerous. Ask a friend to come along.
- Deposit your money immediately. The likelihood of losing your money to theft or simple carelessness grows the longer you have it with you. Go straight to a bank and deposit your cash as soon as possible.
- Keep your cash hidden. Place your money in your purse or wallet before leaving the office. Carrying cash out in the open could make you a target.
What are the steps to sending money to Tanzania?
The steps involved in sending money to Tanzania will vary by the method you choose.
- Transfer to bank account. If you’re sending money through your bank, you’ll provide the recipient’s name, account number, bank name and routing number. If you’re using another bank or a money transfer company, you’ll provide details of your bank account or debit card or credit card as well. You should get a reference number once you initiate the transfer, which you can use to track the progress of the transfer at any time.
- Cash pickup. You’ll provide your recipient’s name and a desired cash pickup location along with details of your bank account, debit card or credit card. You get a reference number, which the recipient will need to collect the transfer.