MoneyGram has restored send services, but other providers haven’t followed suit.
Our pick: OFX International Money Transfers
OFX offers flexible transfer options, 24/7 customer support and no maximum limit. Send a minimum of $1,000 per year.
- $0 transfer fees. Send fee-free transfers to over 195 countries worldwide.
- Transfers in 55 currencies. OFX supports major, minor and exotic currencies.
- Flexible options. Choose from forward contracts to scheduled transfers for convenience and flexibility.
What are my options for sending money to Venezuela from the US?
At the time of writing (January 2019), the only online option for sending money to Venezuela is MoneyGram. While Western Union isn’t allowing online transfers, you can send cash in person from one of its locations.
Other transfer providers like Transferwise and WorldRemit are not currently operating in Venezuela, though that may change in the future.
Inflation in Venezuela
The value of the Venezuelan bolivar has been decreasing at an extreme rate, and inflation reached over 1 million percent in 2018. This means that how many bolivars you get for your US dollars can be dramatically different from one day to the next.
The extreme inflation has also led the Venezuelan government to put strict regulations in place for remittances, which means that the rate you get is likely to be considerably lower than the rate on the black market. This has led to a surge in people using illegal methods to transfer money into the country, which can come with a hefty jail sentence.
How do I compare money transfer companies?
If more transfer companies begin to operate in Venezuela, you’ll want to compare:
- Exchange rate. Venezuelan bolívars are considered an exotic currency. Because of this, many banks and money transfer companies don’t trade it, but there are some that do. This will be one of the most important parts of your decision.
- Transfer time. How quickly do you need the money to get to Venezuela? If the answer is minutes, then go for a provider like Western Union if and when the ban is lifted. If you have time, it can be worth looking for a slower, cheaper option. The transfer time is based on a couple of things, including the payment and delivery method.
- Transfer fee. Transfer fees can vary greatly between providers. Some providers waive the fee if you transfer a certain amount. For example, transactions greater than $10,000 might not incur a transfer fee. Other providers may waive the fee if you transfer money multiple times, so check if there are deals before you choose a provider.
- Delivery method. If your recipient doesn’t have a bank account, find a service that allows them to pick up cash. Otherwise, one that transfers directly to a bank account should be a safer option.
- Payment method. Some companies let you pay for a transfer using your credit card or debit card, but bank deposit is the preferred payment method for most money transfer companies.
- Transfer options. Can you lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer the money later? Does the institution offer limit orders that allow 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? Consider these based on your needs when finding a provider.
- Customer service. Is there a US-based customer service team on-hand to take your call?
- Transfer limits. How much do you want to send? Different providers have different minimum and maximum limits.
Foreign exchange rates explainedExchange rates are how much one country’s currency is worth when converted to the currency of another country. It’s impacted by a number of global issues, including the economy of developed and underdeveloped nations, and can fluctuate daily.
Tips for picking up cash in Venezuela.
The US government warns against travel to parts of Venezuela — especially the Venezuelan and Colombian border — because Venezuela has one of the highest crime rates in the world. If you end up transferring money within its borders, exercise a high degree of caution when collecting cash from an agent.
If possible, don’t travel alone. Police or your hotel concierge may be able to help arrange an escort if you’re collecting a large amount of cash and you’re concerned about your personal safety.
Cash pickup locations in Venezuela
Adrienne Fuller is the publisher for money transfers and also the head of publishing at Finder. With a decade of experience creating guides in finance and education, she aims to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. She has a BA from Colorado College and when she's not helping folks save money, she's hiking with her two Catahoulas around her home in San Diego.
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