Do you need to send funds to Zambia from the US? These tips will help you save money.
Although it might seem like a complicated process, sending money from the US to Zambia doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. If a friend or family member needs money quickly, you can use a money transfer service to convert your US dollars into Zambian kwachas. You’ll likely get a better interest rate and less fees, saving you money and getting more funds to your recipient in Zambia.
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Compare money transfer services to Zambia
How do international money transfers work?
An international money transfer allows you to send money to a recipient overseas. Transfers involve one person providing funds to a bank or an independent money transfer company that then converts the money to another currency–in this case, the Zambian kwacha. 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. Your transfer can be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or made available as cash for them to pick up at a nearby location.
General money transfer companies vs. immediate money transfer servicesJenny is a businesswoman from Zambia and has recently moved to America to make sure her father’s rubber export company continues to perform well in his absence.
Since her father has a successful exporting company, she won’t need to send money to Zambia to support her family, but she still needs to pay off her student debt. She decides that since she is earning US dollars, it will be better for her financial future to tackle the debt and send money while she is still in America.
She takes the time to speak to fellow Zambians and does some research before coming to the following conclusions using a benchmark of $1,000 USD. She compares the fees and exchange rates for two different money transfer companies so that she is sure to receive the most Zambian kwachas for every dollar she transfers.
|Money transfer company A||Money transfer company B|
|Exchange rate||$1 USD = $8.146 ZMW||$1 USD = $7.782537 ZMW|
|Transfer fee||Flat fee of $10 USD if amount is under $10,000 USD||$25 USD|
|Amount of ZMW received in Zambia for 1,000 USD||$8,145.44 ZMW||$7,782.54 ZMW|
|Transfer time||1-4 Days||Minutes|
|Transfer options||App, Online, Phone||Online, Agent|
|Difference in ZMW|
Since Jenny doesn’t need to have her money transfered immediately, she opts for Service A so she can get more kwachas and pay a small fee.
What criteria did Jenny use to compare transfer companies when sending and receiving money between Zambia and US?
- Exchange Rates. Jenny found that exchange rates were relatively consistent but that she could get the best rate using a money transfer company that got its rates through the bank. The drawback to this was usually the time delays in sending money.
- Pickup Methods. Zambia offers a robust financial infrastructure and allows someone to receive money in their bank account, as well as cash at an agent or branch location.
- Fees. Fees are much higher if Jenny wants to send her money with a quick delivery and a low amounts,but are generally standard and not above $30 USD.
- Bank to Bank Benefits. There is no clear bank to bank benefit that Jenny could find through her research, but she has noticed that Citibank has branches in Zambia and that she can send money using Commonwealth Bank.
- Turnaround Time. The turnaround time can range from minutes to five days in sending money to Zambia.
- Transfer Methods. There are a couple of options through the services she has found including branch, bank accounts, online, phone and agent.
- Transfer Options. Because Jenny wants to pay off debt, she will most probably want to find a recurring payment solution. She also sees the value of a currency option so she can fix her rates when they are low.
- Minimum and Maximum Transfer Amounts. Although some companies specify these (and a minimum can be as high as $5,000 USD), Jenny notices that the lower the transfer amount, the higher the fees can be.
- Customer Service. MoneyGram and Western Union have been around for years and offer vast support structures worldwide, whilst Xpress Money is newer with support features like live chat. Citibank also has a huge reach with customer support ranging across global boundaries.
Foreign exchange rates explained
Exchange rates are a flexible scale that determines how much the currency of one country is worth when converted to the currency of another currency. The US dollar (USD) has traditionally been strong against the Zambian kwacha (ZMW), meaning that you will get more kwachas for every dollar you transfer. As of January 2018, this rate was about 9.66 kwacha for every dollar. Interest rates, economic stability and inflation rates all influence the exchange rate between the US and Zambia.
What are your options for sending money to Zambia from the US?
- Money transfer services. Moneygram, Western Union, Xpress Money and World First Foreign Exchange are able to send money to Zambia.
- Banks. Citibank has branches in Zambia, but requires a visit to the branch to send and receive money. Commonwealth Bank allows you to send money to Zambia and receive it and can also be used to send money to someone with a supported bank account in Zambia.
What are the steps to send money to Zambia using various services?
- Browse the table above and compare each provider’s rates, fees and delivery speed to find a service that works for you and your recipient.
- Click Go to Site when you’ve found a good provider.
- Create an account and enter your personal information, including your bank account information if required.
- Enter your recipient’s information.
- Pay for the transfer.
- Keep your tracking number and give it to your recipient if they are planning to pick up cash. This helps you ensure your transfer goes through smoothly.
Tips for picking up cash in Zambia
Here’s what you’ll need when picking up cash in Zambia:
- A government-issued ID.
- The tracking or reference number.
In addition, you should follow a few simple steps to ensure that you and your money stay safe:
- Avoid any areas where crime is known to be a problem.
- Keep your wallet and/or bag safe and secure at all times.
- Take a friend along to provide additional security and peace of mind.
- Don’t flash your cash around in public.
- Don’t carry large sums of money around for any longer than is absolutely necessary.
How to handle an emergency money transfer
If your friend or family member needs cash immediately, there are money transfer companies that can perform a same-day transfer. Keep in mind that these will have subprime exchange rates and higher fees than transfers that are made over the course of a few days. Gauge your need and the total cost of the transfer before committing. If it can wait, you’ll likely save money and be able to transfer more than with an emergency transfer.