How to send money to Afghanistan
Safe, secure and cost-effective transfer options when you need to send money to Afghanistan.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK has over 100,000 Afghans living within its borders.
Many of them have fled their country to escape the war and violence, which has plagued the country for well over the past decade.
Yet many members of the vibrant Afghan community still have family and loved ones in Afghanistan who they would like to support financially having started successful businesses in the UK.
Although much of Afghanistan’s infrastructure has been weakened, there are still a few safe, easy and inexpensive methods to send money to Afghanistan.
Compare the transfer fees and exchange rates of the options available to get the best deal.
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, Afghanistan. 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. Currently, the only providers that offer money transfers to Afghanistan are Western Union and MoneyGram.Back to top
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Afghanistan
You’ll want to consider costs, of course. But other factors can also affect your choice.
- Exchange rate. Pounds are converted to Afghan afghanis at an exchange rate that’s set by the transfer provider. These rates vary day to day, even moment to moment, and among providers.
- Fees. Most companies charge a fee to transfer your money around the world, though some will waive that fee for large transfers. The fee and the exchange rate determine how much your transfer will cost.
- Minimum amounts. Some companies will transfer as little as one pound, but others won’t deal with anything less than a few hundred. Look for a match with what you’re trying to send.
- Urgency. If the money needs to get there ASAP, most providers complete transactions in a day or two. Some can do it in minutes, at a higher cost. The fastest availability usually comes with picking up the funds in cash. Surprisingly, using a credit or debit card on your end can be faster than pulling money directly from a checking account.
- Process and scheduling. Do you prefer to send money online, over the phone or in person? Do you want to schedule a future transfer or use a forward contract in anticipation of better exchange rates?
- Payment methods. Will you pay with cash, a bank account or a debit or credit card? Transfer agents often see debit cards as quicker and more secure than the bank accounts they’re based on. However, using a credit card can trigger cash advance charges from your credit card company.
- Customer service. How much help will be available if you hit a snag or have a question? Are the support hours convenient?
Compare services that send money to Afghanistan from the UK
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 British Pound was worth approximately 26 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 will I need to send money to Afghanistan?
When sending funds through Western Union or MoneyGram you will first be required to sign up for a free account. You will then be asked to provide the following information:
- Your name, address, contact information and ID.
- Your beneficiary’s name and the agent location where they will pick up the funds..
- How much money you’re sending, in what currency and which country you’re sending it to.
Once you have completed your transaction, you will be given a tracking number. Make a note of this number so you can monitor the progress of your money transfer.Back to top
Tips for picking up money in Afghanistan
Afghanistan has faced war, violence and political turmoil over the past couple of years. It’s important to stick to main towns and not wander into unknown places when looking for a cash pickup agent. Moneygram and Western Union list their cash pickup locations on their respective websites, so make sure to research the area well before heading to a location in a smaller town. When picking up cash, have a valid photo ID and the correct reference or transaction number. Bringing a copy of the receipt and the sender’s details is also recommended.
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