You can send money from the UK to Bulgaria in different ways. Here’s your guide to picking the right one.
Establishment of diplomatic relations between the UK and Bulgaria took place in 1879, when Bulgaria gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. These nations were on opposite sides during the First and Second World Wars as well as the Cold War. Since 1989, relations between both sides have been friendly. While the UK has an embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria has one in London.
The population of Bulgarian-born residents in the UK has risen considerably in the recent past, from around 5,300 in 2001 to around 65,000 in 2014. Since 2014, Bulgarians can live and work in the UK as citizens on the European Union (EU). As members of the EU as well as NATO, both regions share various common interests. They continue to work on building a stronger bilateral relationship.
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If you, like many others, wish to send money from the UK to Bulgaria, know that you get to choose from multiple options. This guide aims to simplify the decision making process.
Radina Petrova moved to the UK on account of work. Her daughter lives with her parents in Bulgaria, and they depend on her financially. Soon as Radina moved to the UK she opened a bank account. At first she figured using her bank to transfer money to her parents might be a good idea. She wished to transfer around GBP1,000 every month.
A co-worker suggested she compare her options. When she did, this is what she found out.
|UK bank||Money transfer service 2|
|Exchange rate||GBP1 = BGN2.3614||GBP1 = BGN2.5078|
|Amount received for £1,000||BGN2,340.15||BGN2,507.78|
|Transfer time||Three to five days||One to two days|
|Transfer options||Bank account||Bank account|
After seeing the results of her comparison Radina obviously went with the money transfer service provider and not her bank. This resulted in her parents getting some extra cash, sooner than her bank would have delivered.
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Bulgaria?
When you’re comparing banks and money transfer companies, various aspects require your attention, which include:
- Exchange rate and fees. These find mention together for a reason. Simply going with a seemingly great exchange rate might not be a good idea until you look at the fees. This is because you may end up paying fees that offset any benefit you get through a good exchange rate. When you’re look at the financial aspect, simply look at how much money the recipient will receive.
- Methods to send money. If you wish to send money in person you’ll have to limit your search to banks and money transfer companies that have branches, stores or kiosks. Some of these companies let you initiate transfers over the phone. You get way more options if you turn to the Internet because some money transfer companies offer their services only in the online world.
- Methods to receive money. You can send money to the recipient’s bank account directly. Another option is to get the recipient to collect cash from a physical location.
- Transferring within same bank. If you and the recipient have accounts with the same bank, using its services for transfers can be advantageous. This can be through reduced or no fees as well as quicker turnaround times.
- Turnaround time. Online money transfer companies tend to process international fund transfers sooner than regular banks. While businesses that specialise in money transfers can complete transfers in one to two business days, banks can take three to seven business days.
- Minimum transfer amounts. Some businesses have minimum transfer amounts in place, which can vary from GBP500 to GBP1,000. Some others have no such requirements and let you transfer as little as you want.
How do I send money to Bulgaria from the UK?
The options you get in sending money from the UK to Bulgaria include:
- Banks. If you have an account with a bank in the UK, you can, in all likelihood, use its services to send money to Bulgaria. Take into account you’ll have to pay fees to use your bank’s services. The time the transfer takes to complete depends on your bank. If you have a personal or business chequebook you can consider sending a cheque via mail. Buying a money order from your bank and sending it via mail is another option.
- Non banks. You can use the services of Western Union or MoneyGram to send money to Bulgaria. Both have physical locations there, allowing recipients to collect cash. You can use their services to transfer money to Bulgarian bank accounts as well. If you and the recipient have PayPal accounts, you can use its services to transfer money. Opening a PayPal account takes little time and is free.
How do I receive money from Bulgaria in the UK?
If you wish to receive money from Bulgaria to the UK, you have two basic options:
- Banks. One way is to get the sender to transfer money from his or her Bulgarian bank account directly into your bank account. The sender can also send you a cheque or a money order via mail.
- Non banks. If you wish to collect cash from a physical location you can turn to a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Both have numerous locations across the UK. Another option is to receive money via your PayPal account. In this case, the sender will need to have a PayPal account as well. Once you receive the money in your PayPal account you can transfer it to your bank account.
Emergency cash transfers in Bulgaria
If you end up losing your money or wallet when you’re in Bulgaria you can get some emergency cash. First, make sure you cancel your debit and credit cards. Then, think about getting money in these ways:
- Cash pickup. An easy way to get some money in a hurry is to get a friend or a family member to send you some using the services of a money transfer company. All you have to do is find a convenient location from where you can collect cash and pass this information to the sender. Don’t forget to take an acceptable form of ID along when you go to collect the cash.
- Cash through credit card provider. If you have an existing Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card you can get some emergency money by visiting a local participating financial institution. Any money you get adds to your credit card account.
- Travel insurance. If you have the right kind of travel insurance you can get money to deal with scenarios such as lost and misplaced baggage, flight delays and cancellations as well as medical emergencies.
Cash pickup locations in Bulgaria/ Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Bulgaria
When you’re in Bulgaria you can collect cash by visiting cash pickup locations of companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram. If you plan to collect a large sum, calling the provider ahead of time to ensure there’s enough cash is a good idea. You’ll have to provide an acceptable form of photo ID such as your passport or driver’s license to verify your identity. Here are some cash pickup locations in Bulgaria.
- D Commerce Bank Ad
Sv.sv.kiril I Metodiy Str. n 1
Open 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Et Vites Iskra Ganeva
Blv.maria Luiza 102, Trafic Market 79
Open 7:00am to 9:00pm Monday to Sunday
- Stimar Bulgaria Ood
Ivan Vazov Str No 78
Open 8:00am to 7:30pm Monday to Saturday, 9:00am to 7:30pm Sunday
- Simko Trade Ood
Ivan Vazov Str No 43
Open 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday to Sunday
- DSK Bank
Stamboliiski Blvd 101
Open 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Municipal Bank
Vrabcha Str. 6
Open 8:30am to 5:15pm Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
- Piraeus Bank Bulgaria
Bethoven Str 9
Open 8:00am to 4:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
Ivan Vazov 47a
Open 7:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
Tips for picking up cash in Bulgaria
When you’re in Bulgaria you can visit various exchange bureaux that normally accept Great Britain pounds as well as other major currencies. It is best that you try and limit your foreign currency exchanges and money transfers to large banks, exchange bureaux or big hotels. Exchanging Northern Irish and Scottish currency might present a problem. Don’t use street sellers to exchange currency.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office suggests that you remain watchful of pickpockets in tourist areas and city centres. Instances of burglaries from hotel rooms in Sunny Beach are not uncommon, so keep your valuables and money in a safe.Back to top
What are the steps to send money to Bulgaria?
If you’re sending money from the UK to Bulgaria you’ll have to provide different kinds of information, which varies as per the method you choose.
- Transferring to a bank account. If you’re sending money to a Bulgarian Bank account you’ll need the account holder’s complete name, the account number, the name of the bank and the bank’s SWIFT code. In case you’re using the services of an online money transfer company you’ll have to submit your bank account or debit card details.
- Cash pickup. If the transfer involves a cash pickup, you’ll have to provide a desired cash pickup location along with the recipient’s complete name. If you’re sending cash from a physical location you’ll have to provide proof of identity and your contact details. If you’re sending money online you’ll have to provide your bank account or debit card details as well.