You can save time and money when sending money to Jamaica from the UK, provided you know how.
The United Kingdom has a significant presence of Jamaican diaspora, with around 4% of London’s population linked to Jamaican heritage. While Jamaicans have lived in the UK since early 20th century, their numbers increased considerably after the Second World War.
As per the Office for National Statistics (ONS), more than 146,000 Jamaican-born people lived in the UK in 2001. It estimated that this number grew to around 150,000 in 2010. However, only around 49,000 retained Jamaican citizenship.
Instances of people sending money to Jamaica from the UK are common. If you’re not sure which method to choose, going through this guide will serve you well.
Compare International Money Transfers
Case study - Banks versus specialist money transfer companies
Work got Tara Brown to the UK. While she is to live here indefinitely, her parents continue living in Jamaica. Since they depend on her financially, she’ll be sending money to them periodically. She figures she’ll manage to send around £1,000 every month conveniently.
Tara opened an account with a leading UK bank upon her arrival. However, she’s not sure if using its services to send money to Jamaica is her best bet. She compares her options using the Internet and this is what she finds.
|UK bank||Money transfer service|
|Exchange rate||£1 = J$164.8686||£1 = J$175.0880|
|Amount received for £1,000||J$163,384.83||J$175,088.00|
|Transfer time||3-5 days||1-2 days|
|Transfer options||Bank account||Bank account|
This comparison showed Tara that her bank offered her an unfavourable exchange rate, and it also charged a fee for the transfer. Besides, the money transfer company would get the money to her parents sooner than the bank. Going forward, Tara decides to compare her options before each transfer.
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Jamaica?
Comparing money transfer companies requires that you pay attention to different aspects.
- Exchange rate and fees. Using either of these to decide which service provider to choose may not work well. This is because paying high fees can dampen any benefit you may get through a seemingly attractive exchange rate, and the reverse can hold true as well. An easy way to pick the best deal is to compare the total amount the recipient stands to receive.
- Ways of sending money. Some banks let their customers transfer money to Jamaica. If your bank does, you may be able to transfer funds by visiting a branch, online or over the phone. If you wish to send money in person you can also turn to a money transfer company that operates out of physical locations. Several money transfer companies offer their services only in the online world. Some businesses let you transfer funds over the phone.
- Ways of receiving money. You can send the money directly into the recipient’s Jamaican bank account. In the absence of a bank account, or if you wish to transfer funds quickly, the recipient can collect money by visiting a cash pickup location.
- Processing time. If the recipient wishes to collect money from a cash pickup centre the transfer can take place almost immediately. When transferring funds to a bank account, the processing time depends on the business you choose and the recipient’s bank.
- Using the same bank. Using the services of a single bank to send money to Jamaica can work in your favour if you and the recipient have account’s with the same institution. Benefits can come in the form of reduced fees and quicker turnaround times.
- Transfer options. If you don’t want to go through the entire process every time you wish to transfer funds you can look for a money transfer company that lets you make regular scheduled payments. Some money transfer companies let you purchase market orders and forward contracts as well.
- Minimum transfer amounts. This can be a concern if you’re not sending much money, because some money transfer companies don’t let you send less than £500 or £1,000.
How do I send money to Jamaica from the UK?
Sending money to Jamaica from the UK presents multiple options.
- Banks. You’ll find several banks in the UK that let you transfer funds directly to Jamaican bank accounts. If your account comes with a chequebook you can consider sending a cheque via mail. Another option is to buy a money order from a bank and send it via mail.
- Non-banks. There are money transfer companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram that let you send money to Jamaica, both to bank accounts and to cash pickup centres. Using the services of PayPal is also an option. In this case you and the recipient should have PayPal accounts, which you can open for free.
How do I receive money from Jamaica in the UK?
If you wish to receive money from Jamaica in the UK, you can do so in different ways.
- Banks. You can receive money directly into your bank account, provided it accepts international direct credits. You can also receive a bank-issued money order or cheque.
- Non-banks. Money transfer companies such as Western Unionand MoneyGram have a number of cash pickup centres across the UK. You can visit any of these centres to collect the transferred money in person. If you and the sender have PayPal accounts, you can use its services to receive money. Once the money gets to your PayPal account, withdrawing it into your bank account is easy.
Emergency cash transfers in Jamaica
In case you end up losing your wallet when you’re in Jamaica the first thing you should do is report your credit and debit cards as lost or stolen. Then, you can think about getting emergency money in these ways.
- Cash pickup. An easy way to get money in a hurry is to get a friend or a family member to send some using the services of a money transfer company. For this to happen, you’ll have to locate a cash pickup centre and pass the details to the sender.
- Cash advance through credit card. If you have a Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card, you can get some emergency money by getting in touch with a local participating bank.
- Travel insurance. Getting the right kind of travel insurance before go to Jamaica can be beneficial. Amongst other things, you can get emergency funds in scenarios such as unexpected medical expenses, lost and misplaced baggage as well as flight delays and cancellations.
Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Jamaica
You can find several Western Union and MoneyGram cash pickup locations in Jamaica. To collect cash from any of these centres you’ll have to present a valid form of ID such as your passport or driver’s license. If your transfer involves a large sum, you may want to call the centre ahead to time to confirm availability of funds. Here are details of some money transfer locations in Jamaica.
- Bejon Ltd
111b Molynes RdKingston+876-929-1331Open 7am to 11pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Mandr Enterprises Ltd
37 Molynes RoadKingston+876-929-1331Open 7am to 11pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- True North Ventures Ltd
Catherine S Peak OfficeUnit B Sagicor Commercial CompFreeport Montego Bay+876-929-1331Open 7am to 11pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Hometown Supermarket Overton
Shop 9 Overton PlazaP O Box 1130Montego Bay+876-926-2454Open 7am to 11pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Paynow Investments Ltd
Shop #3 Half-Way-Tree Transport CentreKingston+876-908-1031Open 8am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Csk Internet & Small Loan Ltd
58 1 2 Hagley Park RoadKingston+876-960-9507Open 8am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- New Unico Sales & Services
30 Union StreetMontego Bay+876-979-2870Open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Pay Day West Limited
Shops 3-5 Bisco Mall 6 Union StreetMontego Bay+876-979-6647Open 8am to 11:59pm, Monday to Sunday
Tips for picking up cash in Jamaica
In 2014, around 177,000 British nationals visited Jamaica, and most of these visits remained free of trouble. Crime levels in the country are high, especially in Kingston. However, instances of violence and shootings generally limit to neighbourhoods in the inner city area. Avoid taking part in public demonstrations as thieves can use these events as cover.
Robbery is the primary motive for most attacks on tourists, so it is best that you take due care to protect your belongings. Exercise vigilance after you collect money from a cash pickup centre or when you withdraw funds from an ATM. Don’t visit deserted beaches or isolated areas alone, even during daylight.Back to top
What are the steps to send money to Jamaica?
The method you choose has a bearing on the steps involved in sending money to Jamaica.
- Transfer to bank account. When transferring funds to a Jamaican bank account you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name, account number, bank’s name and bank’s SWIFT code. In case you’re using the services of a money transfer company you’ll have to provide details of your bank account, debit card or credit card. The time the transfer takes to go through depends on the service provider and the recipient’s bank.
- Cash pickup. Provide the name of the recipient along with a desired cash pickup location. If you’re initiating the transfer over the Internet or over the phone, you’ll have to provide your bank account, debit card or credit card details. Once you initiate the transfer you get a reference number, which the recipient will need to collect the money. Transfers that involve cash pickups tend to take place almost instantly.