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How to send money to Jamaica
Transferring money to loved ones on this Caribbean island can be a breeze.
You have choices when you need to send money to friends, family or colleagues in Jamaica from South Africa. To be sure to get the best exchange rates and transfer times, compare a host of providers to get the best deal.
Compare international money transfers to Jamaica
Use our comparison calculator to assess transfer fees, exchange rates and other details for sending funds to Jamaica with our money transfer partners.
What’s the best way to send money to Jamaica?
Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to Jamaica. Some offer cash pickup in as little as a few minutes, while others seamlessly transfer to bank accounts. Sending money through PayPal or your bank is also an option, but you’ll typically face higher fees and weaker exchange rates when going that route.
Digital money transfer services
Companies like Currencies Direct specialize in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s Jamaican bank account, often in as little as a day or two.
Services like MoneyGram and Western Union allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in Jamaica— often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money to Jamaica, you’ll pay for the convenience in weak exchange rates and high fees.
Jamaican dollars are not a popular currency, but your local bank may be able to exchange them. If your bank supports Jamaican dollars, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options when sending a wire transfer to Jamaica.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending R5,000 to Jamaica
Let’s say you need to send R5,000 to family in Jamaica. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of October 5, 2020.
|Digital money transfer service||Cash transfer||Bank transfer|
|Fee||R0||R75||R250 + additional correspondent bank fees|
|Exchange rate||1 ZAR = 8.49 JMD||1 ZAR = 8.51 JMD||1 ZAR = 8.48 JMD|
|Transfer speed||1-2 day||Minutes||2-5 days|
|Amount received||JMD 42,450||JMD 41,911.75||JMD 40,280|
The bank option ends up being both the slowest and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient in Jamaica. If you go with the digital money transfer service, your recipient ends up with JMD 2,170 more than the bank offers. If speed is crucial, a cash transfer can typically have your transfer to Jamaica in as little as 15 minutes, just make sure there is a cash pickup location near your recipient before sending.
How to send money to Jamaica online
Sign up and send money to Jamaica with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
- Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and preferred payment method.
- Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If transferring to a bank, you’ll need their Jamaican bank account details.
- Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
- Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to Jamaica. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.
What are the ways that I can send money to Jamaica
- Bank transfers. Many major SA banks will allow you to send money to Jamaica.
- Money transfer providers. Providers like Wise can help you quickly and easily transfer your money online.
- Providers with cash pickup. Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to send funds for cash pickup at agent locations.
- PayPal. Electronic payment giant PayPal allows you to send money from South Africa to Jamaica.
How to get the most out of your money transfer to Jamaica
Weigh costs and fees against convenience to learn how to compare money transfer providers that send money to Jamaica to best meet your needs:
- Exchange rates. The ZAR-JMD relationship fluctuates often, so using a service that allows you to lock-in exchange prices may help you save money down the line if the Jamaican dollar rises against the SA rand.
- Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger ZAR-JMD exchange rate.
- Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the number of Jamaican dollars you’re sending to Jamaica.
- Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to Jamaica.
- Sending limits. Comparing prices for one large transfer instead of many small transfers is typically easier, so picking the service you use based on how much you’re sending is a valid strategy for saving money.
- Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a Jamaican bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.
Emergency cash transfer
When urgency trumps cost to get your money to Jamaica quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes. You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees are higher than other methods.
How to send money to Jamaica without a bank account
Cash transfer services can help you if you’re unbanked or marginally banked. If you don’t have a bank account, look for a local company that supports storefronts for cash payments. These services include agent locations in other countries that allow your recipient to pick up cash without a bank account.
Jamaica’s exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency, in this case how many Jamaican dollars your South African rands are worth when you send money to Jamaica. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weaker currency. Jamaica’s exchange rate is flexible compared to the SA rand. Because both are relatively stable currencies, the ZAR-JMD relationship typically doesn’t make sharp movements. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Track how the Jamaican dollar trades against the SA rand in our historical rate chart.
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in Jamaica
To send money to Jamaica from SA, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in Jamaica may be different by company.
Documents to send money from South Africa
To send money to Jamaica from SA, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
- Identification. Most services require a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID.
- Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash or bank accounts.
- Recipient information. Submit your recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number, Jamaican bank account and routing number.
Documents to receive money in Jamaica
To pick up money in person, documentation can include:
- Transfer number. The person sending you money can forward the transfer’s confirmation details — called a PIN, a MTCN, a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
- Government-issued ID. A Jamaican Passport, Jamaican ID or similar official ID may be required to pick up your transfer.
- Amount sent. You may need to know how much was sent, usually within 10% of the total.
- Sender’s information. Take along your sender’s full name, the sending country and their address, if known.
What to watch out for
Sending money to Jamaican relatives or family members in Jamaica may be subject to taxes on the money transfer, but it depends on how much you send. Most money transfers between South Africa and Jamaica shouldn’t have any specific tax obligations attached to them, so long as they are for personal use and kept under R1 million rand. Any amount above that will have to be approved by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) first.
Sending your hard-earned money to Jamaica shouldn’t cost a fortune. Compare money transfer companies that specialize in foreign transactions for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.
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