If you live abroad, the need for you to send money back home to Africa may arise every now and then. With the numerous options at your disposal with which to do so, it may be a little confusing to make a choice.

You may like to consider how much it’ll cost you or how long it’ll take to help you choose what transfer service to use.

To answer all of your questions and outline some of your best options, here’s a guide to help you decide on the best way to send money to Africa.

We’ll start by answering some of the frequently asked questions regarding money transfer to Africa.

While a lot of people tend to believe that bank transfers are the safest way to go, the truth is that there are so many other ways to send money to Africa that are much cheaper and more convenient. Find out more as you read on.

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What is international money transfer?

International money transfer entails conveying funds between persons or companies overseas. The conventional way to do this would be a bank transfer, but there are now several specialized money transfer service platforms. Most of these transactions occur via SWIFT or Peer-to-peer (P2P) which come with improved speed and security and lowered fees.

How much does it cost to send money to Africa?

The cost of a transfer is based on the platform used, the country from or to which the money is being sent, and the mode of payment (cash, debit or credit card etc.). Exchange rates also affect the cost of money transfer to Africa. The best rates are normally gotten from platforms that take an across-the-board flat fee, like you’ll see later.

What factors affect the cost of money transfer to Africa?

The major factors to be considered in deciding what method to use in sending money to Africa include:

  • Exchange rate

As earlier stated, exchange rates between currencies affect how much a transfer will cost. Some new policies have been implemented to ensure that banks don’t charge at overestimated rates. Still, you need to verify that you’re getting the best rates when you send money to Africa. Firstly, confirm the exchange rate online, then put calls through to various credit unions and banks. If the rates don’t match, go with the one that best suits you and the recipient.

  • Amount being transferred

There are platforms that will be more favorable for you if you’re sending a small amount of money. For larger sums, you should be using a platform with a specialty for bigger, business transfers. For huge amounts, you should neglect using banks as they charge heavily for such transfers.

  • Transfer fees

You should check to see the banks, companies or platforms that offer the best fees. Also, it helps to determine the urgency and necessity for a speedy transfer. If you need to send a huge amount for an emergency, paying transfer fees will be worth the trouble. However, if you’re sending a small amount perhaps as a gift, you should consider using a much cheaper but slower means, like the mail.

Why use a specialized money transfer service?

Specialist transfer services have the advantage that they:

  • Specialize in transferring money

Money transfers are what money transfer companies do for a living. Thus, they strive to make sure that their fees are attractive and that they offer the best exchange rates. They also have experience on their side to guarantee that you get a stress-free experience and the best value for your money.

  • Save time

Bank transfers are great, but there is the time you take being physically present at your local branch and filling out piles of paperwork before your wire transfer is in order. Money transfer companies are out to do all the work and ensure that the whole process can be safely concluded online, usually within a matter of minutes.

  • Save money

With bank wire transfers, you’ll probably not be getting the most competitive exchange rates and the charges will be quite high. As we’ve established, money transfer companies provide the best fees and exchange rates and ensure that you save a lot of money as compared to banks.

How do I compare or choose money transfer services?

There are countless options nowadays, which might make it a bit tough to decide on the best way to send money to Africa. To ease your choice, you should be on the lookout for:

  • Safety and security

There are a number of governing bodies that regulate online money transfer platforms including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in Australia, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the US, to mention but a few. Ensure that the company you choose is properly regulated.

  • Exchange rate

Rates are probably the most important determinant in your choice, and the larger the amount being sent, the more important the exchange rate. Even a small difference in rate can often result in huge savings or losses, so watch out for the cheapest way to send money to Africa.

  • Transfer fees

The amount that the company charges per transfer matters a great deal as well. Some services offer flat rates while others charge a fixed percentage of the amount being sent. Sometimes, the fee may depend on the method of transfer. It will generally cost more to transfer via credit card. It’s usually best to transfer via your bank account. Some services may even make this kind of transfer for free. Also make sure to find out if there are any added fees tacked on and exactly what the recipient will be getting at the end of the day.

  • Speed

The length of time it takes for the money to reach the recipient’s account is also of the essence. Transfer times with specialist services normally range between a few minutes to a few working days. Based on your needs, you should choose a method with tolerable transfer speed to your destination country in Africa.

  • User-friendliness

Services that are quick and uncomplicated are much easier to use, especially if you’re to be making regular transfers. Find out if it is possible to cancel transfers should the need arise, and what time window you have to do that. Great customer support is also key. Make sure you check customer reviews as well to get a feel of what others think about the safety and reliability of the service.

All of the platforms that we suggest have been vetted based on the above factors and found to be exceptional in their customer service.

What are some of the money transfer services that i can trust for money transfer to Africa?

There are quite a number of money transfer services, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Hence, it’s difficult to determine the absolute best way to send money to Africa. Nonetheless, here are 4 of the more common means that you can use to send money to Africa.

  • Western Union

Western Union is one of the more popular money transfer services, especially for those living in the US. It operates in over 200 nations worldwide, with over 550,000 locations across the globe.

The service provides same- or next-day delivery, but they charge extra for this as it isn’t their usual way. Also, Western Union generally has expensive rates. While the transfer fees may be no more than $5, the exchange rates can be inflated by more than 6%.

Nonetheless, the pros usually outweigh the cons especially for transfers to relatively obscure countries. Its profusion of locations and the option to receive cash in person, combined with its repute, make Western Union a popular choice.

  • MoneyGram

Very similar to Western Union, MoneyGram is also one of the most widely used modes of money transfer in the US. It boasts over 350,000 locations spread across more than 200 nations around the world.

Most MoneyGram transfers arrive on the very same day or on the next business day. However, there is a transfer limit of $6,000 and a monthly limit of the same amount. And owing to its speed and wide reach, MoneyGram is quite expensive with markups sometimes reaching 3%.

Like Western Union, one great advantage of MoneyGram is the possibility of people without bank accounts physically receiving the cash that has been sent to them at onsite locations.

  • WorldRemit

WorldRemit allows money to be sent to more than 140 nations from more than 50 nations across the globe. The associated transfer fees and exchange rates are reasonable and competitive. Also, WorldRemit allows for payments to be made from sources like Apple Pay, Google Pay, IDEAL, Trustly, bank accounts, credit, debit and prepaid cards, and others.

WorldRemit also offers some really progressive methods of receipt including cash pickup, airtime top-ups, door-to-door payment and mobile methods in the form of a digital wallet similar to PayPal.

  • TransferWise

TransferWise has only 12 offices around the world, but is operational in 59 nations. Its fees are normally low, sometimes as low as $1 plus 10% of the amount being transferred. Low fees make TransferWise one of the best transfer options for small amounts of money. For transfers above $10,000, TransferWise may not be the best.

There are also no hidden charges with TransferWise. It is an extremely straightforward and clear platform. It allows money to be sent via direct wire transfers for up to $1,000,000. Credit and debit cards, Apple Pay and ACH bank transfers are also enabled by TransferWise.

TransferWise offers same- and next-day transfers to Africa, but these may not be available for every transaction. The greatest advantage of the platform is that it uses the official exchange rates stipulated by the government and adjusts its rates as rates change. Thus, their rates are never inflated.

Aside from these 4 there are several other money transfer to Africa apps and platforms including:

  • XE Money Transfer
  • OFX
  • TorFX
  • WorldFirst
  • CurrencyFair
  • CurrenciesDirect
  • PaySend
  • Rewire
  • Azimo
  • Travelex
  • RIA
  • Remitly

Each of these comes with its own perks and shortcomings. Ensure to conduct a thorough research into the various pluses and limitations of all your options, based on all that has been discussed, before you decide.