Bangladesh is one of the most populated countries in the world, 164.7 million people (2017 estimates). The country has struggled with poverty, a factor that has led to many Bangladesh nationals to move to other countries. The estimated population of Bangladeshi diaspora is 7.5 million.
In 2018, Bangladesh ranked the ninth highest recipient of remittances according to a World Bank report. The Bangladeshi diaspora sent home $15.9 billion. This record inflow made Bangladesh the third-highest recipient in South Asia after India ($79.5 billion) and Pakistan ($20.9 billion).
Bangladeshis overseas, many of whom live in Saudi Arabia (1,005,000), United Arab Emirates (700,000), and the United Kingdom (450,000), have been using different methods to send money home. Not all of these methods are efficient, cost-effective or safe.
The sections below will help you know the different ways of sending money to Bangladesh, the information required to send and receive, the benefits of using money transfer services and the specific things to look at when sending to Bangladesh.
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There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in Bangladesh but these will largely depend on the provider you decide to use. Below you will find everything you need to know about sending and receiving money.
The Bangladeshi diaspora has been using both formal and informal methods to send money home. Banks are the dominant players with a 2010 International Organization for Migration (IOM) report showing that 74 per cent of recorded remittances came through the banking system.
Money transfer service providers have also been gaining ground in the different remittance corridors to Bangladesh. In September 2011, the central bank of Bangladesh (Bangladesh Bank) issued guidelines on Mobile Financial Services for Banks. This move added another legal layer to the existing Money Laundering Prevention Act 2002 and the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act of 1947.
As it stands today, the following are the formal ways of sending money to Bangladesh as authorised by the Bangladesh Bank.
The banking industry in Bangladesh comprises state-owned banks, private commercial banks and foreign-controlled banks giving a total of 59 scheduled banking institutions. According to the 2017 Global Findex report, 65 per cent of adult males and 35 per cent of adult females have bank accounts. This improvement means that many of them can receive bank transfers directly to their accounts.
Starting in June 2018, banks in Bangladesh were able to transact faster on the internet through online banking. However, to go down this route, banks have to register on the National Payment Switch Bangladesh (NPSB) managed by the Bangladesh Bank.
The time it takes to send through wire transfers depends on the source country. It can take anywhere between 2 to 7 business days. The cost of sending money through bank-to-bank wire transfers can also be prohibitive because of intermediary banks.
Money transfers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to Bangladesh have traditionally been through banks. However, money transfer service providers such as MoneyGram, Western Union, Xpress Money, TeeMoney, Xoom, WorldRemit, TransferWise and others, are now becoming dominant.
These providers guarantee fast, cost-effective, and secure transfers to Bangladesh. Signing up for transfer accounts is very simple and fast. You’ll need your name, email address and phone number to register an account. Once set up, you can pay for your transfer using a debit, credit card, bank transfer or bank debit.
Most of the providers allow you to send money through their websites and downloadable mobile apps. You can also deposit money from a store and send your loved ones. Western Union allows you to start the process online and complete it from a store.
The following are the options you have for sending money through money transfer operators (MTOs).
Bank Transfer – You can send money through the MTO-to-bank platform. This method is the perfect alternative to bank-to-bank transfers. It is faster, more secure and less costly. TransferWise officially launched transfers to Bangladesh Taka (BDT) on May 2016. It takes anywhere from 2 to 3 days for most transfers from providers such as WorldRemit, Xpress Money, Xoom, Western Union and MoneyGram to reach Bangladesh.
Cash Pickup – This is one of the most preferred ways of sending money to Bangladesh. Every provider has a payout-network that brings together agents you can send money for collection. For instance, Worldremit works with Bangladesh banks such as Dutch Bangla Bank, Brac Bank, Social Islami Bank, Agrani Bank, Bank Asia and many others. Xoom has 6,100 locations all over the country you can send your loved ones money for pick up. The money gets delivered in minutes or under an hour.
Mobile Money – The convenience that comes with transfers directly to mobile phones is unbeatable. Even people in rural Bangladesh with no access to formal banking services can receive money on their mobiles. WorldRemit is connected with mobile financial services such as bKash and Rocket to help you send money swiftly to your family back at home.
In July 2019, Padma Bank signed an agreement with Transfast to allow Bangladeshis abroad to send money home through the bank’s 57 branches. If you are a first-timer, some providers may give you discounts or cost-free sending offers.
With the various ways of sending money as seen above, each provider has its requirements. There is some information you will be requested to provide to ensure a smooth transfer to your loved ones.
You may be asked to provide more information if the amount you are sending or the frequency proves suspicious to the authorities. However, this is very rare.
A study looking at 84 migrant households in Bangladesh shows that loan repayment, household consumption, investment, exchange rate leverage, and social contributions are some of the common reasons for remittances to Bangladesh.
Over 50 per cent of remittances to Bangladesh targets low-income households mostly in rural areas. The money received helps in supplementing household income and buying necessities such as food.
The process of relocating abroad is usually an expensive endeavour. Family members and friends give their contributions to ensure a successful journey and resettlement abroad. Part of the remittances back home are used to offset debts and other credit strains. Some of the debts could be historical, taken during times of hardship.
Some of the Bangladeshi abroad may have intentions of coming back home permanently someday. Investments are intended to create a soft landing for such migrants and to give their families a reliable source of income in case remittances fail. Investments could be in real estate, financial assets or business.
Education in Bangladesh is free and compulsory for the first 12 years of learning. That said, private learning institutions usually give a much better quality of education than the public system. This phenomenon makes Bangladeshis in the diaspora to send money home to help their families access quality private school education.
Apart from mainstream reasons, there are social reasons for sending money home. Festivals such as Eid-Ul-Fitr, Eid-Ul-Azha, Pahela Baishakh, and Durga Puja involve expenditures often financed through remittances. Weddings and social development initiatives are also some of the reasons diaspora Bangladeshis send money home.
There is a gradual shift in allegiance from banks to money transfer service providers for the millions of Bangladeshi diaspora. There are many reasons for this phenomenon. Some of them include:
When sending money to your loved ones in Bangladesh, there are considerations you have to make. Some of them are:
With all the incentives in place, various channels of sending money, and the minimal requirements to send and receive money in Bangladesh, there is no reason why you should not take the advantage to build your investments and care for your loved ones.
The fastest way to transfer funds to Bangladesh is through Transfast’s fast option. Keep in mind that you must choose their fast option, otherwise, your money will take 3-5 days to arrive.
With Transfast’s fast option, you can expect your money to reach its Bangladeshi destination in a matter of minutes. Their rates are on the lower end of the spectrum as well.
The cheapest way to send cash online to Bangladesh is through Klinnk. Klinnk has a very small upfront stated fee, but they are one of the very few options which do not add hidden currency conversion costs.
When you compare the cost of Klinnk with other very cheap competition, such as Lucky Money and Transfast, you end up paying less.
The easiest way to send funds to Bangladesh is through TransferWise. TransferWise makes it very easy to transfer funds to Bangladesh with a three-step process. First, you tap in the amount of money you need to send, then you tap a destination. Once you make those selections, all you need to do is pay TransferWise, and your money should arrive at its Bangladeshi destination in a day or two.
The current exchange rate for the Bangladeshi Taka (BDT) is 84.7952 BDT per American Dollar (USD) as of the time this was written. The BDT reached a high of 84.9162 BDT per USD, and a low of 83.7345 BDT per USD during the last 90 days. The average exchange rate over the last 90 days was 84.6492 BDT per USD.
The average volatility of the BDT against the USD was 0.24% over the last 90 days. This is a not a particularly volatile currency, although the BDT has been somewhat less stable in the recent past. You can reasonably expect minor but sporadic fluctuations to continue going forward, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
The overall best way to transfer money online to Bangladesh is through Transfast, with the fast option. While the company’s fast service charges a moderately ranged upfront fee, all of the cheaper options are significantly cheaper. The end result is a much more well-rounded offer, making Tranfast’s fast option the overall best way to send money online to Bangladesh.
Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to Bangladesh. If you're looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.