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Send Money To Cuba

Sending money to Cuba is much the same as sending money anywhere else, but on average fewer options are available due to restrictions on transactions into the country.  When considering how to send money to Cuba, it’s crucial to know which options are best, and for the most part, the available transfer services are pretty affordable and efficient.

Updated: 19/04/2022
Read time: 20 minutes
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Understanding the Currency in Cuba

It should be noted that the currency exchange situation in Cuba is different from most other countries, and as a result, how you will send money into the country will differ. Cuba has two official currencies: the Cuban Peso (CUP), a closed currency, meaning it is not open for exchange in the international market. So you can only access it inside Cuba. The other Cuban official currency, the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), is tied to the exact value of the American Dollar (USD), as it is meant to be used by tourists in Cuba.

Both of these currencies are considered legal tender inside Cuba, although there are many abnormalities surrounding how they are used within the Cuban economy. For your typical money transfer to Cuba, your money will be converted from your current local currency to the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC). To convert money into CUP is impossible outside of Cuba, even in the case of an online money transfer.

How To Send Money to Cuba

Sending money to Cuba is as simple as in other locations, but we understand it can be tricky for newcomers. This section outlines the steps you need to follow for completing a money transfer to Cuba.

Step 1

Find a Trusted Provider

Our comparison table for sending money to internationally looks at your specific transfer needs to and from any country in the world. Use this to find a provider that provides the best all-round service for you.
Step 2

Register with your chosen provider

Most providers will be completely free to sign up to, simply requiring your name, address and contact information. In most cases, you’ll also need to upload a picture of a valid photo ID to verify your identity.
Step 3

Transfer Money

As soon as you're ready, you can start sending money online.

Ways To Send And Receive Money In Cuba

Sending Money to Cuba
Receiving Money in Cuba

Ways to send money to Cuba

There are several ways to send money to Cuba, which gives you freedom of choice. However, you should be aware that many money transfer services do not operate in Cuba because of restrictions. 

Bank transfers: you can send bank transfers to Cuba, and you should expect to pay around $20-50 per transfer. This is significantly higher than what most money transfer services charge. Also, bank transfers from the United States to Cuba are not allowed. That is because US and Cuban banks are not permitted to do business. The most popular Cuban banks include Banco Internacional de Comercio, Banco Metropolitano, Banco Nacional de Cuba and Banco Popular de Ahorro. 

The transfer speed of money transfers via banks is usually around 2-7 business days. This is a slow processing time compared with the speed of specialist money transfer services like Wise

Cash pickup: services like Western Union allow the sender to make a payment using cash pickup services. This means the recipient can get physical cash without accessing a bank account. It is an option that many senders find useful for sending money to family and friends in Cuba from abroad. 

Money transfers services: sending money with money transfer services is fast and convenient. The registration process of signing up with a new service can be done online and usually takes just 5 minutes. In most cases, the speed of transfers with specialist transfer companies can be instant to 24 hours. 

The competitive FX rates and low fee structure are among the top reasons to choose money transfer companies. In addition, they match the mid-market rate for many currency pairs, which gives you a better deal than most banks. 

Debit card: making payments with a debit card is one of the fastest methods of sending money to Cuba. There is a fee of 1.5-3% for debit card transfers, but you may want to consider this option because of the transfer limitations that exist in Cuba. Card payments are accessible to most people since nearly everyone has a MasterCard or Visa card. 

Mobile app: sending money with a mobile app is widely available. Visit Google Play or the App Store to determine if your bank or specialist transfer provider offers an app. Next, inspect the app’s feature list to figure out if international money transfers are available. Sending money from the convenience of a mobile device means you can manage finances while traveling. 

How to send money to Cuba

This section provides methods of how you can send money to Cuba. However, keep in mind that these are just a few examples, and in reality, you will have access to multiple other methods of sending money. 

  • Account top-up: you may need to up your digital account before sending money to a specialist transfer provider. Therefore, to avoid topping up before every transfer, you can keep money in your account for future use. Note that not all money transfer services allow you to hold money with them. Some are limited to only acting as a way of sending money. 
  • Mobile app: transferring funds with a mobile app is an intuitive and fast process for most money transfer services. You can log into the app with the same credentials as a browser. In addition, you can set up security protocols to keep your account safe. These include 2-factor authentication, PIN, fingerprint, and facial recognition. Most app designs minimize the number of button presses required to execute a transfer. 
  • Phone call: setting up a money transfer via phone call is slower than online options, but it is an alternative when you do not have access to the internet. To complete a transfer, you will need to provide your account details, the amount you wish to send, and recipient information. 

What is needed to send money to Cuba?

To send money to Cuba without setbacks, you need to have the correct information. You need specific details depending on the money transfer methods and your chosen service. 

Bank transfers require the most details, so they are slower than alternatives. In most cases, you need to share the account number, bank name, SWIFT code, routing number, recipient name, currency, and the amount you wish to send. You may find that the details autofill when you send money to the same recipient more than once. 

If you are sending money via cash pick up, you may need to specify the branch where the recipient needs to collect money. Also, you will need the recipient’s name and share the transaction number once the payment has been completed. In most cases, the funds will be available for pick up instantly after the sender has made payment. 

Consider using money transfer companies to reduce complexity. They can be set up to only need the recipient’s email to complete the transfer. These services require the fewest details, which means that sending money regularly is efficient. 

Things To Consider When Sending Money to Cuba

You may want to send money to Cuba for many different reasons. You need to be aware of separate considerations for each reason to get the best deal. We hope you find it useful to help you send money to Cuba without problems. 

Expats

Expats that travel to Cuba may want to receive money from friends and family in case of emergencies. This section outlines a few considerations that must be made when sending money to expats in Cuba. 

  • Fees: reducing fees when sending money internationally can be tricky if you do not know where to get a good deal. Money transfer services have lower overheads than banks, so they are an excellent place to start looking for lower charges. It ensures the recipient gets more of the original amount of money sent. 
  • Taxes: there are no taxes to pay for sending or receiving money in Cuba as a gift transfer. However, recipients may want to hire the services of a local tax accountant to ensure they understand the laws surrounding international money transfers. 
  • Transfer time: when expats need funds in emergencies, it is crucial to reduce transfer time. Bank transfers take the longest at around 2-7 business days. Therefore, you need to choose faster services like Western Union. These allow for same-day transfers, which is handy when time is an essential factor. They have over 400 locations in
    Cuba, which means getting to one should not be a problem. 

Overseas Weddings

Cuba is a beautiful country, so it would be a nice place to have wedding photos. But, unfortunately, there are a lot of payments to make when setting up a large wedding. The expenses you need to pay to depend on the complexity of the requirements and the number of guests attending. 

  • Transfer time: booking wedding venues and catering companies in advance is the best way to ensure that you get the best deal. Therefore, funds need to arrive in the country as fast as possible. Opting for fast money transfer companies is your best bet for reducing the transfer time.
  • Charges: you will get charged for international money transfers, and there is no way around it. However, you can reduce them by comparing your options and choosing the most competitive one. For example, money transfer services like Western Union offer competitive fees for sending money to Cuba. 
  • Transfer cap: you may want to send a large amount of money to Cuba if you are paying for an expensive wedding. Make sure the method you have selected does not have low transfer caps. 

Buying Real Estate

Cuba has lovely properties by the ocean that you can invest in for the future. It is illegal for foreigners to buy real estate in Cuba. However, many people invest in real estate through 3rd parties. Here is what you should consider when purchasing real estate in Cuba. 

  • Fees: you will need to send large amounts of money to pay for real estate. Therefore, you need to choose a payment method where the fees do not scale with the transfer amount. Fixed fees ensure that you get a good deal for large international money transfers to Cuba. Some services have capped percentage-based fees, which are also applicable for sending large sums of money. 
  • Transfer cap: to pay for real estate with low transfer caps means you need to make several payments. The fees may stack with this approach, which is not ideal. Instead, find a money transfer company with high fees caps that accommodate sending large amounts of money. 
  • Taxes: you need to learn the tax laws in Cuba regarding buying real estate. This ensures that there is no liability legally and unforeseen charges do not have to be paid. Hiring a local tax accountant can help you understand what you might owe to the Cuban government when buying real estate. 

Salary

You can receive your salary from abroad when living in Cuba. It is excellent for freelancers that prefer to look for work internationally and enjoy the Cuban lifestyle. Here is what you should consider when receiving your salary from abroad in Cuba. 

  • Fees: to ensure that you get most of your salary without high fees, you need to consider the transfer method carefully. You may want to opt for methods that have a long transfer time but offer lower fees. Also, look for services that match the mid-market rate for currency conversions. 
  • Taxes: most countries worldwide will tax you on income – even if it comes from abroad. Learning the local tax laws regarding income is a smart idea to avoid legal trouble with the Cuban government. We advise that you seek professional legal advice from a tax accountant to ensure the appropriate taxes are paid. 
  • Convenience: choose a money transfer method that offers efficiency and convenience since you will likely receive a regular salary. This means the user interface should be responsive and easy to navigate. Also, a mobile app is handy to manage your finances while on the move. 

Business

There are a few options to receive business money in Cuba. To avoid stunting your business growth, choosing a reliable money transfer company is vital. Also, having a few backup options is handy when the primary one is no longer viable. 

  • Transfer caps: you may need to send a large amount of money to pay for inventory and pay suppliers. Therefore, you need access to a transfer service with high caps. The transfer caps should be much higher than you need right now since your business may grow, and the requirements will change. 
  • Processing speed: cash flow is important to maintaining business health. You need to pay for new inventory in time so that you do not go out of stock. Therefore, choose a money transfer service that offers fast processing speeds. Some allow you to receive money instantly or wait up to 24 hours. 
  • Taxes: most countries tax business income on profits made. Organizing your paperwork for business-related money transfers is critical to ensure that taxes can be completed without problems. Take the time to research the local tax laws in Cuba or outsource the work to a competent tax accountant. 

Pension

Pensioners who choose to retire in Cuba will want to receive money on time reliably. In the section below, we will outline what you should keep in mind when trying to get a better deal for international money transfers

  • Fees: to get a good deal on pension transfers, you need to choose the proper fee structure for the amount you are sending. For example, if your pension income is low, you might want to opt for a percentage-based fee format. 
  • Taxes: in many countries, pension income is considered the same as money earned from working. Therefore, you may have to pay taxes on pension money. To simplify the process of understanding your tax obligations in Cuba, hire a local tax accountant. 
  • Transfer time: you may need to receive pension money quickly to pay for living costs. Therefore, find money transfer services with same-day processing speeds. This ensures you do not have to wait for multiple days to get your hand on the money. 

Benefits of Using Money Transfer Companies

There are many good reasons to use money transfer companies compared to banks. This section helps you understand why switching to specialist transfer alternatives will save you money and time and provide a better overall experience. 

  • Lower fees: money transfer services can provide competitive fee structures because they have lower overheads than banks. Also, there are many transfer providers that are competing for new customers, so reducing fees is part of their game plan. You should look through our money transfer comparison engine to find the companies that offer the lowest fees for sending money internationally. 
  • Transfer times: The faster transfer times of specialist transfer companies are perfect when the recipient needs funds quickly in case of an emergency. You can enjoy speeds of instant to 24 hours, which is faster than what banks can offer. If there are setbacks with processing speed, then you are usually promptly informed with a notification system. 
  • FX rates: when converting currencies, it is possible to lose a lot of money if you get poor currency conversion rates. Many money transfer services can match mid-market rates, so you are getting a better deal than what most banks offer. Also, transparent companies like Xe Money Transfer allow you to view the live rates on the homepage for comparison purposes. 
  • Mobile app: many money transfer services provide an intuitive mobile app with an easy-to-use user interface. This allows you to send money within just a few taps of the screen. Also, those apps come with security protocols that enable you to protect your account from unwanted users. 
  • Choice: overall, money transfer companies provide more choice. There are several payment and cash-out options that you can use to meet your preferences. Also, there are so many specialist transfer providers that everyone can find a match. In the next section, we provide the top money transfer companies you can use in Cuba. 

Top Companies for Sending Money to Cuba

Cuba has restrictions that have caused many money transfer companies to avoid the country altogether. This means you have a limited choice compared to most other countries in the world. On the other hand, this makes the decision easier since you can only choose from one of 2 companies. Below is an overview of both services to help you decide between them. 

Western Union

Western Union is a well-established money transfer service that also operates in Cuba. You can use the company to receive a cash pick-up from over 400 locations in the country. Also, they provide a convenient mobile app that enables you to manage your finances while out and about. 

The 24/7 customer service of Western Union allows customers to get help when they need it most. Support is available using live chat, email, and phone. They are a trusted brand with over 170 years of experience under their belt. 

Small World 

Small World is the other money transfer service that facilitates international money transfers to Cuba. They are a UK-based company that is available in over 190 countries around the world. Their mobile app is available on Google Play and the App Store. 

Fast transfers are one of Small World’s advantages, and they have several payout options. They include mobile wallets, pick-up locations, cash cards, and bank accounts. Therefore, you can use this company as an intermediary for getting funds to your Cuban bank account. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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Current Exchange Rates for Cuba
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Jonathan Merry

Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com