Sending money to Cuba is in many ways much the same as sending money anywhere else. There are fewer options available to you if you want to send funds to Cuba, but many of those that are available are quite affordable and efficient.
It should be noted that the currency exchange situation in Cuba is different from most other countries. Cuba has two official currencies, one of which is the Cuban Peso (CUP), which is a closed currency, meaning it is not open for exchange in the international market and 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, the money you send 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.
The currency exchange rate for the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) is at any given moment the exact same as the exchange rate for the American Dollar (USD). For a point of reference, we will use the Euro.
The exchange rate is 1.1091 CUC per Euro (EUR). The average exchange rate was 1.1229 CUC per EUR over the last 90 days. With the high being 1.1400 per EUR and low 1.1071 EUR for the past 3 months.
The volatility of the CUC against the Euro was 0.29% over the last 90 days. Perhaps because the CUC is attached to the USD, this is a very low volatility rate. The CUC has fluctuated against the EUR only mildly over the last two years. You can reasonably expect exchange rates to continue to fluctuate only mildly, barring unforeseen circumstances.
The downside to Western Union’s fast service is that it is among the most expensive options.
The cheapest way to transfer funds to Cuba is by sending a prepaid debit card. This is both cheap and easy to do relative to the other options for sending money. Many of the bigger money transfer services are either not available in Cuba or are too bogged down by the unique challenges of international money transfers going into Cuba.
That being said, you can recharge the debit card that you send to Cuba rather easily should you need to. Many of the companies that you would normally use when sending funds to Cuba will offer services for recharging said debit card.
As mentioned, sending a debit card to Cuba is easier than most alternatives. Debit cards offer a lower cost, they are quick to be recharged, and most importantly, they save you many headaches.
The main caveat with sending money to Cuba via a rechargeable debit card is that it is less secure than other options. Fortunately, you can check publications such as World Report, which regularly compare the best and worst debit cards you can purchase.
The overall best way to transfer money to Cuba is via an e-transfer. Some banks allow you to conduct e-transfers to Cuba at a much lower rate than traditional bank transfers. While sending a prepaid debit card to Cuba is very popular, for the reasons listed above, it is safer and simpler to conduct an e-transfer. The costs of sending a debit card are comparable to e-transfer costs, albeit oftentimes more expensive. For the sake of security and ease of use, we recommend you look for a bank that allows e-transfers to Cuba.