Diaspora remittance in the Gambia is the third-largest contributor to the economy following agriculture and tourism. In 2018, the country received $244 million in personal transfers which included cash and in-kind remittances. Due to the significance of the inflows as a percentage of the GDP, Gambia established The Gambia Diaspora Directorate among other mechanisms to regulate immigration processes and the well being of the Gambians abroad.
If you live outside the Gambia and ySending Money To The GambiaSending Money To The Gambiaou want to send money into the country, there are several channels you can use including banks and money transfer operators. However, these channels differ in the cost of remittances, the exchange rates they offer, and the delivery times.
It is therefore important that you consider the entire spectrum of providers, their characteristics, and suitability to your transfer needs. This guide will spotlight some of the areas you need to consider when transferring money to the Gambia. It will look at the channels available, the advantages of money transfer providers, and the information needed to send and receive money.
Sending money to the Gambia is simple and easy. Follow these steps to get started.
There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in the Gambia 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.
Making a transfer to the Gambia can be simple if you find the right channel to send money into the country. There are various options available the top of which are discussed below.
Most of the transfers to the Gambia come from Europe, the United States, Nigeria, and Senegal. If you live in any of these countries, you could use your bank to transfer money to your family and friends in the Gambia. For instance, if you are sending money from the UK, you could use EcoBank to transfer money into the country.
Using a bank that has a presence in both the host and destination countries can be advantageous as it reduces the cost of sending and ensures your transfer arrives faster. Banks such as the Standard Chartered Bank, First International Bank, Prime Bank, Zenith Bank, and International Commercial Bank are some of the top 14 banks in the country that you can transfer to.
Most bank transfers cost anywhere between $30 and $40 per transaction and the exchange rates are marked up to about 5 to 7%. When you add these costs to the time it takes to deliver your transfer, you may find it worthwhile to consider other options such as online money transfer.
Money transfer companies such as Xendpay, WorldRemit, Transferwise, Azimo, and YaYeh Instant Services are some of the commonly used providers to the Gambia. They give you an easy way to send money as all you need is to sign up for a money transfer account and pay for your transfer.
Depending on the provider you choose, you can pay for your transfer in any of the following ways.
The online money transfer services support a number of payout options such as:
Some providers such as YaYeh Instant Services, WorldRemit and Xoom can also top up the recipients’ prepaid phones with airtime.
Transfer fees are usually minimal. For instance, when sending $1,000 to the Gambia, you will pay only $4.99 in fees if you use a bank account to fund your transfer. This is way cheaper than the $40 t6hat banks charge. Delivery times can range from instant to about 3 days.
Money transfer operators like Western Union, MoneyGram, Small World, Dahabshiil, and Ria offer agent-based cash transfers to the Gambia. This means you have to get to the store for you to send the money. Ria, MoneyGram, and Western Union also have internet-based sending platforms you can use.
MoneyGram gives you one of the best transfer deals in this category. Sending 1,000 GBP will cost you only 3.99 GBP in transfer fees. Western Union and MoneyGram also have mobile apps you can use to transfer money on the go.
The information you need to successfully send money to the Gambia is:
When using online money transfer, most of this information will be asked for when setting up your account. Thereafter, only the payment and payout methods and the recipient information will be asked. When you are transferring to the same person, some providers have a quick send option where you don’t need to fill any detail.
There are several ways beneficiaries can choose to receive their money in the country.
Bank Deposit – Money transfer providers have agreements with banks to which they deposit funds directly so that the recipient can access them. If you are receiving large sums of money, using a bank transfer is the best option.
Cash Pickup – Providers have several cash pickup locations where senders can elect to have their transfers delivered. Most of these pickup locations are in banks, fuel stations, and shopping malls. Xoom has 603 locations in the country with Zenith Bank having the most pickup locations (194). WorldRemit has 4 pickup agents: CashMinute, First International Bank, Reliance, Yonna Foreign Exchange, and MSJ Bureau de Exchange.
Mobile Deposit- If you use YaYeh Instant Services, you can choose QMoney mobile wallet deposit. The recipient will get the cash in their mobile phones and choose to pay bills or withdraw it and transact in cash.
Mobile wallet deposits and direct to bank transfers do not require you to do anything unless you are making a withdrawal. However, for cash pickups, there is some information you’ll need to provide.
Gambians in the diaspora send money in varying amounts and frequency to support different causes back home. Some of the reasons for sending money home include:
Most Gambians send money to support their families back home. Families living in the North Bank, Lower River and Upper River Divisions are among the most financially dependent hence diaspora remittances play a key role in sustaining families here.
Gambians in the diaspora are slowly rethinking of building their lives and those of their families back home. After the political unrest, many of them are now sending money home to invest in savings vehicles, the real estate sector, and other productive areas of the economy.
The lower standard of living that most families in the Gambia find themselves in has affected even their ability to send their children to good schools. It takes remittances from siblings and relatives in the diaspora to keep children in school.
The main goal why Gambians leave the country is in search of employment opportunities. During Yahya Jammeh reign close to 100,000 Gambians left the country some with no proper documentation. Their priority is to make the most of the opportunities abroad and send money home.
Gambians with loan facilities back at home send money for repayment according to the loan covenants signed. Some credit facilities are taken by their families to sustain themselves and then funds are sent to help with the repayment.
Those with businesses in the Gambia send money to boost the capital base and finance operations in areas such as payment of salaries and wages, supplies, purchase of goods and so forth.
Money transfer services are arguably the best when sending money to the Gambia. They have many obvious advantages to traditional channels. Below are some of the top reasons why you should use them in your next transfer.
When sending money to the Gambia, there are certain things you should consider to avoid missed opportunities or inconveniences in the course of the transfer.
With the diaspora strategies being rolled out by the Gambian government, Gambians abroad stand a better chance to get good deals sending money to their country. Knowing how to compare and contrast the various features of the providers will help you get the best sending option to your family and friends.
Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to the Gambia. If you’re looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.
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