In 2018 Ghanaians living abroad sent home US$ 2.19 billion. About 27% of this inflow came from the United States. With more than 155,000 Ghanaians on its soil, the United States is the busiest remittance corridor followed by Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany.
While there are formal channels for sending money to Ghana, a significant percentage of the diaspora population still uses informal methods. This may be due to the convenience these methods provide or the lack of proper information on the part of the senders as to the risks involved.
Therefore, for this and other reasons, it helps to know the various legal channels available for Ghanaians to send money to their families and friends. The sections below also look at the information required to send money, the advantages of money transfers services, and what to consider when sending money to Ghana. You’ve got to read this!
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There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in Ghana 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.
Before we look at the proper ways of sending money to your family in Ghana, lets briefly mention the informal channels. At times, Ghanaians living abroad find it convenient to send money through friends travelling home or courier it to the risky and expensive.
When large amounts are involved, the risk becomes even higher. What if the friend, claims that the money was lost en route or the courier fails to take responsibility for lost cash? This is why sending through formal channels such as banks and money transfer service providers is the best option.
You can transfer money from your bank to the recipient’s bank in Ghana. These transfers are generally safer and suitable for sending large amounts of money. However, most Ghanaians in the diaspora find interbank transfers unattractive for personal transfers.
If the recipient has a foreign currency account (FCY), you can send an Inward Transfer to them. This transfer moves through correspondent banks and until it gets credited into the FCY account. Banks such as Barclays Ghana, GCB Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank Ghana offer this service in Ghana.
One aspect to note is that the money comes in foreign currency, but you have to convert it to Ghanian cedi to access it. That is the law of the Gold Coast.
If the recipient has any other account other than an FCY account, you can transfer money directly from your bank account to their account through an Outward Transfer. All banks in Ghana offer this service.
The third option is ATM card transfer. This method requires that you maintain two cards such as a MasterCard and Visa. You have to leave one of the cards with your family members in Ghana and carry the other with you. To do the transfer, load the ATM card and your family will be able to withdraw in Ghana using the other card.
ATM card money transfers are not very common because the sender has no control over the amount of money the ‘recipient’ withdraws. Hacking also deals a blow to ATM card transfers.
Despite their reliability, banks are still unattractive to Ghanians sending money home. They offer low exchange rates, high charges, and require that you should have a bank account for you to transfer.
The reliability, speed, and convenience of use have made the majority of Ghanaians abroad to choose money transfer companies (MTCs) over banks. Some of the providers with a wide network in Ghana are Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, Vigo, and Express money send money.
Many of the MTCs in Ghana have agreements with financial institutions in the country to use their premises as payout locations. In places where banks and microfinance institutions are not available, money transfer service providers use independent agents.
For instance, GCB bank has partnered with Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, Vigo, First African among other money transfer operators (MTOs). Eco bank has an agreement with MoneyGram, Ria and Western Union to allow its branches to serve as payout locations.
Sending money through MTOs is simple. You do not need a bank account to send money and the recipient doesn't need one either. However, you’ll have to sign up for an account to make a transfer. It takes about 5 minutes to register for an account and probably another 10 minutes to pay for the transfer and send the money.
You can choose to pay for your transfer using a credit card, debit card or bank debit. The latter is the least expensive, but it takes time for the transfer to be complete. MTOs, allow you to send money in three ways.
Ghana has the following mobile money transfer services:
ZeePay –Ghanaians in the diaspora can use ZeePay to send money to their families in Ghana direct to their mobile wallets, bank accounts, cash pickup locations, or as airtime top-up.
AirtelTigo Money –This is a joint venture between Millicom and Bharti Airtel offering its 10 million subscriber base an expanded network of mobile money services. Unlike Zeepay, AirtelTigo Money doesn’t do international transfers but has partnered with WorldRemit and Rocket Remit to allow Ghanaians abroad to send money to their families right into their mobile wallets.
Vodafone Mobile Money –Similar to AirtelTigo Money, this mobile money transfer service has partnered with Sendsika to give diaspora Ghanaians an opportunity to send money home to their recipients’ Vodafone Mobile Money wallets.
MTN MoMo –This is the largest mobile money transfer service in Ghana. Depending on the country you are sending from, you can use any of the MTOs they’ve partnered with. They are WorldRemit, HomeSend, Horizon Exchange, Neteller, Azimo, Skrill, Transfer Galaxy, Wave, Small World, and Western Union. As long as the recipient has an MTN MoMo mobile account, you can send it directly to their phone from abroad.
For you to send money to Ghana, you need the following information and documents:
You can send online, or from a store. When sending money from a store, you may be asked to fill out a form to give more information on your transfer.
Ghanaians send money home for various reasons. Recall that most of them, middle-aged, leave home in search of a better life abroad.
Whenever lady luck smiles on them, they remember their loved ones home and would want to put a smile on their faces. Some of the reasons behind the billions of dollars of inflows to Ghana recorded each year include:
One of the major reasons for remittances to Ghana is to supplements the household income.
Most of the emigrants leave behind siblings that are still in school or had dropped out and they would want to put them back to school.
Whether it is in financial assets or real estate, Ghanaians are seizing the opportunity to save and invest, thanks to a stable economy. Some of them are buying properties off-plan to cash in on early bird discounted prices.
Ghana has a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) that aims to cover up to 95% of health conditions. A majority of the population is exempt from the monthly premiums. However, those who want specialised healthcare have to travel to urban areas where most of the private health facilities are concentrated hence the need for financial support.
Research shows that remittances to Ghana are not evenly distributed throughout the year. They normally peak around November, December, and January because of the festive season.
Money transfer services are the best channel. In fact, the Ghanian government is coming up with a framework that will open the playing field to allow more innovators to come up with solutions that will make transfers quicker and cheaper.
Below are some of the reasons money transfer services are preferred by Ghanaians sending money to their families.
There are three main things to bear in mind when sending money to Ghana, failure to which transfers may be delayed or cancelled and reversed.
With that being said, having the right information at the right time can save you money and inconveniences when sending to your family in Ghana.
The fastest way to transfer money there is through WorldRemit. With WorldRemit, you can usually expect your money to reach its destination in Ghana in a matter of minutes. In many cases, it can take less than an hour or just a bit longer. They also offer a better deal than most of the similarly fast services do.
Other fast options include the faster versions of Xoom and Western Union, among others. The main problem with these fast services is that they are very expensive.
TransferWise offers the best deal to send money that is both cheap and reasonable. With TransferWise, you can expect only a small upfront fee when it comes to GHA (Ghana). Their hidden conversion rates are also very low.
The exchange rate for the Ghanaian Cedi (GHS) is 5.4296 GHS per American Dollar (USD). The high for the GHS over the last 90 days was 5.5150 GHS per USD, while the low was 5.3465 GHS per USD. The average exchange rate over the last 90 days was 5.4359 GHS per USD.
The average volatility of the GHS was 1.06% against the USD over the last 90 days. The GHS fluctuated severely in the first few months of 2019. You can reasonably expect unpredictable fluctuations to continue going forward, barring unforeseen changes in the circumstances in Ghana.
TransferWise offers the overall best deal to transfer funds to Ghana. They offer a great balance between speed, cost, and ease of use that makes them quite competitive. You can expect transfers to be relatively fast, but slower than much of the competition. However, you can always expect an easy and affordable means to transfer money if you use TransferWise.