This guide will help you gain an in-depth understanding of the various formal ways you can use to send money to Sri Lanka, the information required, the regulatory framework, and the factors that you need to consider when sending. Also, we will share the top money transfer companies for sending funds to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka can be described as a free-market economy. They have a GDP of $80.7 billion, ranked 113th in the world. In recent years its growth has slowed down. The pandemic is partly responsible for this slowdown.
The national currency is the Sri Lankan rupee, and at the time of writing, 1 RS is equal to 0.013 USD. Furthermore, their most significant sectors include agriculture, textiles, tourism, telecommunications, and petroleum refining. The top export partners include the USA, UK, and India.
Sri Lanka has a robust financial sector, which means that money transfer companies are offered to locals. Therefore, you can enjoy sending and receiving money at low rates and fast transfer times. Read this guide to the end to discover industry-leading companies.
Sending money to Sri Lanka is simple and easy. Follow these steps to get started.
There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in Sri Lanka but these will largely depend on the provider you decide to use. Below you will find everything you need to know about the best ways to send money to Sri Lanka.
Whether you are sending money to your family in Colombo, Kalutara, Gampaha, districts in the northern and eastern regions, or other areas in Sri Lanka, your target should be to find the cheapest provider that will help you save on fees and exchange rates. Safety of transfers, sending limits, and receiving limits are major concerns that you need to look at.
There are various ways you can send money to Sri Lanka. You can use international wire transfers, online money transfer services, and in-store sending options.
The banking system in Sri Lanka is well-diversified. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka is the regulatory authority of the banking sector. This sector comprises state-owned commercial banks, private domestic banks, foreign banks, development banks, housing banks, and national savings banks.
When sending to a bank in Sri Lanka, your transfer may be deposited directly, or it may pass through intermediary banks before it is credited to the recipient’s account. The latter is normally costly and may take additional days for the money to get to your family.
Thanks to recent development, thousands of Sri Lankan workers in Saudi Arabia can now send money to Sri Lanka through the Commercial Bank of Ceylon, one of the leading banks in the country. This was made possible after the bank entered into partnerships with representatives in Saudi Arabia, such as National Commercial Bank, Arab National Bank, Al Bilad Bank, and Al Rajhi Bank.
International wire transfers typically take between 3 and 5 days to be completed. However, without having a bank account in the sending country, you cannot use this service.
The largest banks per share of remittances in Sri Lanka are Bank of Ceylon (BOC), Peoples Bank (PB), Seylan Bank (SyB), Commercial Bank (CB), Hatton National Bank (HNB), and Sampath Bank (SaB).
In the North and East regions of the country, where inter-ethnic clashes have been rampant, residents have to contend with limited access to formal banking. When sending to these border villages, bank transfers may not be the appropriate way of moving funds.
Most of the remittances to Sri Lanka, especially from Asia and the Middle East, are made through online money transfer providers. These sending options give you a better rate, low transaction fees, and faster delivery times.
The providers differ depending on the transfer corridor. For instance, if you are sending from the United Arab Emirates to Sri Lanka, you will find providers such as GCC Exchange, Al Fardan Exchange, and Ezremit, among others.
Most of the providers will require you to open an account with them, pay for your transfer, and then choose a payout option which could be cash pickup or direct bank deposit. A number of money transfer providers have mobile applications on both Android and iOS platforms to enable you to send on the go.
Other big names in this category include Wise, OFX, WorldFirst, TorFX, Xoom, Currencies Direct, and Transfast.
Western Union and MoneyGram are two of the most frequently used money transfer operators in this category. In addition to the online transfer option they give you, you can also send money to your family in Sri Lanka through their agency network.
Depending on the country you are sending from, you will find most of these agents in grocery stores, supermarkets, mailbox centers, travel agencies, drug stores, and so forth. For instance, Western Union allows you to send money directly to your recipient’s bank account or to an agent’s location near them. With as little as a $4 transfer fee, you can send it to your loved ones conveniently and fast.
Once you sign up for an online account, you choose the payout method and provide the recipient information and how you wish to pay for your transfer. There are several ways you can pay for your transfer. Some providers, such as Xoom, will allow you to pay through a direct bank debit, credit card, or debit card. Others, such as OFX, restrict their payment methods to bank transfers.
Credit cards and debit cards cost a little more, but they ensure funds are available for transfer faster than the other methods.
When sending money to Sri Lanka, you will be asked for specific information by the providers so that they can identify you and the recipient. Most of this information will be captured when signing up for the account. Regulatory bodies such as FCA and FINTRAC may require certain information to be captured by money transfer service providers. Some of the information you will need to provide include:
Depending on the country you are sending from, you may be asked to disclose the source and purpose of the money.
There are various ways you can receive money in Sri Lanka. This will depend on the mode of transfer used. The following are the two main ways you can receive money in this country.
Direct Bank Deposits: The person sending can choose a bank transfer as the payout method and have the funds directly deposited into the recipient’s account. Depending on the bank you are transferring to, the time of the day, and the day of the week, bank transfers may take 2 to 3 days to get to the recipient.
Most providers have agreements with local banks in Sri Lanka to facilitate transfers. For instance, WorldRemit has partnered with Hatton National Bank, Sampath Bank, National Development Bank, Cargills Bank, and Bank of Ceylon. It is also common to find money transfer service providers linking up with local providers to expand their access to their target market.
Home delivery: you can enjoy home delivery services to receive cash at your door. You will need to provide your address and name to the sender. The time taken for delivery depends on the service you choose and where you live. Also, a transfer fee is required depending on the amount and the currency you wish to receive.
Money transfer service: using specialist transfer providers is arguably the best way to receive money. Balance transfers provide instant processing speeds allowing you to get money within seconds. Also, the lower fees of these services help you save money compared with banks. These companies also offer better FX rates than banks, so you get a better deal for currency conversions. The money transfer industry has fierce competition, which means customers get a great deal in savings and convenience.
Mobile app: getting funds via a mobile app enables you to be on the move while managing your finances. To download an app for your specialist transfer service or bank, you need to visit Google Play or App Store. You will spend just a few minutes downloading and installing an app. Take the time to check out the user reviews to see what you can expect from the mobile app. Try to find an app with a score of at least 4.0 out of 5 to be worth using.
When the money gets to Sri Lanka, you will be notified through SMS, email, or both. To collect the money, you will need the following information and documents.
Looking at the transfer narrations given to the various money transfer providers, the following reasons stand out as the most common for people remitting money to Sri Lanka.
Instances of floods, earthquakes, and other disasters receive an overwhelming response in terms of financial assistance from the diaspora. Even at a family level, emergencies do arise, such as sicknesses and deaths, which require diaspora Sri Lankans to send in their support.
To support family income, Sri Lankans abroad send money regularly, mostly on month ends. This takes care of the day-to-day living expenses.
Investing back home remains one of the most significant pull factors for Sri Lankans in the diaspora. Most of the investments are in real estate, the stock market, and entrepreneurial ventures.
During festivals such as Vesak Poya, Poson Poya Festival, and Sinhala and Tamil New Year, the size and frequency of remittances to Sri Lanka usually increase.
Money transfer services have proved to be convenient, fast, and simple for people sending to Sri Lanka and other countries. Below are some of the reasons why you should try out a money transfer service provider for your next transfer.
There are several factors that you need to bear in mind when sending money to your family and friends in Sri Lanka.
Therefore, if you want to send money to Sri Lanka, you need to understand the remittance market, the players involved, what’s needed for you to send and receive money, and the factors to bear in mind when sending.
Choosing the best money transfer service can be daunting with a large number of choices out there. This section offers advice on the top 3 companies you should register with to send money to Sri Lanka.
TorFX offers competitive exchange rates across 60 currencies. They provide a decent service that previous users highly rate.
TorFX doesn’t charge any fixed fees. Also, the transactions are fast for cross-border payments, which is perfect for when the recipient has a financial emergency.
Wise is one of the best money transfer companies available for transferring funds to Sri Lanka. They charge low fees and match the mid-market rate for many currency pairs. Therefore, you are saving money compared to most banks and specialist transfer providers. Wise does a great job of being transparent at every step of the money transfer process.
The mobile app provided by Wise is secure and has a clean user interface. Therefore, you can begin sending money to Sri Lanka shortly after downloading the app. Wise is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, which means that you can trust the company with your money.
Sending money to Sri Lanka with WorldRemit is a fast and cost-effective process that is available within minutes of registering for a new account. The company provides a range of payment and cash-out options, which offers an excellent amount of flexibility. Also, the fees are low, so you are getting a good deal when sending money abroad.
WorldRemit offers excellent customer service that responds within seconds via live chat. Also, multiple languages are offered, which is great for customers where English is not their native language.
Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to the Sri Lanka. 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