Uganda receives over $1.3 billion in remittances, six times its outflows. The UK is the leading source of remittances to Uganda contributing close to 25% followed by South Sudan, Rwanda, the United States, and Kenya.
With the number of Ugandans in Canada increasing, specifically in Vancouver, remittances from the North American country are also increasing year on year. Diaspora networking conventions and business expos are held regularly targeting Ugandans with information on opportunities back home that they can invest in.
One of the recent conventions in Canada sought to create awareness and sell banking products, health insurance, money transfer products, and tourism opportunities to Ugandans living in Toronto and Vancouver.
Much like Kenyans, Ugandans in the diaspora are a mixture of different age groups and educational backgrounds. A majority of those in the middle east work in sectors such as domestic services, security services, hotel industry and so forth.
Most of the Ugandans send money to their families back home regularly either for investment or income support. Despite the risks involved in informal channels, there are still those who opt for this expensive route when sending money to their families and friends.
If you are looking at sending money back home, this guide is for you. It is packed with useful information on the different channels available to you for sending money to Uganda. You will also find the information you need when sending money home and the different factors that you need to bear in mind when sending your transfers. Read on for this and more.
Sending money to Uganda is simple and easy. Follow these steps to get started.
There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in Uganda 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.
Depending on the country you are sending money from, there are a number of channels you can opt for. The most common of these are bank to bank transfers, online money transfer, in-store cash transfers, and mobile money transfer. Let us look at each of these channels in greater detail.
This is one of the traditional ways of sending money that Ugandans still use to date. Those in the middle east send money to local banks in Uganda such as Stanbic Bank, Centenary Bank, Standard Chartered Bank among others. Using this channel has the advantage of safety and reliability.
Most of the banks in Uganda are international banks which means you can get either their branches or headquarters in your host country. This multinational feature makes it easier to transfer money and ensures faster delivery.
With that being said, most transfers through the banking system experience systemic delays and cost escalations. For instance, you may send money from a country as closer to Uganda as Kenya or Tanzania and it takes up to 5 working days for the transfer to be delivered.
For instance, sending money from Barclays Bank PLC in the United Kingdom to Uganda will cost you £25 if you do it through the branch or over the telephone. You may also incur overseas delivery charges and cover charges.
Using this channel also requires that both the sender and the recipient have bank accounts. Financial inclusion reports indicated that more than 50% of Ugandans mostly from rural areas have no access to formal banking services. This complicates the use of bank-to-bank transfers even further.
Money transfer operators using the internet as the access point for their transfers have grown in number over the years. Uganda and to a larger extent Sub-Saharan Africa have provided a lucrative destination for remittances through online money transfer providers.
Companies such as Wave, Small World, WorldRemit, Azimo, Xpress Money, and Ria have dominated the Uganda remittance corridors. Others including TransferWise, Transfast, and Xoom are also gaining widespread popularity.
The advantage of using online money transfer providers when sending money to Uganda is that they are fast, simple, and cost-effective. To start off, you’ll have to sign up for an account, have your details verified, pay for your transfer and send the funds to your loved ones in Uganda.
The information requested is minimal compared to what banks ask for and you have lots of payment options. Depending on the provider, you may pay for your transfer using a credit or debit card, bank transfer, direct debit, Sofort, and many other options.
The payout options available range from cash pickups, direct-bank-deposits to mobile transfers. The option you choose largely depends on your personal preferences and the proximity of the provider’s disbursement network to the recipient.
Online money transfer providers not only charge lower transfer fees but also give senders comparatively higher exchange rates. For instance, sending 1000 GBP to Uganda from the United Kingdom through TransferWise will cost you about 18.28 GBP, with zero margins on exchange rates. For the same transfer, WorldRemit will charge you 13.99 GBP in transfer fees plus 2.85% exchange margin.
Apart from the internet being an access point, you can also send money from an agent. Money transfer operators such as Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, Dahabshiil, and Xpress Money, allow their customers to send money from stores near them.
If you are in the UK, you can send up to 8,000.00 GBP on Western Union and the recipient in Uganda will collect it from a cash pickup location at a cost of only 12.90 GBP. The transfer takes a few minutes to get to Uganda. On MoneyGram, the maximum you can send to Uganda is 5828.00 GBP and the cost is 3.99 GBP.
Both MoneyGram and Western Union have partnered with banks such as Equity Bank, Housing Finance Bank, Post Bank Uganda, KCB Uganda, Bank of Alexandria, and DTB. These banks serve as cash pickup points. Xpress Money and Ria pickup locations are commonly found in malls and supermarkets across the country.
There are two dimensions to mobile money in Uganda. The first dimension is that you can send money from an online money transfer service such as WorldRemit direct to MTN Mobile Money, Warid Pesa, and Airtel Money accounts.
The other dimension about mobile money is that you can send from one mobile money service to another. Ugandans who live in Kenya can send money from their Mpesa mobile accounts to the MTN Mobile Money, Warid Pesa, and Airtel Money accounts of their recipients in Uganda.
The maximum amount you can send from Mpesa in one transaction is $700 dollars. When sending amounts greater than $700, you’ll have to split the transaction into two.
Through WorldRemit and Xoom, you can send airtime to your friends and family in Uganda. The carriers supported include Orange, Warid Uganda, MTN Uganda, Africell, Airtel, Uganda Telecom, and Smart Uganda. It is free to send the airtime and the top up is instant.
Sending money to Uganda from whichever country is simple as long as you have all the required documents and information. Typically, you are to provide the following information.
For repeat transfers, you won’t have to give most of this information. The platform captures and can recall historical information.
There are three ways you can receive money in Uganda: direct-to-mobile deposits, bank deposits and cash pickups
Bank Deposits -Thanks to partnerships with major banks in Uganda, money transfer operators can facilitate deposits directly into the recipient’s bank accounts. Xoom has a partnership with Equity Bank while WorldRemit allows for deposits into Standard Chartered Bank, DFCU, Centenary Bank, Stanbic, and Barclays Uganda.
Cash Pickup – In many parts of Uganda, cash pickup locations are found in bank branches. In shopping malls, fuel stations and supermarkets, you may chance upon other pickup points. A good example is Xoom. It has 45 pick up locations in Uganda in partnership with the following entities Cairo International Bank, Equity Bank, and Pay Uganda Limited.
Mobile Deposit -In Uganda, you can receive money directly into your mobile money account. It is one of the fastest and most convenient ways of receiving cash. You can use the money to pay up your bills, parking, shopping, fuel refills and literally just about anything.
Depending on the payout option you may or may not have to provide any information to collect your money. Direct-to-bank deposits and mobile deposits do not require any documentation to access the money. However, if you are to withdraw your mobile money at an agent or access your money through cash pickup you will need to provide the following information.
You may be asked to identify the sender and the purpose for the transfer. This is part of the global anti-money laundering (AML) controls.
Most Ugandans leaving their country for other countries do so almost purely out of economic reasons. They are looking for greener pastures to build capital and wealth. For these reasons, most of the inflows into the country are directed at certain identifiable needs.
Most Ugandans do not emigrate with their families, they leave them behind. In between visits, they send money to support them. Some of the immigrant’s households depend entirely on remittances to pay for their living expenses.
Despite the clamour for affordable education, Uganda like many countries in the region still grapple with high education costs. Diaspora Ugandans send money especially at the beginning of school terms to help keep their siblings in school.
Having a place to call home is one of the prioritized items on the list of many Ugandans in the diaspora. They send money home to their relatives to help them buy homes or they may buy directly through real estate companies that often pitch their tents in the host countries.
Apart from home purchases, Ugandans abroad are exploring other investment niches such as financial assets in the Uganda Securities Exchange and other vehicles off the exchange.
Most Ugandans in the diaspora have plans to return home someday. To prepare for this period, they regularly send money home for savings in time deposit vehicles and other interest-earning accounts.
Money transfer services have carved a niche for themselves. When sending money to Uganda the first set of factors that pop up are cost, the simplicity and speed. Money transfer service providers check all these boxes and more. Here is how they fit the bill when it comes to funds transfer.
When transferring money to Uganda, there are a couple of things that you need to bear in mind.
Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to the Uganda. 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