Ukraine and Russia have a unique bond not just in political arrangements but also in terms of economic relations. The Crimea annexation tension notwithstanding, many Ukranianians call Russia home. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry notes that about 3 million of its nationals live and work in Russia. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a shock that over 50% of the $7.9 billion Ukraine receives in remittances comes from Russia.
The rest of the remittances come from countries such as the United States, Germany, Kazakhstan, Italy, Poland, and Belarus. Most Ukrainians in Russia predominantly use Western Union to send their money home. Those in the United States use a combination of providers and institutions such as MoneyGram, Western Union, Ria, Xoom, and Walmart2World.
The Ukrainians in Italy use a mixture of banks and money transfer operators such as MoneyGram, Western Union, Azimo, Ria, TransferWise, Extrabanca, Poste Italiane, Unistream, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, and Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A.
With lots of options available to send money to Ukraine, you may be wondering which is the best method. Not every channel is suitable for you, there is some background information you need to enable you to make the right decision.
This guide will help bring onto the surface issues such as the information needed when sending money to Ukraine, transfer channels available, factors you need to bear in mind when transferring money to Ukraine and so forth.
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There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in Ukraine 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.
There are three main ways through which you can send money to Ukraine. You can use the banking system, online money transfer providers, or in-store cash transfer methods.
As long as the recipient has a bank account and you have an account in the host country, you can make these transfers. For instance, if you send money from Banca Intesa SanPaolo in Italy to a local bank in Ukraine, it will take about 2-3 days for the transfer to get there.
Walmart2World, international wire transfer service, takes minutes to get the money to Ukraine. This is because of its unique partnership with MoneyGram. Generally, banks take a little longer, up to 5 days, to deliver transfers to Ukraine. They also charge more in transfer fees and exchange rate margins, thus making them unattractive options.
Online Money Transfer Services
The bulk of the transfers to Ukraine from many of the countries with the exception of Russia are made through online money transfer service providers. Talk of Azimo, TrnsferWise, Xoom, Ria, and WorldRemit, all these providers are frequently used on the Ukraine transfer corridors.
Sending money through these providers is simple and fast. All you need is to sign up for an account, pay for your transfer and send. There are lots of options when paying for your transfer. You can make a bank transfer, use a debit card, pay via a credit card or other country-dependent payment options.
Online money transfer methods enjoy a wide sending and disbursing network coverage, have faster transfer speeds, and competitive fees. For instance, TransferWise supports 55+ countries including Ukraine and Xoom supports 30+ countries.
When sending money to Ukraine through online money transfer providers, there are three payout options you can choose from:
In-Store Cash Transfer
Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, and Unistream are some of the money transfer companies that allow for cash deposits at stores in the sending countries. If you are sending money from the United States to Ukraine through Western Union, you can pay cash in-store or online. The only payout option available is cash pickup and the maximum you can send is 5,000.00 USD.
When sending your transfer from the UK to Ukraine through MoneyGram, the maximum amount you can send is 6000.00 GBP and the payout option is cash pickup.
Money transfer providers require that you give the following information when sending money to Ukraine.
The lack of well-paid jobs and security concerns have led to a lot of Ukrainians to leave their country. Some of them leave their families behind. Combined with other reasons, this situation explains why many Ukrainians send money home.
Remittances supplement household spending in many Ukranian migrant families. The funds are used for basic expenses such as food, medication and utilities.
Cash from Ukrainians living abroad has found its way into the local property market. Strategic places like the prairies of western Ukraine have become a magnet for diaspora investors. The high-rise apartment complexes around Lviv are financed by cash from Ukrainians living abroad.
With remote working now becoming a normal way of life, overseas clients send money regularly to freelancers working from Ukraine. For those with businesses, sending money for operations and wages is a common practice.
Some of the funds sent are for paying tuition fees. Ukraine has placed a premium on education and everyone strives to get the best qualification they can afford.
A bigger percentage of the over 5 million Ukrainians in the diaspora still plan on coming home someday. To prepare for this, some of them put aside money in savings accounts and time deposits.
When sending money to Ukraine, few people use the banking system. In fact, a significant percentage still use informal channels including crossing the border with hard cash. Instead of risking your hard-earned cash or exposing it to the high fees and lower rates offered by banks, opt for money transfer services to enjoy the following benefits:
There are certain factors that you need to look at before you hit the ‘Send’ button on your transfer to Ukraine. This guide cannot exhaust them all but will give you an overview of what is important.
Sending money to Ukraine can be quite expensive if you don’t use the right channel. Money transfer providers have made the process simpler, faster, and more affordable even to people sending small amounts to their families back home.
The fastest way is through either Ria Money Transfer’s fast service or Western Union’s fast service. The former costs far less than the latter, but Western Union is more popular and easier to use. Regardless, both of these options will see to it that your money reaches its Ukrainian destination in a matter of minutes.
The cheapest way is to go with Ria Money Transfer’s slow option. While this isn’t always the case, Ria Money Transfer doesn’t carry any hidden currency conversion costs for either the slow or fast version. The upfront fee for Ria Money Transfer’s slow option is very low, and in the end, it is the cheapest option available to you.
The main drawback to Ria Money Transfer’s slow option is that it’s… wait for it…slow. You can expect to wait 3-5 days for your money to reach its Ukrainian destination.
The easiest way is using TransferWise. The peer-to-peer money transfer system makes it very easy to transfer money. All you need to do is tap the amount of money and the destination. After that, you need to pay TransferWise, and from that point, the money should get to its destination in a day or two.
It should be noted that the stated fees for using TransferWise to send funds to Ukraine are higher than they are for many other countries.
The currency exchange situation for the Ukrainian Hryvnia is fairly stable now but has been unpredictable in recent years, during which time serious fluctuations in currency exchange rates have occurred. All things considered, Ukraine is not the easiest or most stress-free country for money transfers, but there are some great options available to you.
The current exchange rate for the Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH) is 23.7169 per American Dollar (USD). The average exchange rate over the last 90 days was 24.5165 UAH per USD. The UAH reached a high of 25.1617 UAH per USD, and a low of 23.7169 UAH per USD during the last 90 days.
The average volatility rate of the UAH against the USD was 0.51% for the last 90 days. This is a moderate volatility rate; however, the currency exchange rates have gone through larger-than-average fluctuations during the last few years. Going forward, you can reasonably expect the exchange rate to fluctuate moderately, barring unforeseen circumstances. It should be noted that Ukraine has experienced many unforeseen events in the last few years, and they have affected the exchange rates.
The overall best way to transfer money to Ukraine is through Ria Money Transfer’s fast option. While it isn’t the most convenient method, the balance between speed and cost is quite good. You pay more for Ria Money’s fast option than you do for their slow option but the difference in timing is under an hour versus 3-5 days. For these reasons, Ria Money Transfer’s fast option is the best choice for sending funds to Ukraine.