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Cheapest Way to Send Money to Africa

In this guide we will provide an overview of the best way to send money to Africa, without incurring huge fees associated with traditional bank transfers. To make things as easy as possible for our readers, we will outline the factors contributing to the main costs, as we offer examples of the top money transfer services for sending money to countries in the African continent. 

Updated: 25/05/2022
Read time: 8 minutes
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Sending money to Africa

On a global scale, Africa is vastly diverse, covering 20% of the planet’s total land mass. It is the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent and, as of 2021, home to over 1.37 billion people. Due to its immense size and dense population, African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya are high-ranking remittance-receiving destinations. 

Many of our readers have reasons to transfer funds to countries in Africa, albeit for international business transfers, sending money to friends and family or buying property abroad. This guide will help our users secure cheap money transfers to Africa, by outlining key cost factors such as transfer fees, exchange rate and delivery options. We will evaluate each factor to make it easy for our readers to compare different money transfer service providers. This will help reduce costs when sending money to Africa, whether it be for a small business transfer or to pay for student fees

Cost factors to consider when sending money to Africa

This section outlines the top factors that contribute to the cost of sending money to Africa. Understanding these factors will help you identify fees and reduce costs when arranging future transfers, saving money in the long run.

Transfer method

The type of transfer method opted for will play a big role in the amount of fees charged. Further to this, not all instances of a transfer method will incur the same charges; some have higher fees than others. Here are the most common transfer methods available with banks and remittance companies and the fees you can expect to pay.

  • Balance transfers: These refer to transfers made between two customers of the same digital service, via e-wallet or online services. Companies such as Wis typically offer these transfers free of charge, making it a cheap method for sending money to a recipient Africa. However, companies like PayPal charge the receiver a fee for balance transfers which increases with the size of the transfer. 
  • Bank transfer: Money transfer via banks is one of the most convenient but more expensive methods of sending money. Banks will charge anything between $10-$50 for international wire transfers and this fee will be even higher if the currency is less commonly traded or the destination country is deemed remote.
  • Cash transfer: It is possible to send cash to receipts in Africa, which is particularly helpful when sending money to someone without a bank account. The beneficiary simply needs to bring the relevant identification documents to the designated cash pick-up point to collect the money. Typically, cash transfers cost $15 per transfer or a percentage of the transfer amount. The overall cost can be shared if required, but the fee structure will depend on the service provider.

Transfer speed

The cost of a money transfer tends to increase depending on the speed. For example, when sending money via their bank, account holders may be able to opt for an instant transfer but this will cost a premium, compared to the cheaper method which may take between 3 – 5 days. This means customers will often need to decide whether a faster transfer method is worth paying the extra money. 

Exchange rate

Foreign currency transfers sometimes incur exchange rate mark-ups, which is the difference between the mid-market rate and the rate offered to the customer. Think of it as a fee that is charged for converting one currency to another during an international transfer. The best leading money transfer services do not apply any kind of exchange rate mark-up, while others will add profit margins of 1 – 3%, and some banks charge 4 – 6% higher than the true market value. When sending money to Africa, the exchange rate may differ based on the type of currencies converted and amount you wish to send. Services such as Xe offer to match the mid-market rate which means you are paying the true rate without incurring a fee.

Things to consider when sending money to Africa

This section outlines key features all customers should look out for when sending money to Africa. Each factor will help you decide on the quality between different international money transfer services and the features you desire most. 

  • Available countries: First and foremost, it is crucial the provider you are using serves the specific African country you need to send money to. This can be done by reviewing the company’s global coverage ahead of locking in a transfer. 
  • Mobile app: We recommend considering a money transfer service that comes with a mobile app. It is important to the overall user score of the mobile app to assess its suitability, based on your financial needs. Most mobile money apps will list their features and this is the best way to determine if the company fits your requirements.
  • Payment methods: Opt for a money transfer service offering multiple payment methods as these are the most flexible service providers. Possible payment options include balance transfers, credit or debit card, wire transfer and cash pick up. More options increase the chances of finding a cheap money transfer to Africa method. 
  • Transfer limits: Making sure the transfer limits fit your requirements is another crucial consideration to make. Before creating a new account take note of any minimum or maximum limitations as some providers impose daily, weekly and monthly limits. 
  • Exchange rates: The most competitive money transfer companies will not charge an exchange rate markup percentage for international transactions. These are the best services to use when sending money to Africa for a low cost. However, you can justify paying a markup percentage if the service does not charge other fees, all costs must be evaluated to appropriately compare the overall value. 

The cheapest ways to send money to Africa

If you are short on time and want to try the top African money transfer services, then this section is for you. Each option offers low cost money transfers and has an excellent reputation. 

  1. Azimo: choose Azimo for sending money to Africa if you want low transfer fees and multi-lingual support. They also offer many pay-out options which provide the receiver flexibility. The options include home delivery, mobile wallet, bank transfer and cash pick up. It means the recipient does not need an African bank account to receive money. 
  2. Wise: Select Wise for money transfers to Africa because of transparent fees and no exchange rate markup percentage. Also, the transfer speed is fast because you can send a balance transfer. The recipient will receive funds in their Wise account within seconds. Also, Wise has a highly rated mobile app that allows you to execute transfers from the convenience of your mobile phone. 
  3. WorldRemit: WorldRemit offers money transfer services to a wide range of African countries such as Egypt, Liberia, Niger, Uganda and Zimbabwe. They offer competitive transfers fees and flexible transfer options. WorldRemit has an excellent reputation based on their reviews, which means you can give the service a try with full confidence.  

Top 3 Cheapest ways to send money to Africa

RankingWay to SendCostGet Started
🥇Online money transfer providerSome providers are freeCompare Rates
🥈Money transfer appsFree (it needs to add funds previously)Compare Apps
🥉Bank transfersForeign bank transfer fees, exchange ratesCompare Banks

How to reduce costs when sending money to Africa?

You can save money when sending money to Africa by comparing money transfer services. Compare features such as payment options, transfer fees and exchange rate markup. Then choose the service that is the best match for your use case. For example, if you do not need a currency conversion, then do not worry if there is an exchange rate markup. In fact, this might be an advantage because they may not charge transfer fees. 

Consider increasing the transfer time to save money. For example, bank transfers are more expensive when you choose instant transfers over the standard processing time of 2-5 business days. Also, comparing money transfer methods is just as important as comparing money transfer companies. The same service may provide transfer methods that are expensive while others are free. 

Summary

Sending money to Africa for a low cost is not only possible, but you have several options. Money transfer services such as Wise, Azimo and WorldRemit offer a reliable experience. They allow for transfer to most African countries with low transfer fees.  For more information on sending money to Africa we encourage you to read our guides on sending money to countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. They will help you figure out how to choose the best money transfer service for your needs.

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April Summers

April is a trained journalist and the Content Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. She has 10 years experience writing about a diverse range of subjects, from financial services to arts and entertainment. When she’s not writing about global remittances she can be found daydreaming about her next holiday abroad.

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