So in sending money to the UK, one of the questions that people asked me was how do I send money to Zimbabwe.
Why send money to Zimbabwe?
I know, weird question. But there are people out there that still ask.
Well, for those of you that still have relatives and friends that are still here, the need often arises for you to give them a helping hand. Better yet, you may be considering taking out a mortgage or buying a stand and would like that property developed.
How to do this wisely without being “closed” (duped/shortchanged) is for another article, but what needs to be emphasised is that as much as we may have gone on to “greener pastures”, Zimbabwe is still home for a lot of us.
As such, I’ve come up with a list (not exhaustive but rather comprehensive) of how you can send money to Zimbabwe the most effective ways.
How to send money to Zimbabwe?
Here are 7 ways, that if I’d be out of Zimbabwe I’ll use to send money back home. (N.B. I write as someone in Zimbabwe, looking out, and the methods listed below are what I see to be the most effective)
- Western Union
The age old option of sending money home. Growing up whenever I’d hear that my parents were sent money from overseas, Western Union was the de facto to the effect that it would be said “I’ll Western Union you the money!”
We knew where their offices were, opening and closing times and would even have a stash of their forms at home. No, my dad never worked there. Hmmmm, or did he?Process is very simple, you visit a Western Union outlet, fill in a form, stating the amount you’d like your recipient to receive.
They calculate how much it’ll cost you (taking into consideration the exchange rate and their commission). You set a “test question” together with answer for verification, and they also give you a 10 digit code that the recipient needs to produce when collecting the money.They do send to people’s mobile wallets, however they do not have either EcoCash, telecash or OneWallet connected, just yet. So for now, the recipient will have to take that 10 digit code, together with the test question and answer to a Western Union agent and get their money. A list of the agents can be found here.
MoneyGram operates a lot similar to Western Union, where the person in Zimbabwe will have to visit an agent to collect their funds, however with the exception that their sending capabilities are 24 hours, you can do it online!
This is rather convenient for those instances when you need to send money beyond working hours, or even on holidays.However, there is the challenge of the recipient is still governed by the operating hours of the agent where they’ll need to pick up the cash.
From what I’ve seen, these agents are mostly banks (please someone comment if they know of any agent for MoneyGram that’s not a bank) and I’m no fan of their archaic business models.To their credit, MoneyGram has an “Account Now Visa Debit card” that anyone can subscribe to. Get your relative in Zimbabwe to take out this card, so that whenever you need to send money home, you can do it through the card. They can go to ANY Visa-enabled POS, ATM or even shop online. BEWARE of the bank fees on this card. Make sure you find out what the monthly, transactional and deposit fees are, before you make the plunge.
This money transfer agency has been around for sometime. Highly convenient for those in South Africa, as there are USSD codes that you can dial and access the service – *130*567# and do your transaction.
There are a host of locations locations in SA, where you can transact: Shoprite, Spar, Pick n Pay, Lewis, Fnb. Kazang, Inter-Africa, Boxer stores. The registration requirements are rather pathetic though, if you ask me, proof of identity, residence and income, I mean seriously? Too much info people.However, this service seems to be popular with a bunch of Zimbos in Mzansi. Mukuru have gone ahead and partnered with both CABS and telecash, essentially allowing your relatives to go to even more places to get their funds.
Recently having partnered with Ecocash this service allows the recipient to receive their money directly into their Ecocash wallet. With Ecocash having over 4 million subscribers chances are high that the person to whom you are sending money to, either has an Ecocash account or has access to someone who does.
The joy of this service is that it is web based and hence you can do your transfer on the fly, just needing a Visa or MasterCard.Visit their website, together with your Visa and/or MasterCard, select how you’d like your recipient to get their cash and presto, you’d done. Admittedly they make their money through both transfer commission and rate exchange.
This is a lot similar to the above methods, however, what stands out for me here is that they have direct deposits for things like tuition. This definitely avoids the headaches and heartaches of you sending money to family on the pretext that it is for school fees, to then find out that they have diverted the cash and used it for something else.We covered them here. They do state that they have direct transfers to mobile wallets, Ecocash, telecash and OneWallet, but when you open the account and dig deeper they then have a “coming soon”. For now, it looks like they’ll send to bank accounts and have limited a ‘cash out’ agent network.
- FNB to OK
This method will go down well with those that are in SA and use FNB. The forward thinking bank, has signed up with OK, the large listed supermarket that has a huge branch network and flexible operating hours, enabling people to go to the regular store and get their funds.
Bitcoin is a great idea. I don’t know of any faster and cheaper way of sending money across a border. It’s just as fast as Paypal because the money is sent instantly. But it’s also the cheapest payment system out there because transactions are only 4 cents each.
It’s 4 cents no matter how much money you want to send. Great for micro transactions too (think paying 1 cent to read a tweet or a paragraph on Techzim)
You can also sign the transaction in such a way that the money can be delivered in the future or use stuff such as multisig (multiple signatures) which means that the transaction also goes through only if 3 authorised people sign it. I can talk about how Bitcoin is a superior payment system all day but it is not without disadvantages.
And these are:
* It’s not easy to convert Bitcoin to US dollars in Zimbabwe right now. The only exchange that allows you to sell Bitcoin if you are in Zimbabwe is http://localbitcoins.com.
* Only a handful of businesses will allow you to pay with Bitcoin in Zimbabwe.
* It’s still volatile so we don’t know if the price will go up, go down or remain the same 2 hours after we send the Bitcoins
To start using it anyway, all you need is a Bitcoin wallet. The Bitcoin wallet is necessary to send and/or receive Bitcoin.
People wishing to send Bitcoin can buy them from a Bitcoin exchange
One can download a Bitcoin wallet here: https://bitcoin.org/en/choose-your-wallet
One can choose a Bitcoin exchange from this list (not that these exchanges are not available in all countries): https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Exchanges
Do you have another method of how to send money fast (and even better if it’s cheap?) No, not the buses but some other method that we could have a look at and perhaps review? Do comment below and let us all know.