Sending Money To Cuba
Replies: 48 - Last Post: Jan 29, 2013 6:12 PM Last Post By: johnabbotsford
Apr 10, 2012 4:25 PM
Sending Money To CubaTwo days ago I was going to do what I thought would be a simple $100.00 transfer to a friend in Cuba, I figured it would take about 5 minutes online using Western Union. Well I found out that online was not possible that I had to go to an agent, so I went to 2 agents who informed me they could only do transfers to US military at Guantanamo, when I phoned Western Union they told me it was no problem but after they entered all the details informed me that it was not possible to do it over the phone. I just talked to a WU representative who could not give me the location of an office or agent in Ontario were it would be possible. Is there anyone out there who can help me with this? Is there an office anywhere in Southwestern Ontario or Toronto where it would be possible, or failing that suggest an alternative way to get the money transferred to Cuba. Thanx
Apr 10, 2012 5:27 PM
Apr 10, 2012 5:49 PM
2Not possible to send money to Cuba via Western Union EXCEPT from USA.
You can do direct bank transfer if you have their Cuban bank branch (need SWIFT and Suc. codes) PLUS account details or if no account they can still pick up from bank if you provide their carnet (identity card) details or using this site which takes initialy about a week http://www.caribbeantransfers.com/app/
With the last option and using your credit card for payment 100CAD would result in approx. 80CUC. Bank to bank transfer costs vary according to the bank (at both ends).
Edited by: johnabbotsford
Apr 11, 2012 6:14 AM
3If sending money to this person may turn out to be an ongoing activity, its probably worth getting set up with Carabbean
Transfer. Basically your friend in Cuba must apply for a Carabbean Transfer card like a credit card and you, the sender, can mail a US money order to their address in Montreal or you can pay by credit card which they tell me is a little more expensive. CT has offices all over Cuba and you can ask them where the nearest one is near where your friend lives. Your friend will send you the info on their card, takes a few days to get the card, and the number and when CT receives your money order, they will put the that amount on the card, less their commission, and your friend can withdraw the money in Cuba from any bank or cadeca. Its best to decide how much you want your friend to receive, phone CT and ask how much your money order should be so that minus their commission, your friend will get the full amount you intended. For example, if you wanted your friend to receive $100 cucs you'll have to send about $120 usd, Good luck.
Apr 11, 2012 6:41 AM
Apr 11, 2012 8:36 AM
Apr 11, 2012 1:22 PM
6Your friend in Cuba need do nothing as regards Caribbean Transfers. You can open a Travel Card account with them in a few minutes, for free, and setup a remittance account for your Cuban friend in a couple of minutes online. They will have a card waiting for them in a weeks time wherever they are in Cuba.
There are then two methods available to you to send money via CT. A Credit Card or a Money Order / Cashiers Check. A Credit card deposit will have your friend receive the money almost immediately but is more expensive. A Money Order is a lot cheaper but adds the length of time it takes for CT to receive it through the mails to the time it takes for your recipient to have the money in their account. From the US it is typically 4-5 days. I'm sure it would be faster in Canada.
Unlike the hassle-filled and fee-riddled Western Union process, CT shows you what it will cost you in USD, to send your friend an amount in CUC, rather than showing you an amount they would receive in CUC for a fixed amount in USD. There is, as with WU, a fixed fee for any transfer so smaller amounts cost more than larger amounts.
With a credit card deposit, $100 CUC will cost you $122.45 USD (approx $82 per $100)
As a means of comparison, $400 CUC will cost you $465.80 USD (approx $86 per $100)
With a Money Order, $100 CUC will cost you $117 USD (approx $85.5 per $100)
As a means of comparison, $400 CUC will cost you $440.00 USD (approx $91 per $100)
You didn't say where you are located in Canada but CT's offices are located in Montreal...
Communications Sophie Inc.
Apr 11, 2012 5:38 PM
Apr 11, 2012 5:43 PM
Apr 16, 2012 12:58 PM
9Cost comparison to transfer $100 CUC.
CubaLlama: $120 USD
Caribbean Transfers: $122.45 USD
Plus with CT you have to give them additional identity information (DL) to get your card whereas at CL you use your credit card. So, marginal advantage to CubaLlama. I have used CT and it worked fine to send some money. I have not yet used CubaLlama to do so. Let the drubbing begin haha.
Apr 16, 2012 2:14 PM
Apr 16, 2012 3:05 PM
11Thanks for pointing out that lower $100 CC rate at CL as well. We are pretty good at not creating "emergency needs" for immediate money, i.e. that can't wait for 4-5 days, but it's good to know there is that option if you need it. My bank gives me free Cashiers Checks so its pretty cheap 'n' easy for me to use that option. Now if I could just figure out a way around that damned 60¢ stamp !!!
BTW, CT has a "Frequent Remitter" program which gives you an additional 10% off their rates if you schedule a monthly remittance with them.
May 19, 2012 6:44 PM
12No one has mentioned TransCard with Smart-Transfers, is there a reason why?
I ask because it was one of the symbols I took a picture of in Havana bank recently and from my research online it seems to be the cheapest transfers so far. On my most recent trip, I was told by Royal Bank (in Canada) that I could use my debit card in Cuba as long as it had the Plus symbol which none of them had of course. And I don't have an available Visa to use (my prepaid Mastercard is apparently US based and wouldn't work either).
So I've been checking Duales and CT amongst others, which all seem to be about the same rate of about $20-22 for 100 CUC, but only $14 with TC (up to a transfer of $250). I want to be able to use this card for myself when I go back to Cuba, as well as set up a few beneficiaries to help out on occasion.
I'll get around to actually calling one of these days but thought I'd probe the minds of LP Cubanites (can I make up a word?) for the real deal :D Cheers.
May 19, 2012 7:13 PM
13#13gidget I read some positive comments re Transcard on another site but sorry no personal knowledge or idea of relative charges.
If you are Candian then for your own purposes you would be much better off getting a Canadian Visa or Mastercard Credit Card or a CIBC Advantage Visa Debit Card (the only Candian debit card that works in Cuban ATM's). They will all work out cheaper than the other options which are primarily aimed at getting money TO Cubans.
And we actually give one of our Visa Debit cards to our Cuban family which is also a cheaper -and very safe - method of transferring money to Cuba from our country than bank transfers or the very expencive CT card. 100CUC costs us the equivalent of 106CAD (including all our home bank fees) via electronic transfer c.f. 127.90CAD if using electronic tranfer to CT. card.
Edited by: johnabbotsford
May 19, 2012 7:31 PM
14Let me preface my remarks by assuring you that I have no allegiance to any organization. All I care about is how I can get the most CUC for my USD, in a safe and secure manner. I will be all over this latest version of Transcard if it pans out. My experience with the company, however, has not been a positive one.
So I've been checking Duales and CT amongst others, which all seem to be about the same rate of about $20-22 for 100 CUC
Where did you derive those numbers, gidget? That's certainly not what I have ever paid. A $100 transfer is seriously skewed as smaller amounts extract a much higher percentile fee, so I will use $250 as a barometer. But even putting $100 CUC into a Cuban account with either CT or Duales is $15-17, not $20-22.
The Transcard webpage suggests you only pay $262.51 CAD to get $250 CAD in your recipients, or your, Cuban account. That makes it sound like you are getting more than $95 for Every $100 you deposit. That would be fantastic! There is no mention, however, of what the costs are to convert that to CUC for use in Cuba, Nor is there any mention of any withdrawal fees, which were a part of every Transcard account I had.
Perhaps the issue may be a bit muddled because you seem to be from GB and the CT and Duales cards are primarily aimed at Americans who have none of the many options you can pursue.
Transcard was once the only Debit Card I could use in Cuba and it was the first I ever used, perhaps 14-15 (?) years ago. I never liked them because they were filled with all sorts of fees and that only got worse when they created the "Amigo" Card. After all sorts of problems with them, including the inability to access any of my funds for over a week on two separate occasions and nowhere to turn for assistance, I jumped on board the Duales train and was quite pleased from day one. When Fincimex found Duales treating a few of their customers too well, they lost their license to provide a Debit Card for foreigners and that then was given to Caribbean Transfers. I think that must have been 7-8 years ago if memory serves (and it often doesn't).
Your suggestion that they are so much cheaper prompted a revisit to their website and it seems to be filled with promises of new days to come but still riddled with dodgy stuff. From their website...........
Our new pricing shall now be settled in Cuba in Canadian dollars. Transcard beneficiaries shall receive CAD or USD (OFAC eligible) on their card account with us, however when they use their card for cash withdrawals or point of sales purchases in Cuba, they shall receive or purchase goods in the local currency, Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC).
Would someone like to explain to me why a Cuban is given CAD instead of CUC? What are they supposed to do with it? Where does the conversion to CUC occur and how much is it? Donchathink that little factoid might be important to know? If they use Banco Metropolitano rates then why don't they just say so?
BTW, if you deposit $331 USD into a CT account, you or your recipient gets an absolute $300 CUC in Cuba. That includes ALL conversion fees of USD to CAD and CAD to CUC. There are no additional fees for conversion from CAD to CUC nor are there ever any other fees such as a "withdrawal" or "transaction" fee, both of which I endured with Transcard in the past. Neither fee, btw, was mentioned until they appeared on my account's billing statement.
I thank you for bringing our attention to this option, Lisa, and I hope it's as good as it looks at first blush because I will be all over it if it is. I must admit, however, to a great deal of doubt about "the devil in the details" given my history with them. I intend to find some time next week to check it out further.
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