Sending money back home to Tanzania can be a frustrating experience.
If you’re from Tanzania but are living and working in the USA, Canada, UK, or Europe, you’ve probably already dealt with long delays and high fees sending money back home.
This also applies to freelancers living in Tanzania that are dealing with an international clientele.
E.g. me, I am working a lot with the high quality digital agency of Shukuru: Tanzlite.
Don’t despair! There are plenty of new and innovative ways to send money to Tanzania that are sure to give you, the customer, low fees, fast transaction times, high security, and great customer service.
Based on my own experience, this guide will help you send money to Tanzania in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.
Common Ways How to Send Money to Tanzania
There are many ways to send money to Tanzania and some are much better than others.
Furthermore, many popular payment services available in North America and Europe are not available in Tanzania.
This means that you’ll be restricted to options that may end up costing you a lot out of pocket.
The following remittance methods are common:
- Bank transfers: “wiring” money to Tanzania can be done through most banks in the USA, Canada, UK, and Europe. You’ll normally need to provide the beneficiary’s name, address IBAN, and SWIFT code, and the amount to send.
- Money transfer providers: MoneyGram in Tanzania and Western Union in Tanzania are typical examples of remittance services that have thousands of physical pickup locations.
- M-Pesa: if you’d like to know how to send mpesa to Tanzania, it’s done through your phone with an app. With more than 287,000 agent locations, sending mpesa to Tanzania is a safe and secure method of sending money.
- PayPal: a great solution for secure online payments, with availability to send and receive multiple currencies and available in most countries.
- International cheque or money order: these old-fashioned systems involve mailing a cheque or money order to Tanzania.
But Here’s the Catch
Most of the above services have the following disadvantages:
- Bank transfers: every bank transfer will cost a fee, and sometimes the fee is quite high for regular remittances. For example, Bank of America charges a flat $45 fee for outgoing USD bank transfers to your Tanzanian bank. This means that if you send $200, for example, expect to receive less than $170. Oh, and you’ll also be subject to worse exchange rates and may have to pay a hefty fee for the receiving bank. Doesn’t leave you with much, does it?
- Money transfer providers: sending money through Western Union to Tanzania or by MoneyGram to Tanzania can be done quickly, but you’ll suffer from transaction fees and often awful exchange rates. Furthermore, these services often charge higher fees or percentages on higher amounts of money and also have a limit to how much can be sent. Not an ideal long-term solution.
- M-Pesa: if you already know how to send mpesa to Tanzania, you ought to know that it isn't always straightforward. Sending mpesa to Tanzania can result in difficulties withdrawing the money, delays in notifications from the bank that the funds have arrived, and difficulties with your bank reconciling the transaction altogether.
- PayPal: this service cannot be used to receive money in Tanzania, but that’s all right since PayPal has poor currency exchange rates anyway.
- International cheque or money order: whilst it may be free from your sending bank, expect these to take weeks or months to clear as well as heavy bank fees in Tanzania.
Stop Wasting Your Time and Money
Banking and service transaction fees can really add up over time.
Just using our above example for Bank of America’s fee for wiring money from USD to foreign currencies, a $200 remittance may end up costing you around $100 in transaction fees alone! That’s $45 from BoA, and you’ll likely also lose upwards of $50 once it’s arrived in Tanzania.
Add in the poor exchange rate, and it just doesn’t make sense to be losing over half your money in fees alone.
The first habit that you need to break is using banks as intermediaries for remittance.
Although banks tend to be very secure, they aren’t taking advantage of modern technology and money transfer providers are outperforming them more and more as users adopt innovative new technologies.
Things to Look For in a Remittance Service
No matter which service you use to send money to Tanzania, you’ll always want to evaluate what’s most important to you between:
- Fees you’ll have to pay, including currency exchange rates.
- Speed of transfer: will you be waiting days or weeks for the money to arrive?
- Transparency of service provider, i.e. is the service trustworthy?
- Customer service: is there someone you can contact to help you with the process or if something unexpected occurs?
Ideally, your remittance service excels in all of the above categories so that you can minimise fees, receive money quickly, and have a reliable provider with excellent customer service.
TZS Exchange Rates
Fluctuations in the currency exchange rate are normal, but it’s best to have a look at current exchange rates for Tanzania Currency (Shillings) to see if you’re getting a fair deal before sending your remittance.
Moreover, weekends and bank holidays tend to have higher rates, so try to send your remittance on a weekday.
To make matters worse, many banks and payment providers don’t actually use market currency exchange rates, but rather they often charge anywhere from a few percentage points higher to a significant amount more in their favour.
Always be looking for fair exchange rates that are as close to the market rate as possible before sending your hard-earned money.
What if There Were a Better Solution?
With an-ever increasing move worldwide towards digitalisation, there’s seemingly an app for everything nowadays. Luckily, new fintech and remittance apps are quickly being adopted to meet the needs of people like you.
Tanzanians that make regular and even one-time payments back home have a lot to gain from this. Not only are these apps simple and user-friendly, but they also tend to offer very fair exchange rates, quick order times, availability in Tanzania, and great customer service. Moreover, since everything is done online via an app, you don’t need to physically go into a bank and waste your valuable time.
Whether you’re sending money to another mobile device, as a cash pickup, or directly to a Tanzanian bank account, WorldRemit Tanzania has great rates (from $0.99 USD and up), immediate to next day transaction duration, and is fully accepted in Tanzania for your convenience.
For example, the total cost of sending $200 USD as a bank transfer via The People’s Bank of Zanzibar in TZS would be only $8.99 with a competitive currency exchange rate.
If, however, you’d like to save even more money, why not consider sending money via mobile phone? Using the same example as above, sending mobile money in Tanzania payments via WorldRemit would cost only $0.99 for $200, arriving within only a matter of minutes.
Another great option for quick, easy, and cost-effective payments is with Xoom. Their online platform and app allow you to send money to Tanzania from the comfort and convenience of your home or office in just minutes.
Again using our example of $200 USD, you’d only be paying $4.99 via bank account to send over your remittance, and the currency exchange rates are very competitive as well.
They also offer a money-back guarantee as well as personalised customer service, which are great ways that they take care of their valued customers.
If you’re looking to send Euros or Pound Sterling back home, Azimo is a great solution. Best of all, they charge no fees for first-time users; subsequent remittances can be as low as £1. Furthermore, Azimo fulfills transactions lightning-quick. Most transactions take only minutes, and rarely take longer than an hour.
Using Azimo is also an easy process. Simply download the app on your phone and register. Azimo is currently only available in the UK and the Eurozone, so this may not be your best option if you live in Canada or the USA.
Which Service is Best for Me?
Consider that the antiquated methods of cheques, bank drafts, and international bank transfers are still commonly used, because most people don’t know that better alternatives exist.
Now, think to yourself, if you’re regularly sending money to Tanzania or receiving funds from international clients in Tanzania, you’ll certainly want a quality service that’s easy to use, offers competitive fees and exchange rates, and has short transaction durations.
Mobile phone apps such as WorldRemit, Xoom, and Azimo are all far better options in today’s ever-globalising economy for meeting all of these needs and saving you time and money.
Send money to Tanzania with WorldRemit
My personal favorite money transfer app is WorldRemit.
The advantages of WorldRemit are:
- It's easy to set up
- It's instant
- It's secure
- It's transparent and low-fee
You can send money to Tanzania with WorldRemit as bank transfer within the same day, as cash pickup within minutes or as mobile money within minutes.
E.g. if you send 200 USD to Tanzania, your recipient gets 451,169 TZS, incluidng a 0.99 USD fee.
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