With close to 100,000 Sri Lankan-born residents in Australia and even more with family and friends in Sri Lanka, it’s no surprise that many Australians are looking for ways to send money there for a variety of reasons - from purchasing presents for family, to buying property.
One of the simplest solutions to send money to Sri Lanka could be with an international money transfer. Whether you just need to send money once or it’s the start of a series of payments, an international money transfer could be the most convenient and best value option to make it happen.
But before we dive in to the process and options available for sending money to Sri Lanka, just remember that if you’re looking for travel money options for an upcoming trip to Sri Lanka this won’t be the guide for you. For foreign exchange and travel money options, tips and guides that may be more suitable to your Sri Lankan holiday, head over to our travel money hub.
What can I send money to Sri Lanka for?
There are a multitude of reasons people send money to Sri Lanka, but some of the most common ones include:
- Sending money to family or friends
- Buying property in Sri Lanka
- Paying wages if they run a business in Sri Lanka
- Purchasing goods or services for a business in Australia
What are my provider options: Banks vs Specialists
If you’re wanting to send money to Sri Lanka then you’ll have a few options, but there are really two main players: banks or specialty foreign exchange providers.
Sending money to Sri Lanka via your Australian bank account can be a fast and convenient method for transferring funds, especially if you like the idea of using a provider you’re already familiar with. But it might not be the most cost-effective way to do it. Banks generally charge higher conversion rates and fees than specialist international money transfer providers, so it’s certainly worth weighing the two up.
You’ll also have the option of using a specialist international money transfer provider to send money to Sri Lanka. Because foreign exchange providers specialise in these kinds of transactions they are generally able to offer more competitive rates and lower fees than banks, not to mention a wider range of currencies to choose from.
How do I compare providers?
So you’ve got an idea of the basic differences between providers, but what are the key features you should be looking out for before choosing the provider to send money to Sri Lanka with?
- Exchange rate: First things first, the most important feature you’ll need to consider is the exchange rate on offer - after all, the better the exchange rate, the more money you’ll have at the end. While the rate differences on offer may not seem enormous between providers, you’ll certainly notice it if you’re making a large transaction.
- Fees: Aside from the exchange rate, exchange fees are the other big feature which will influence the amount of money you’ll get after a money transfer to Sri Lanka. Banks tend to charge foreign exchange fees on their transfers on top of the margin they make on the exchange rate, while specialist providers generally won’t charge one. Other costs you should look out for when choosing a provider are cancellation or amendment fees, as well as fees for over the counter, phone or online transactions.
- Limits: Providers have different minimum and maximum amounts you’ll be able to transfer to Sri Lanka at one time. And if you’re planning to make frequent transfers, there may also be limits on the number of transfers you can make in a particular period of time (e.g. each month).
- Speed: Need to transfer your money quickly? Whether you’re using a bank or a specialist provider, you can typically expect transfer time of between 1-3 days, although you may be able to speed up the process for a fee.
- Online or in person: Specialist providers generally operate online, so you won’t be able to conduct a transfer over the counter. You will be able to make a transfer over the phone though, but if you’d rather do your transaction in person you’ll need to go through a traditional bank.
How do I set up an international money transfer to Sri Lanka?
Transferring money to Sri Lanka is fairly simple process no matter which type of provider you end up going with, but there are a few differences. This is typically what you’ll need to do:
If you’re using an Australian bank to send money to Sri Lanka the process is as straightforward as transferring the money from your own bank account to your designated Sri Lankan bank account - whether online, over the phone or in person.
You will need to provide a few more pieces of information than you would normally when making a transfer in Australia though, so come prepared with the recipient's name, the account name for the recipient's bank account and a home address. You’ll also need a SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) code or a BIC (Bank Identification Code).
Specialist Foreign Exchange Providers
Signing up to make an international money transfer to Sri Lanka through a specialist provider is also easy, but you’ll need a few bits of information if you’re making a transfer for the first time.
Typically you’ll be able to set up an online account with your email address, or even a Facebook or Google account if you have one, then it’s just a process of verifying your identity by providing details like your name, address, phone number and potentially a form of ID. This may take an hour or two to process depending on the provider.
Once you’ve been approved you’ll be able to set up the transfer itself by selecting the amount of currency you want to send as well as the recipient in Sri Lanka. To do this you’ll need the recipient’s bank account number and a few bits of other information such as their name and address.
Most specialist providers will offer payment options including via bank transfer or a debit or credit card, but bear in mind that it might take some time for your funds to reach your provider’s bank account.
Are there international money transfer alternatives?
For smaller amounts you could also consider using a secure service like PayPal to transfer money to Sri Lanka, but the fee structure may make it a less attractive alternative for larger sums.
Or if you’re just looking for a travel friendly option to take with you on a trip or holiday to Sri Lanka, a travel debit, credit or prepaid travel card could be the best way to pay while you’re over there.
What if I’m not happy with the current rate on offer?
Looking to send money to Sri Lanka from Australia but not happy with the current rate being offered? One option is to set up a limit order which allows you to nominate your desired exchange rate. Your transfer will then only be processed once it hits that rate. Obviously this is an option that won’t appeal to anyone needing to transfer money quickly, but if you’ve got time on your side it could potentially save you a bundle - especially if you’re making a large transfer.
The only thing to bear in mind is that some providers only allow limit orders to be placed in major currencies, so you’ll need to check with your provider first.