Although Bulgaria is still classified as one of Europe's poorest nations, it is not without its growth potential. There is ongoing support for Australian businesses that are expanding upon market opportunities. These opportunities are provided by the Austrade office based in Warsaw, Poland according to the Australian Department of Trade and focus on the infrastructure and energy sectors.
In joining the Eurozone in the last couple of years, further growth and opportunities can be expected between these two countries despite negative reports of economic decline and a lack of ambition. There are a growing number of tenders available that will invest money into this small economy.
International Money Transfer Offer
OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
Large range of currencies
Online and phone transfers
Regular payments available
International Money Transfer Offer
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. No transfer fee over AUD$10,000.
The “Rate” and “Amount Received” displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.
Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.
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Which are the best options to send money?
Andrei is a fairly successful businessman from Bulgaria and has recently crossed Australian borders. He has decided it is time to expand his own business in Australia, bring business into his own native country and do his bit in boosting the economy.
Although he hasn't emigrated to Australia, he plans to be away for an extended amount of time. Because of this, Andrei has had to do a lot of research to determine his options in sending money to his family in Sofia, Bulgaria. He has created the following table using AUD$1,000 to get a more accurate idea of his options with regards to cost, affordability and convenience for his family.
He compares two international money transfer companies since his bank doesn’t support the Bulgarian Lev.
Money Transfer Company A
Money Transfer Company B
1.27 Bulgarian lev for 1 AUD
1.23 Bulgarian lev for 1 AUD
1,270.00 Bulgarian lev
1,231.00 Bulgarian lev
2-3 working days
1-3 working days
Transfer Options (Pickup etc.)
Phone, Online, Agent Branch and Cash Pickup
Difference in Bulgarian lev
42 Bulgarian lev more
42 Bulgarian lev less
*Please bear in mind that many transfer companies have minimum transfer amounts and the amount used in this case study might be below a minimum transfer amount for some money transfer companies.
The top variables to use when comparing banks and money transfer companies
Exchange rates and fees. The exchange rate offered by the money transfer companies is competitive to the market with fees fixed at between $12-$15 AUD. Banks will ask higher fees but might offer a potentially more competitive exchange rate according to market conditions.
Pick up methods. Cash pickup at agent locations.
Fees. Banking fees will easily reach A$20 with money transfer companies locking fees mostly at A$12-15. A receiving fee will also be applicable with some services and can be around A$15.
Bank-to-bank benefits. None specified or details made available. Banks that support Bulgaria include Citibank global and NAB.
Turnaround time. Standard money transfer companies offer one to three working days for money to be transferred. Both Western Union and Moneygram can send money that will be available for pickup within minutes.
Transfer methods. Depending on the service that you use, you can transfer online, in branch or through a bank account.
Transfer options. Most of the services offer mobile money transfers, regular payments and standard international transfers.
Minimum transfer amounts. Minimums can vary from A$0 to A$3,000 but it is more common to find maximum as in the case of Citibank that has a maximum of A$8,000.
Customer service. Depending on the transfer options you choose, it could be a great move for you to see which companies will offer you the best service not only when you are sending the money, but when someone else needs to receive it and hits a snag!
Three ways you can send money to Bulgaria from Australia
There are a couple of ways to send money to Bulgaria that Andrei has identified in his research.
Banks. You can send money transfers by using Citibank and NAB. A visit to one of their branches will give you a great overview of the steps involved. Postbank is also an option for some to consider as Bulgarians use it to receive money transfers from services like Western Union.
Money transfer services. You can use money transfer companies that support the Bulgarian lev like WorldFirst, Currency Solutions, Compass Global Markets, Western Union and MoneyGram.
PayPal. You can send and receive money between your PayPal accounts and then transfer it to a bank account if you have one in Bulgaria that supports PayPal.
When an emergency calls: How to do emergency money transfers to Bulgaria?
Emergencies happen to all and are especially uncomfortable when you need money in a foreign country. If you need money without delay, you can use a wire transfer service like Moneygram or Western Union located in Bulgaria (see below). Be aware though, you can expect commissions of 5-10% to get these money transfers and have your money in your pocket in ten minutes. Amex cardholders can also make use of an American Express office to send money.
Cash pickup locations in Bulgaria when using Moneygram and Western Union
DSK Bank Stamboliiski blvd 101 Sofiya, 0 359029391651 Open Monday to Saturday 8am to 5pm and Sundays 24 hours
Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria EAD - #43 - Sofi Grag Ignatiev str 41, Sofia, 1000 28102212 Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm, Saturdays and Sundays 24 hours
Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria EAD - Piccadilly Primorski park 482, Varna, 0 0035952391220 Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 7pm, Saturdays and Sundays 24 hours
Eurobank EFG Sofia 260 Okolovrasten Pat, bui, Sofia, +359-02-8116341 Open Monday to Saturday 8:30am to 5pm, Sundays closed
UBB Head office 47 Maria Louisa Blvd, Sofia +359-2-8118704 Open Monday to Saturday 8:30am to 5pm, Sundays closed
Central Cooperative Bank PLC Tzar Osvoboditel Str 76g, Varna, 9000 +359-52-600365 Open Monday to Saturday 8:30am to 5pm, Sundays closed
Bulgaria offers many vibrant cities and towns to visit, and most of the bigger cities offer pickup agents for Moneygram and Western Union. Double-check that you can receive or send money to the city you’ll be visiting before taking a stroll and hoping for the best!
There’s no reason to visit any dodgy places to pick up money – there are more than enough safe and tourist-friendly destinations to pick up your money.
When going about picking up cash, be on the lookout for pickpockets as the culture of picking pockets tend to be higher in dense tourist destinations like Bulgaria.
The Citi International Personal Bank account number you wish to transfer funds from.
The amount and currency you wish to transfer.
The BIC (Bank Identifier Code)/SWIFT Number (Code) and IBAN (International Bank Account Number, in a European country) of the account you are transferring funds to. You will need to ask the payee for this information.
Full name and address of the beneficiary bank.
Correspondent bank details for payments in currencies different to that of the receiving country.
When sending money from Australia using a service like Western Union, you will need the following:
You’ll need your receiver’s full name (as it appears on their ID) and address, and a Visa or Mastercard credit, debit or prepaid card issued by an Australian bank. You also must be over 18.
When you first register with Western Union, they will need certain information so they can confirm your identity and create an online profile for you. You’ll need an Australian driver’s licence, Medicare card or passport for this.
In some cases, you may also be required to contact the call centre if they need additional information.
Shirley Liu is Finder's global program manager. She was previously the publisher for banking and investments and has also written comparisons for energy, money transfers, Uber Eats and many other topics. Shirley has a Master of Commerce and a Bachelor of Media, Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about helping people find the best deal for their needs.
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