Simple Ways to Improve the Way You’re Sending Money to Bulgaria

Information verified correct on December 8th, 2016

The-shrine-monument-of-Shipka-BulgariaDid you know you can send money between Bulgaria and Australia in a flash?

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 sections.

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.

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Which are the best options to send money?

Andrei has recently made his entry into the Australian borders. He is a fairly successful businessman from Bulgaria. He has decided it is time to not only expand his own business in Australia but to also 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 AMoney Transfer Company B
Exchange Rate1.27 Bulgarian lev for 1 AUD1.23 Bulgarian lev for 1 AUD
Transfer FeeA$ 12A$ 15
Amount received 1,270.00 Bulgarian lev1,231.00 Bulgarian lev
Transfer Time2-3 working days1-3 working days
Transfer Options (Pickup etc.)Phone, Online, Agent Branch and Cash PickupOnline
Difference in Bulgarian lev42 Bulgarian lev more42 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.

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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 the 12 to 15 Australian dollar mark. 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 1-3 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!
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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 World First Foreign Exchange, Currency Solutions, Compass Global Markets, HiFX, 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.
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Two ways you can receive money in Australia from Bulgaria

  • Money transfer services -  You can use money transfer companies that support the Bulgarian lev like World First Foreign Exchange, Currency Solutions, Compass Global Markets, HiFX, 1st Contact, Western Union, and Moneygram.
  • Paypal - You can send and receive money between your Paypal accounts and transfer money to the account from your bank account if you use a local bank in Bulgaria that supports Paypal.
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When an emergency calls: How to do emergency money transfers to Bulgaria?

Emergencies happen to all and are especially uncomfortable when money is needed 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, to get these money transfers and have your money in your pocket in 10 minutes, commissions of 5-10% can be expected. Amex cardholders can also make use of a American Express office to send money.

Cash pickup locations in Bulgaria when using Moneygram and Western Union

Moneygram

Sofia

  • 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

Varna

  • Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria EAD - Piccadilly
    Primorski park 482, Varna, 0
    0035952391220
    Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 7pm, Saturdays and Sundays 24 hours

Western Union

Sofia

  • 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

Varna

  • Central Cooperative Bank PLC
    Tzar Osvoboditel Str 76g, Varna, 9000
    +359-52-600365
    Open Monday to Saturday 8:30am to 5pm, Sundays closed
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Handy tips for picking up money in Bulgaria

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.

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What will you need to send money to Bulgaria?

Using a service like Citibank or NAB:

  • 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.
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When sending money from Australia using a service like Western Union, you will need the following:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In some cases, you may also be required to call the call centre if they need additional information, of which they will let you know.

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